Saturday, 2 November 2013

Leaving Tromso

I have to be honest, Tromso as a town is really nothing to write home about. It's a slightly surreal place where every other shop appears to be either a hairdressers, an opticians or a purveyor of erotic wares. The waterside is industrial rather than recreational and it's too expensive to be truly welcoming for visitors. But the experiences we've had here are outstanding. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that neither Simon nor I can move without considerable pain, the memories we've made here are priceless. This morning we only really have time for a big, fat cooked breakfast and then it's time for our ten minute taxi-ride to one of the most dramatically-located airports I've ever seen.

The Norwegian people are friendly in a rather frank and plain-speaking way and they seem really hospitable. I've noticed that curtains are left open at night, often with lights suspended in the windows, which gives a welcoming feel to the houses. They are a frugal nation, cleverly conserving resources. I was struck by the observation of our dogsledding guide who said that the Norwegians when drilling for North Sea oil marked the empty pockets they found on the sea-bed and filled them with the gas they needed to displace in order to extract oil. In contrast, the Brits burned off the gas and as a result we now have to import it from Russia and Norway.

I've enjoyed our trip and I'm so grateful to have seen the Northern Lights, which were every bit as magical as I hoped. On the flight home we begin to plot our next holiday ...

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