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Published: February 19th 2018
Getting up at 6.45am is no joke when you didn't get to bed until 3am after a long day of two trips. However, we don't have much time in Norway and none of it is to be wasted, so we soon set off on the walk into town for our pre-booked snowmobile trip.
Shattered, we arrived at the Radison Blu to be told it was double booked and there was no room for us, maybe come back later. I was not happy, this was a very expensive trip already paid for with extra travel insurance required. The receptionist guy was completely unapologetic and it took a lot of reasoning with him to confirm whether or not we would be on the later trip - we could always plan something else instead and almost decided to do the Sami tour. Luckily he could squeeze us in at 12.30 noon. So what to do for the next 3.5 hours? It was a 1.5 hr round trip to walk back to the Airb'n'b (a taxi would be around £40-50 there and back), and despite being tired, we didn't want to miss anything.
Tromsø is the Capitol of North Norway and also known
as the Paris of the North, but I call BS on this because I'm sure you can get a coffee at anytime in Paris. But in Tromsø, not one cafe or bar was open until at least noon. Fortunately the only open shop, the 7/11 had a coffee machine and we were slightly revitalised.
My plan was to walk to the south of the island and view the mountains of Kvaløya across the water as advised on TripAdvisor. The 40 minute walk took us through snowy suburbs of colourful wooden houses, plus more modern box shaped buildings with huge windows and oversized light shades inside. There was an icy path around the peninsula where locals walked their dogs and the air was crisp and clean. The sun turned the frozen mountains to gold and the snow glittered. Yeah, it was ok!
Finishing at Telegrafbukta beach, a small cove with frosty picnic tables, we enjoyed the view and missed the bus back. So another walk was required, but on the plus side, I saw a cat! It was white and tabby, and running up a drive. I called it and it ran towards me, ignored me, ran behind Glyn
and shoting off down a snowy path. Glyn was pleased because he managed to evolve a new Pokémon, so the morning wasn't wasted.
Upon our return to the the centre of town, nothing bar the 7/11 was open and so we bought food there as our bellies were rumbling and we were flagging. Luckily we were still booked on the afternoon trip and enjoyed a picturesque 50 minute coach ride to Breivikeidet Ferekai were we took a 20 minute ferry trip to Svensby which I think is attached to the mainland. It was -17 and mist was drifting over the sea. Apparently there's less snow than usual and it hasn't actually snowed since before Christmas. Rain is due which will turn everything extremely slippery, so I'm glad we've avoided that.
After a short walk we arrived at the snowmobile base and were given huge coveralls and helmets plus a talk on how to use a snowmobile. Three shifts of minibus rides took us up hill to the snowmobiles ready for us to set off. The light was already turning the snow orange, pink and yellow. Glyn drove first, setting off slowly but soon bombing down the track terrifying
the crap out of me. There were too many trees begging to be hit and solid ice patches luring us in for a skid and a crash. But unusually, nothing went wrong.
After some time it was my turn and I was rather nervous as I have a very strong sense of self preservation. It's not as smooth as it looks and requires strong arms. Like a motorbike you need to lean at the corners, but unlike a motorbike, a snowmobile doesn't seem to instinctively move with you and turning the handlebars took a lot of strength especially over the rock solid frozen ruts. It took a while to gain my confidence but I soon got going, bouncing over the undulating tracks.
I'm sure the trip was sold as around 7 hours but we were only out for a couple, with various stops to take photos and people faffing at the back. However, as it's hard work and we were so tired, 2 hours was sufficient but not value for the money we spent - I've no idea how much similar trips are in other countries.
There was a stop for lunch inside a dark round wooden
hut with a log fire as a centrepiece. We were fed hot chocolate and given meat sandwiches, I gave mine to Glyn - there's no point wasting food included in the price!
The sun was now setting and the the snowmobile headlights lit up the snow in the dim light. Glyn drove again and we were both a lot more relaxed as we zoomed and bumped across the frozen land. A couple of times I thought I would bounce right out of my seat, it was very exhilarating and I was sad when it ended. The journey back was dark, a good time to catch up on some sleep, ready for the long walk back from the Radison Blu to our Air b'n'b.
At 7.30, just as we got back, I spotted a faint green streak across the sky, looks like we were getting the Northern Lights for a third night!
I had a romantic idea of sitting outside watching the lights together under a blanket, getting all cosy. But the reality was that after walking 14 miles with only 3hours sleep and two very long days, we were both too battered to endure anymore cold. To
be honest, there no way the aurora could compete in a light polluted town with the amazing show we got last night.
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