Tromso, often referred to as the Paris of the North, is the largest town in the polar region of Scandinavia. It is 186 miles inside the Artic Circle. The central part of the town is on an island, connected to the mainland by a bridge, which until recently was the longest bridge in Northern Europe. Tromso was the jumping off point for many early Artic expeditions including those of Nansen and Amundsen and is home to the world’s northernmost University.
Our bus tour, seems like we are always on a bus when we leave the ship, began around 9:15 and lasted 2 1/2 hours. The weather, when we started, was threatening and
overcast. As we drove through Tromso we saw some lovely older looking buildings.
We stopped at an overlook for a view of the central city and across the water at the Artic Ocean Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen in Norwegian). The sky was grey, as if the sun had abandoned us. Here are a couple of shots from the overlook.
We then drove past the university, the airport and over a different bridge, up a steep mountain road to another overlook. The weather was improving and the view from here was, as almost all in this country are, spectacular. One runs out of appropriate adjectives to properly describe this land; snow-capped mountains, lakes and beaches, fjords at every turn in the road. And, for all its beauty, it is very difficult to capture the vistas in a snapshot. Here is a sampling of the view from our overlook. There’s even one of us.
From here we drove over the Tromso Bridge for a drive by the Artic Church and then back to the ship. Well, we wanted to see the church so we stopped by the Information Center, bought bus tickets and visited on our own. The church, which is compared to the Sydney Opera House, is lovely, as is the Opera House. The stained glass window, behind the alter, is striking in its simplicity. It tells of the Second Coming of Christ.
Lunch was now in order and we found Skirri, a busy cafe on the harbor. We shared a chicken with crispy duck salad which was remarkably good. From there it was just a stroll along the streets. Tromso is a pretty place and an active port. Here is a sampling of what we saw:
We then headed off to find the northernmost brewery in the world, Ludwig Mack Brygghus. Although the actual brewing function has been relocated, Olhallen Pub is still there and functioning. It is Tromso’s olderst pub and serves Norwegian quality beer from 67 taps.
From Olhallen’s we began our return to the ship. A glimpse down an alley revealed a street artist at work.
We stopped to visit the Cathedral.
As we were moving in the direction of the Star we had a chance to see more of the beauty of the town.
Our last visit was to the lonely little catholic church opposite the Cultural Hall.
Back on the ship, getting ready for tomorrow.