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The Dancing Northern Lights

Lights, Cameras, Action....

Tromso

Absolutely WOW is all I can say! This experience was completely insane-The Northern Lights (aurora borealis) are gobsmacking when they are dancing in the sky; the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind. It's what we flew to the arctic circle for and we certainly saw it!

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You can clearly see the 'Big Dipper' (or Plough) in the picture below

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On one of the placards, Tromso proudly boasts to be the largest Polar City.....after Murmansk in Russia that is....so I guess it is the second largest after all. But it does have the most northerly University in the world....(possibly I guess!)

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You can see the Northern lights from the town, especially up the cable car - but the lights have to be "on form" with clear skies if it is to compete with the light pollution of the city. The Cable Car is Tromso’s most popular tourist destination. It runs from Solliveien in Tromsdalen up to the mountain ledge Storsteinen. You really do get fantastic views from up here.

What a stunning view on our first night in Tromso - but no lights! Or so we thought
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If feeling energetic, you can walk up the mountain via the Sherpa steps; 1300 steps that snake to the summit of the cable car. Walking a bit further you can clamber over more natural surrounds to the trig point of the mountain. From here you can see magical views of the Tromso Fjords- this was even better around sunset.

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After apparently seeing the lights at the top of the cable car and not really knowing it, we booked to go on a Northern star chase. This would give us the expert knowledge and hopefully some spectacular locations.

Our first chase ventured 140km south as there was too much cloud cover. Our guide was quite amazing at finding clear skies on an evening that just wanted to pull up the duvet. Our first evening eventually bloomed into life with ghostly whites, gradually tinting green. The fire warmed the toes on an night that dipped to -4c in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

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A spiritual face looked down on us.

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Filled with the happy buzz of seeing the lights, our long journey back blew out with a puncture, snowfall and a broken spare tyre- limping in at 4.00am. We certainly had a midnight adventure!

The weekend weather was not great so we bunkered in. Wet wet wet. But a clear sky on the last night gave us one final chase. We were happy from the first experience, but the second was just incredible. We travelled east towards the sea, with spectacular snow capped mountains reaching from the fjords.
It was show time. Phenomenal. Starting sleepily, the lights woke up and literally danced, exploded, whirled as if some one was mixing water colours and then sending fireworks around the sky. Just wow!

Thanks to help from the guide, our photos came out well

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Our guide from Greenlander Tours took these stunning photos below on the evening

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On the mainland, before crossing Tromsø Bridge lies Tromsdalen Church, better known as the Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen). From here, we walked up the glacial valley to it's source. A lovely walk through the autumnal birch forest evolved, then thinned, as we ascended to see spectacular views on a monumental scale.

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Tromso is a fascinating place steeped in history; mainly exploratory ventures to the Poles, whaling and seal hunting. A proud culture and location in the arctic circle quite different to anything we had ever seen before.

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There was plenty to see in and around Tromso. This was the best time to see the Northern lights, but given another month, we would have had abundant snow to play in and whales to see feeding in the fjords.

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Posted by PhilFhi travels 23:26 Archived in Norway

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