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.
It 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.
We 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).
In 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.
The 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”!