Tromsø, Norway

After Oslo I decided I really wanted to see northern Norway one last time before heading back home. So I booked a flight to the biggest town in the Arctic of Norway, Tromsø. It has about 70,000 inhabitants and is famous for its beautiful northern lights and the midnight sun, which I witnessed. I never saw the dark for those 10 days I spent there. Each evening you had to pull out thick curtains to make it least feel as though it was bed time!

I got there freezing since it was just about 5 degrees Celsius. Which is crazy in comparison to Oslo before! I spent 3 nights at a hostel there and explored the surroundings. The city itself was less spectacular than I expected as my guide book called it “Paris of the north”. To me it was just a small town with a harbour and a few shops. I especially spent a lot of time in the big glass library and read a few books there (they had English and German literature). By coincidence I got to listen to a reading from a philosopher from the USA who had come to visit and was describing the synthetical age/ how humans were effecting our planet negatively and wanting to reign over nature in any way and form by reversing death…etc. Quite interesting actually.

The next day I went on a beautiful hike up the mountain Fløya and had a great view over the city and the mountains in the background. I also stopped at the arctic church that was on the way and is quite famous, it kind of reminded me of an igloo. The following day the weather was still sunny and I went to the Telegrafbukta which is where all the people go swimming in the summer, it was just like a white sand beach in southern France! Was almost tempted to jump in the crystal clear water. In general I noticed a big difference to the inky blue water of southern Norway. Here it was so turquoise and light blue!

I also visited a botanical garden on the other side of town where all the northern flowers and plants were planted. There were so many colors it was really pretty to see that even so far north so many plants have adapted to this climate.

Then on Saturday I got picked up by my new host for one week! This time a real Norwegian called Leikny with Sami ancestors. The Sami were an indigenous group in the north of Norway but also Sweden, Finland and Russia. They were especially famous for their reindeer herding. She was a very nice host with a house right by the sea. She lives by herself with two really cute dogs (they were a little annoying since they barked all the time but otherwise they were the sweetest little dogs). On a field outside she grows pretty much anything, raspberries, strawberries, turnips, kale, lettuce, Koriander…etc. and inside she had some ginger and even brews her own kombucha that we got to try.

There were two other WWOOFers joining me on the vegetable farm. One of them was from the Czech Republic and the other (you won’t believe it) was from the same town as me in Germany. It was such a crazy coincidence that we’ve never seen each other in Germany before but then we meet in the middle of nowhere in the arctic! They were all very nice people so I didn’t mind so much that the weather was really terrible (rain, snow, hail and wind) that whole week. I still managed to take a few walks by the beach. One time I spotted two reindeer, though they don’t exist wild anymore Leikny explained so they all belong to someone. we worked outside a little, because of the weather we had to stay indoors quite a bit and tidy up there. But in the garden we had to plant seeds and do some weeding. Nothing had really grown yet as it was still to cold and the snow had just melted a few weeks ago still the grass was growing very quick since we pretty much had 24/7 daylight, maybe I will come again in fall to help with the harvest.

Otherwise we spent our time at the museum one day or in the evenings we did pottery. Leikny was just starting to build a shed for her pottery oven to go in, she was very talented and made beautiful vases, cups and plates out of clay. We also baked and cooked a lot! We made our own hummus, our own burgers with homemade buns and on my last evening we even made the typical “kanelboller” (cinnamon buns that are sold here everywhere and are pretty much the cheapest things to eat you can find). I will never forget the smell of cinnamon wafting out of the oven whilst the rain was drizzling outside the window. I had an amazing time in Norway and I will miss it. All three farms were in their own way interesting and I learned a lot from each host. I can recommend going Wwoofing for anyone interested. It is a cheap way to travel and you learn a lot about people and life. Though you have to be lucky where you end up most hosts are very welcoming.

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