Friday 31 July Tromso, Norway sightseeing

After a tiring day yesterday, we closed all the heavy curtains and went to bed at 8.30pm. We slept soundly until 2.00am when we were both woken up by the light coming in at the side of the curtains, so Richard got up and took some photos of the beautiful sunrise over the harbour. We did manage to get some more sleep, dozing on and off until we finally got up at about 7.30am, got dressed and went down to breakfast.
A few things we forgot to mention yesterday:
On our flight from Brisbane to Singapore, we were served “lunch” at 5.00pm Brisbane time. It was the nicest meal that we have ever been served on any international flights that we have taken.
Appetiser: Chicken Waldorf salad
Main: Pork Cacciatore, potatoes in jackets, broccoli, sour-bread bread roll
Dessert: Ice-cream – Sticky Date and Toffee Ripple
Followed by coffee/tea with crackers and cheese
The second thing was that when we were in the SAS lounge in Copenhagen, they had a lovely complimentary breakfast set out but we chose to just have a a cuppa and a snack and then later had the complimentary lunch before boarding our plane to Oslo.
The third thing was that when we were picked up from Tromso airport, the driver brought us through a long tunnel system all the way from the airport to the city. The tunnels had a lot of interconnecting junctions manned by traffic lights and we assume that this works very well in their icy winters.

This morning after breakfast, we headed off to explore. The weather has changed and it is now overcast and we are expecting a light shower. Tromso, known as the capital of the Arctic or the “Gateway to the Arctic”, is surrounded by mountains, fjords and islands. Interestingly, the Gulf Stream keeps the Scandinavian waters warm and therefore ice-free.
We had a short 5 minute walk to where we could buy bus tickets and catch the bus up to the Fjellheisen Cable Car, which took us up Storsteinen Mountain, 421 metres above sea level. The view from the top was spectacular to say the least even although the sky was grey. We had panoramic views over the city, the surrounding waterways and the mountains. We went for a walk around the cliff-tops and then enjoyed a cuppa while enjoying the view.
We caught the cable car back down the mountain and walked slowly through a charming residential area to the Arctic Cathedral, which is probably the most famous landmark in Tromso. We were impressed with the structure and presence of the entire church and especially the beautiful glass mosaic of the “Return of Christ” which dominates the interior.
We walked back across the Tromsobrua Bridge, which is 1016 metres long (and high enough for the Hurtigruten ferries to pass under), stopping to take photos along the way. We visited the Polar Museum, which is located in the former Customs House on the quayside, dating from 1830. The Museum portrays the lives of the early settlers, showing the way they lived, hunted and explored this Arctic region. The museum was extremely well done, with life-like displays of various polar activities as they would have been in those times and it also included lots of artifacts, ranging from trapping to seafaring equipment.
We had lunch at about 2.00pm in a little café down by the quay and then walked through the city centre of Tromsø, which contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house dating from 1789. It was interesting to see the various coloured buildings that made up the city centre.
We made our way back to the hotel area, stopping at the Rorbua Pub attached to the hotel and across the road from the Hurtigruten Ferry terminal. We sat out in the “beer garden” where Richard had a couple of the local Arctic beers and Sandy had a light shandy. Interestingly, the beer cost 80 Norwegian Kroner, which is approximately $13.50 Australian, per beer – we thoroughly enjoyed our drinks overlooking the harbour and across to the Arctic Cathedral.
We went for a walk before dinner to check out some of the local restaurants, but decided to come back to the hotel dining room.
We have thoroughly enjoyed a full day of exploring Tromso. Although we had a short light shower of rain this morning, the rest of the day has remained overcast but dry and not particularly cold.

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