We managed to pack quite a lot into our little holiday. Here are some of the highlights…
This was by far the most fun activity we did in Norway! It was organised by Arctic Adventure Tours and we were driven out into the countryside in a group of about ten people to the kennels to meet the dogs! The kennels are family run and it was really nice to see how much care was given to the dogs- all 120 of them!! And yes, they knew all their names individually!
Again, we were given arctic suits – I was quickly discovering Tromso was no place to worry about what you look like – and spent some time with the dogs. They were so friendly and jumped up to put their paws on your shoulders when you went up to them.
After a quick ‘how to drive a sleigh’ lesson we were on our way! The key point was to not let the sleigh catch up with the dogs as this would injure them, so it was important to be in control of the speed and brake at all times. My boyfriend drove first which gave me a chance to enjoy the amazing view- and try not to fall out when we went over bumps and round corners.
We swapped at various points so I could drive and after a few minutes of getting used to using the break – not an easy thing when you’re going down a hill and have five Alaskan huskies running ahead of you- I’d got the hang of it! We arrived back in one piece – shout out to Ozzie, Sparky, Colossus, Bear and Sam for being the best dog sled team (we had fun naming them as we sped along)!
After the dog sledding we went into a huge tepee with benches and a fire in the middle for tea and chocolate cake with others who came sledding with us. We spoke to some Belgian girls and a Spanish man and all shared our northern light stories! We learnt a bit more about the dogs, how far they could run and how they work together as a team. Then we had some more time to see the dogs, and of course take lots of photos.
One of the first things we did in Tromso was take the cable car, Fjelheisen, up the top of the mountain, Storsteinen. To get there you have to walk over a very long bridge. It was so windy and freezing so I didn’t risk dropping my phone into the arctic waters below for a photo! The views from the top were incredible, snowy mountains, sea, islands for miles. We then decided to try and reach the very top of the mountain which was a bit of a climb higher up – easier said than done as the wind picked up and the clouds set in. As I desperately tried to keep up with my boyfriend, I started to question if this was a good idea. But then I got to the top and forgot about the struggle:
A few hours later we returned to the bottom and went back to our hotel for some much needed waffles and hot chocolate!
One of our northern light guides recommended us to try cross-country skiing before we left so we decided to squeeze some in before we had to leave. We hired some skies and poles from Tromso Outdoor and it was roughly £28 each for 24 hours. We then got a bus up to the trails to give it a go. Neither of us had cross-country skied before but after a quick demo from the Tromso Outdoor employee (mainly how to stop and what trails to avoid!) we were ready. We managed to befriend a couple of Norwegians (who probably took pity on us due to our very beginner looking/terrible skiing technique) who showed us which way to go. The first day we skied we went when it was dark and we were lucky enough to ski under the northern lights!
The next morning when we went we could both feel the aches in our legs from the previous evening – the hills were a killer! But we ventured out a bit further, tried some down hill slopes and had some lunch by a frozen lake. We took a little walk on it and then decided we maybe shouldn’t test our luck on the day we were flying home!
It was great to do an activity neither of us had done much of before, and it was a great opportunity for me to laugh at my boyfriend every time he fell over hehe…
The week we were in Tromso happened to be Sami week. The Sami people have lived in the arctic for thousands of years and it is one of the oldest cultures in some areas of Norway. One morning we were there we got to experience some reindeer racing which was pretty unique. It basically consists of people skiing behind harnessed reindeers down the main street of the city. I had no idea how fast reindeers could run and it was cool seeing them up close! It was a fun tradition that we were lucky to be there to see!
At the end of the trip we both agreed that the Norwegian people as a whole all seemed really nice. Everyone was so happy to help two lost looking tourists, plus their English was amazing. We had a great chat when we were out skiing with an elderly man who was really interested in our opinions on Trump and Brexit. It was interesting to hear what he thought – apparently 70% of Norwegians are against Donald Trump as president, a pretty high number.
Read about where we stayed and our northern light experience in part 1
Read about what we ate in Tromso in part 3.