Norway - the iceberg cathedral
Off to Tromso today – a city that neither of us know a lot about and yet a name with which we are now both so familiar – for the last two years it has been repeatedly mentioned during conversations regarding our (upcoming) journey. It now feels quite strange and exciting to actually be here!
We drove in from the campsite, which is 17 miles north of Tromso on the E8 to join the 862- this then takes you over the Tromsbrua bridge. As you cross the bridge it affords you great views of Tromso and the hustle and bustle of the working docks. Tromso is North Norway’s largest city and is situated on a flat and small island of Tromsoya, which is 10k long. It is completely surrounded by the most beautiful snow-capped mountains of Kvaloya – we have wonderful views of these mountains from our campsite.
We have noticed that the light here is so different from home – it is somehow cleaner and adds a touch of the surreal to an already breath-taking area – but considering we are well north of the Arctic Circle and at latitude of 70° north everything feels different. Interspersed with some of Tromso’s older and more traditional buildings are newer and larger shopping centres – with all the normal coffee shops, designer clothes shops and supermarkets – here, you could be in any city – and it felt quite normal to wander round and window shop.
Back at the bike (we used one to come into the city) we had a brief chat with some fellow motorcyclists who were taking pictures of the R1100GS. After a brief introduction they informed us how safe Tromso was and that our chain and helmet locks were unnecessary. This seemed to be proven as we noticed all other bikes had gloves, helmets etc all left loose or just resting on handlebars! Can you imagine doing this in London or the centre of Bristol!??
We were tempted to go into the Polar Museum and the Polaris Centre both of which give you an insight into the past and present aspects of Arctic life, but, due to budget restraints we had to give both of these a miss. However, if any of you do get the chance to come to Tromso and have the spare cash do have a look at both of these as apparently they are well worth it.
On the way out of Tromso we stopped at one of Tromso’s famous buildings – the Ishavskatedralen – the Arctic Cathedral. It is built completely out of concrete and glass and is most famous for its huge stained glass window. It was designed to create the impression of an iceberg pointing its sharp edge to the sky. Having been close up to it, it manages this pretty well! If that wasn’t impressive enough the backdrop to the cathedral is the Tromsdalstind mountain, which rises 1238 m. At the moment entry to the cathedral will cost you 22 NOK, which is about £2.20 with the money going towards buying a new organ as the current one is collapsing under its own weight!
Back at the campsite and after writing this we have just realised its one o’clock in the morning! The constant daylight is playing havoc with our body clocks and, though neither of us is tired now, we know we will be knackered in the morning.