Nothing Like Norway – A Trip to the Arctic Circle

I’ve been traveling now for about 6 months. For someone who’s held at least one job since I was 14, not working is a bit strange. Boo hoo, right? Yea… I know – I’m sure I’ll manage.

So a few weeks ago Steve made his way to Europe to see me. He’s an engineer who minored in Astronomy. This is one area where we really bond as I studied a lot of Astrophysics in college. So our one goal for this trip was to see the Aurora Borealis. We decided Norway was the place to go. So we planned a trip up to Tromsø, Norway in the Arctic Circle to see if we can manage a sighting.

Unfortunately,  the weather forecast was no bueno. They expected overcast and rain for the entire week meaning our chance to see aurora was probably shot. But, we tried to make the best of the cold dreary weather anyway. Tromsø is a nice little Scandinavian town full of friendly people and beautiful scenery as it sits right in a fjord. We spent several days walking around the town and enjoying some indoor activities like the movies and the science museums. Norway is rather expensive. We were lucky to find reasonable accommodation at the ABC Hotell, which also has a nice kitchen so we cooked a few meals to save some money. The staff were also very friendly and helpful.

(Beautiful Tromsø)

One day, Steve learned about a nearby hike in Skulsfjord, so we packed our rain gear and set out for a day. The hike began on a high note – no one was around and we thought the rain was going to hold out. Unfortunately we got a bit turned around as the trail wasn’t marked properly. And of course, this is the point the rain started pouring. So we head back – cold and drenched but if nothing else, it made for a good memory.

(Hiking before it got messy)

(Hiking after things got rainy and messy!)

We saw that on our last night the weather was going to clear up so we booked a guide to take us around the area and hopefully see the aurora. As we only had that one final night, having a guide show us the good spots around the Tromsø area was well worth it. We spent the evening driving around to so many beautiful view points and then settled in the mountains to wait for the light show. All of a sudden, the aurora came out of no where. It was an indescribable moment that completely made us forget how cold we were. The lights were spectacular. For about 2 hours we sat by the fire and just enjoyed the show. It was the best way to end our time in Norway.

(Amazing Arctic Fjords!)

(The boy turned his pants into shorts and went wading in the frigid Norwegian Sea… He’s nuts!)

(The light show!! Steve’s new fancy camera did a great job!)

Early the next morning Steve and I headed to Paris. The last time Steve was in Paris, he was there with 4 other military dudes and had decided he wanted better memories! Ha! So we booked a few days in the city and did all the quintessential Paris things… The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, etc. The poor weather followed us from Norway, but we took it in stride and settled into the city for the time we were there.

(Taking museum selfies while Steve messes with his new camera.)

(Eiffel Tower – always beautiful)

Before Steve headed back to the states, he came back to London to do the London tourist bit. London now has Chipotle so we hit that up for lunch as I’ve missed it desperately since I left. I then showed him around the city for a day, checking out all the touristy London things. We ended that day on the London Eye near sunset. London is a really beautiful this time of day as the city lights up.

(London from the Eye)

Stef karaokes every Friday night. She’s a singer so it’s her thing… I go when I’m here, which means Steve goes when he’s here. We did a “spectacular” rendition of Baby Love by the Supremes. As the DJ stated, “it was what karaoke is all about!” Well, if nothing else, it was certainly memorable!

(Karaoke night!)

Stonehenge was also on Steve’s list of to-do’s while here. It’s about a 2 hour drive from Stef’s house in London, so we all packed in the car for a little family jaunt down to Salisbury Plains.  Before heading to Stonehenge, we stopped at another lesser known stone monument in Avebury. It was a great way to spend our last day together before Steve had to go home.

(The boy climbs anything…)

(Fun at the henge!)

I’m now hanging out in London for the next few weeks before heading to Africa. I miss Steve, but it won’t be long until we rendezvous  in Cape Town. I’m excited for my African adventures! Dreams coming true every day… maybe this not working isn’t so bad after all. Although eventually I’m gonna have return to the work world. Not yet though… not yet.