Post 1: Arriving Near the Top of the World!

Duke and I traveled radically different routes from the US to rendezvous at the airport in Oslo (capital of Norway) a couple of days ago.  We took the same flight from Oslo to Tromso, sitting on opposite sides of the airplane. The album above shows you a bit of the exotic nature of our location. Snowy, jagged alpine peaks thrusting a thousand or two meters from dramatic sea level fyords.

From the Tromso airport we took bus #42 into town to rent our “micro-sized” Toyota YARIS into which we were barely able to squeeze our gear.  It will be interesting when our teammate Will arrives on Sunday to fit three of us AND all the gear for our nightly excursions to chase the northern lights.

Erik - Couch Surfer Host 20140228_110528It was raining the night of our arrival and so we sought the safe haven of our kind and precocious couch surfing host Erik (pictured at left). Erik is studying French literature at the local university. He had earned a degree in Spanish from the University of North Dakota where Duke also had gone to school years before. That’s four languages and counting! Cherilynn and Duke are bracketing Erik in the happy image below.

Cherilynn, Erik, Duke in TromsoWe dined all together at a local restaurant called Kaia that was right on the water near to the place where cruise ships come into port.  It was very interesting and VERY expensive. We certainly won’t be doing that much more.  Note the interesting item “with cream sauce” on the menu below (click to enlarge – for any image).Reindeer Menu Compare

P1030420In addition, while we were waiting for our food, a boat docked right outside the window with a hot tub full of well-sculpted men at the stern. We have self-censored the photo for which they willingly and joyfully posed. Let us call it a brand of “indecent” Northern Exposure, although in Scandanavian culture, the lovely human body is a perfectly natural thing to display.

Far North of NorwayThe geography here is fascinating. Check out the map at right (click to enlarge) to see how  Norway (orange) arcs over the north of both Sweden (yellow) and Finland (green) to share a border with Russia in the east!  Duke and I had a nearer-than-intended encounter with the Finnish/Lapland border last night (28 Feb- 1 Mar), while traveling the Northern Lights highway to the southeast from Tromso.  More in our next post.

Now it is time to ready for this evening’s excursion.  It turns out that the weather report in Tromso (we are using www.yr.no) has only a little to do with whether skies are clear in the midst of the surrounding mountains.  This invites us to “chase” around the local microclimates in search of clear skies and our best possibility of making images of the northern lights.

Of course the Sun’s activity and Earth’s magnetic field must also cooperate. We need both good Earth weather and good Space “weather”!

8 thoughts on “Post 1: Arriving Near the Top of the World!

  1. Woo Hoo! Glad you made it safely. Those milky skies might be challenging you to get a clear glimpse of the stars. Go out and talk to the clouds and tell ’em what’s up.

    • Thank you! Yes, I believe Richard Bach had a lesson about dissolving clouds in one of his novels. We’re on it!

  2. The adventure begins! Let’s see…a close encounter with border control, the need for the advanced mathematics of your physics education just to pack the car (and budget for food), and a ship full of naked men…yep, that officially counts as an adventure. Looking forward to more tales (pun!), as you go. Safe travels and may the Lights shine for you.

    • Oh my Nancy, you certainly DO read between the cra…er I mean…lines quite well! Thank you for your witty and wonderful comment!

  3. Wow, what a great start! Having visited Sweden, I can fully appreciate just how expensive your meal was… 250 kronor… Whew! :) keep us updated, and so looking forward to more pics :) lots of love and luck~

  4. Hello Sweetest Pie in the Universe! Sooo nice to see your post!! Thank you for love and luck. We need both! Love to you too!

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