Day 61 & 62: Alta Rock Carvings & Artic Explorings in Tromso

61 – Thursday

Despite sleeping the the car park, we did not make it into the museum until 11.30.  Run, Nork, put some washing into a bucket to soak and K showered.  Had thought we would be in and out of the museum in an hour, but 2.5 hrs later…  Rock carvings walk on board walks… avoiding the French and German tours (K able to pick up some info, duplicated by J from the guide book, so linguistic skills redundant!).  Helpful as some of the carvings were painted red so we could see them, otherwise it was a hide and seek / guessing game.  Although current thought is that they should remove the red paint as it is not an ‘authentic’ experience for people …. but we could bloody see them, so keep the red paint!  The museum also had exhibitions about rock carvings, stuffed animals of the area, clothes and a downhill ski jumper (J the sportsman had not heard of him).


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More difficult to see … discovered as a workman plonked a post in the middle!

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Views from the Alta Rock carvings site.

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Thankfully stuffed as over 7 foot tall!


Lunch in the car park and then off in the direction of Tromso.  A slow drive with the bendy roads and some serious road works as they blasted another carriage way out of the rocks down to the sea.  Had to keep reminding ourselves that it IS the sea and not a lake.  BUT seriously amazing scenery.  Fjords with houses and fishing nets / boats, snow capped peaks …. really special.

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Parked up in a car park looking out onto snowy mountains, but not put the heating on … yet.  Washing rinsed through, another load on and a frustrating call from Apple to sort out missing iTunes purchases … call number 2, both referred to Technical and now rescheduled for tomorrow.  Ho hum.

62 – Friday: Tromso and Arctic Explorings

A scenic (where isn’t?) drive which included two ferry crossing and significant expenditure.  The Sat nav had taken us the shortest route …. only the ferries cost a stunning £100+.  Note to selves:  check sat nav route and do a cost analysis on ferries vs driving the long way round.  Across the big bridge (free) and into Tromso.  Weather horrid … teaming rain.  Found a carpark by instinct next to the Tourist Information.  The lady inside was a treasure, really helpful on Tromso itself and the ferry crossings for a route through to the Loften Islands … one ferry would have been over £100 alone so we discounted the ferry route rather rapidly.  We will  trudge round by road.

Back to Tromso:  some lovely old wooden buildings, even Burger King inhabited one.  We then inhabited Burger King for nearly two hours, using their sluggish but free wifi.  Had a walk round and then moved Chardonnay to a cheaper carpark, having emptied the chemical toilet … locations of both supplied by helpful TIC lady.  Then walked back along the fjord to the Polar Museum, passing one of the Hurtigruten and other large cruise boats.  Trams seems to be a major start / stop exploring destination judging by the number of people dragging suitcases; as well as the cruise ships, day trip boats, there is also an airport.

Polar Museum had info on seal and polar bear hunting: they really do have a lot of stuffed animals around here.  Outside one shop a polar bear had a large sign asking passers by not to touch, but the discolouration of his nose was evidence of this being ignored.

The museum had some information on Amundsen and his arctic and flying trips, but a really good and interesting section on Nansen, who actually did not make it to the North Pole, but her got further than anyone else ever had.  He commissioned the boat ‘Fram’ to withstand being crushed by ice as he planned to float to the Pole.  Soon realising that Plan A would not work, he went into Plan B.  he set off with one man, 27 huskies, two kayaks and sleds and headed off over land / ice pack.  Slow going and many incidents where the two men fell into icy water, saved each other’s lives and rescued their kayaks, they had to abort Plan B.  Plan C was to stay alive during the winter.  So they built a stone cabin and stocked up on seal and whale meat and sat the winter out.  Amazingly, they remained close friends.  After the winter, they continued their trek and finally were picked up by a boat.  As they made it back to civilisation, they had a telegram that the Fram and her crew had also survived.  There is a Fram museum in Oslo – may have to put it on the ‘to do list’.

Drove out of Tromso and spent the night at a viewpoint with 3 other ‘travellers’.  Woken at 1.00 a.m. by noisy arrivals, and took a couple of pix of the rosy tinted mountains.  The light was just amazing.  It is so bright here at night, that we have to shut all the blinds or we would struggle to sleep.  As it is, we seem to be going to bed later as our body clocks are still expecting it to get dark.  we have really noticed how the light really changes the colours around us.

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The 1.00 am light on the mountains form our night time view point!  Pix taken through the window from bed … not altered … real colours!

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