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My trip to Norway, pt.1

Five days to catch the Northern Lights




Two years ago, I decided that it was time to make one of my biggest dreams come true: go to Norway and chase the Northern Lights, the famous aurora borealis.


With three other travel companions, we planned the entire trip in only a few weeks. One of the most important things to do prior to travelling was to check the best places to catch a sight of the Northern Lights. This is why we booked five days in November 2019, in a city located 69° North, called Tromsø. We chose Tromsø because it was said to be the best place to see the Nortnern Lights at that time of the year.


That's how we started planning our Nordic trip on a budget. We found a really nice and cosy Airbnb located just a 15 minutes walk from the town center, on top of a hill (link at the end) which was 66€/night. We bought really warm coats, winter walking boots on Vinted or Facebook Market and some thermal clothes in Decathlon. We were almost ready to go! We thought it would be better to simply write down places to visit and things we would like to do and improvise once there, instead of planning every day, minute by minute as we didn't know how the weather would be.


Our bags were finally packed, full of warm clothes, hat, gloves and hand warmers. We traveled on the 6th of November, early in the morning to catch our first flight. We got to the airport, through security and on the first plane to Oslo as there was no direct flight from Paris to Tromsø. We stopped for a few hours in Oslo's airport where we had food whilst looking through the gigantic windows, to admire the snow and perfect blue sky outside, until we had to take our next and final flight to Tromsø. Our first incredible experience was whilst we were flying over Norway, around 3pm, we had the chance to see the sky turn from bright blue to completely black within ten minutes. Pitch black, just as if it was the middle of the night! That is something we would have had to get used to, because in November, the sun shines from 8am to 2:30pm in Norway.


We had rented a car to be able to travel from place to place, so we could visit as many places as possible. When we arrived at the Airbnb, our host was really sweet and showed us the property and the way to town. We briefly unpacked everything until we got so hungry that we had no other choice than to go shopping. If you look online, you will see that Norway is not the cheapest country, but if you're being careful and avoid buying imported products, you will have five days of food for a reasonable price.


Our first trip into town was after dinner, wearing our big coats, hats and the snow crampons for our shoes. Even with them on we slipped over countless times. Tromsø is a really lovely and typical town with many things to see and do, plenty of small shops and pubs where you can have a hot chocolate (we had ice cream). Going to town after dinner became our little ritual and every time we visited something new. The Tromsdalen Church, also known as the Arctic Cathedral, was dynamic and beautiful. You can see it from almost everywhere in the city. The polar Museum was interesting, but not the best experience as there were real animal fur everywhere. We went shopping on Storgata Street, with a feeling of Christmas already.


On our way back to the Airbnb on the first evening, I remember that we all stopped to look up as an aurora borealis was slowly appearing in the sky. Even if we couldn't see it much because of the light pollution of the city, it was an amazing feeling! That is what made us jump in the car and drive to the middle of nowhere to try to catch more of them. We stopped in a field full of snow, got my camera out and put it on my tripod. And my tripod broke! On the first day! I had to find solutions for the rest of the trip, because as some of you may know, to capture the Northern Lights on photo you have to set your camera on a really slow shutter speed so it needs to be really stable. This led me to turn the car roof into my new tripod. When the car was unavailable, I was in the snow trying not move in order to take a good photo.


This was only the beginning of our trip, lots of amazing memories were about to be made.

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