Tromsø, the capital of the arctic

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

From Bergen to Tromsø it's a two hour flight and about 10 degrees centigrade colder. Yesterday, a small postal plane from Sweden crashed in Tromsø. Because of a strong storm, the plane got taken out of the air and crashed a couple of hundred meters down. Not a fun story to read, but luckily I landed very safely.

Sam Van den Haute CheckoutSam

Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!


Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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Tromso noorwegen avond donkerThese things happen, and you can’t let it control your lives! Otherwise I’m sure I would never dare to travel again.
My flight was a lot more prosperous (except for the twenty minutes of delay, but that is not bad at all!). Two hours later, I arrived 1500 kilometers further north. Today, I arrived in Tromsø. The city that is often called the capital of the Arctic regions.

In January it only is one hour of light a day. From 11:30 AM to 12:30 pm. The rest of the time, there is a bluish glow over the city which creates quite a weird atmosphere. At 12:30 pm, it seems that it already is eight in the evening!

From the airport it only is a fifteen minute drive to the city center when taking the Norse Flybussen. Because Tromsø is located so high in the north, there pretty much is a constant supply of snow and ice. This isn’t very good for traffic and thus some solutions needed to be found.
One of these solutions is that they make use of a giant covered road, which almost leads fully to the city center.

Once the roof stops, the roads get slippery again and salt is not a solution since only minutes later it is covered by snow again. In the most famous shopping street of Tromsø the walkways are in fact heated! Inattentive tourists don’t need to worry for slipping. Well, at this part. Because outside this street all the streets get slippery as nature intended.
With my backpack, I walk to the hostel and make a few almost encounters with the sidewalk. Luckily, I never hurt myself and arrive safe and sound in the hostel.tromso kerk noorwegenTonight, I already booked a northern lights tour. I already checked the chances of seeing the aurora for a couple of days, and it seemed that these last days the lights have been especially active in Tromsø. Today, however, it is quite cloudy and the chances are very slim. Luckily, most tours in Tromsø do everything possible and drive a lot of miles to be able to see the aurora.

To see the light show, mother nature needs to work with you. The particles are only visible in the upper layers of the earth. Even higher than the clouds. Because of this, it’s an absolute necessity that there are none or only a few clouds.

Secretly I keep my fingers crossed in my warm gloves, just hoping that I get lucky on my first night in Tromsø.
Before I leave, I just want to eat something. It may already look like 7 PM outside, but I still have over two hours to find some food.

I walk through the small city three times. And three times, I can’t find anything. There are some restaurants, but their menu doesn’t please me today. I pass the Burger King, again, and think “Not again?!”, but half an hour later I did set my teeth in a whopper once again…

To soothe my guilt, I go to Coop (a supermarket chain in Norway) and buy a very healthy apple.
While I’m here, I also buy food for tomorrow. Because then I’ll go husky sledding, and in the brochure they said that you should take lunch with you.

Tomorrow I reaaaaally will be healthy. Well, try to at least. Three sandwiches with cheese and lots of vegetables!

Noorwegen tromso kamperen kampvuur aurora borealis noorderlicht7:30 PM. Time to spot the aurora borealis!

With some of the guests of the youth hostel, we leave in a small van. Heading out to find the world famous Aurora Borealis. One of the guests is a Dutch girl, Danique, with whom I immediately spend the following hours talking.

One hour driving. Two hours driving. I think today won’t be a very good day to spot the northern lights. However, we keep searching a little while longer and our patience gets rewarded eventually!

Right next to the gas station, we spot the first streams of northern light coming through the clouds.

“Is that it?” I hear people say. And I have to admit; that’s just what I think. The light can hardly be distinguished from another cloud. If we put our camera’s on the tripods we do see that it is the green light of the northern lights, but with our ‘normal sight’ it’s a lot less clear. The reason for this is that the camera gets a lot more light (long exposure) which makes the lights pop out more.

During the first half hour we spend on this ice cold place (-18°C with a windchill of -24°C!) the northern lights sometimes gets a little stronger, so that we can see the green glow better.

A camp fire is made, hot tea and hot chocolate are shared and a lot of laughs and talks fill up the whole snowy area.

In the meantime it’s already a bit after midnight and it is time to go back home. A bit of a disappointing first meeting with the aurora, but luckily this is only my first night in this northern located tundra.

aurora borealis noorderlicht tromso bergen

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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