Day 10 Tromso

Trip Start Mar 11, 2014
Trip End Mar 28, 2014

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Flag of Norway  , North Norway,
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 10 - Tromso
Well it's a bit warmer today, Minus 6 degrees! we are starting to get accustom to sub zero temperatures.
We leave the ship around 8.30 for our adventure  - reindeer sledding and to meet with Sami people.
We drive to the other side of Troms Island and cross the 1335 yard-long Sandnessund Bridge to Whale Island, where the Tromso Friluftsenter is situated. As we leave Tromso we also pass through one of the many tunnels that criss-crosses the city to the various Islands, we have never come across a roundabout in a tunnel before !
Our journey takes us through some spectacular scenery and in the white wilderness we spot our reindeers and Sami hosts waiting to give us a warm welcome.
There is a limit to the number of people they allow to visit, we were 29 passengers and one escort, it definitely ensured that the whole experience was on a personal level rather than a large tourist group.
Divided into three groups, we were the first group to be taken out into the pristine Norwegian landscape by the reindeers, ours was called Mussett.
 There are five reindeers in total each pulling a sled carrying two people. It was a bit of a squeeze for David and I to be seated side by side and so they suggested it would be more comfortable to sit tandem style, which we did and proved a good move for David as I shielded him from the cold and kept him nice and warm.
It wasn't long  before everyone was in their sleds and we set off at sedate pace with the head Sami herder initially walking alongside the front reindeer but at several points also popped into the sled.

 As we meandered through the snow, you certainly felt at one  with nature, just a few inches above the snow, the sound of the reindeer bells jingling, and with a sea Eagle overhead it was just so magical, although the view of Mussett's rear end did appear in most of the photographs !
We were out in the snowy pastures for around 25 minutes.  I thought I would have a go at a video from the iPad, but with the sun shining and the flare of white snow all around us it was difficult to see if the video button was on or off , but I will add the short video just so you can share our magical reindeer ride if only for a few seconds.
We arrived back at base and was shown how the herdsmen lassoed the reindeer and one or two guests had a go too.

We also had the opportunity to go inside the Lavvo Tent which would originally have been made from animal skins but never the less the inside was authentic with birch twigs layered on the floor and reindeer skins placed on top. 
 In the centre of the tent was a wood fire burning and Ula our Sami host sang us a beautiful song. We listened intently about Sami traditions which was very interesting. It was also lovely and warm inside the Lavvo Tent.
We finally had to leave our Sami friends and the reindeers needed some rest and food so we made our way to a local farm by the beach where, in a wooden hut in the style of a  Lavvo, we were served hot coffee and Bidos, a traditional Sami meal consisting of vegetables and reindeer meat. This was followed by marshmallow which we all enjoyed toasting by the fire.
We had a short time after the meal to take a walk around and maybe to the beach, the snow was a good 12-15inches deep in some parts and the icicles on one of the small buildings even longer.
Standing at the watersedge it was a magnificent sight, so quiet and calm where we could reflect on the wonderful experience we had both enjoyed so much.
Tromso is the worlds northernmost university city. Lying 200 mikes inside the Arctic Circle, it is known as the Gateway to the Arctic because it was used as a starting point for hunters looking for Arctic foxes, polar bears and seals. In the 19th century it was a base for explorers on Arctic expeditions.
Tromso is a charming mix of old and new, with wooden buildings sitting alongside contemporary architecture such as the glacier-like Arctic Cathedral  which features of the largest stained glass windows in Europe. 
It was time to return to the ship and as we had been to Tromso before we didn't venture out again but not before capturing the famous Arctic Cathedral across the water.
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Ann Randall on

Mike has a query for Dave - Does the John Smiths freeze! Looks wonderful and what a unique experience. Have fun.

beverlyndavid on

No John Smiths on board Mike he is getting used to the odd pint of two of Guinness though and not Guiness Lollipops :)

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