On top of the World

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Traveling to Tromsø is almost like traveling to the top of the world. It is home to the northern most university in the world and is the largest city in northern Norway. It lies 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle and is quite proud of that. It has strong links to North Pole expeditions, which is over 1,400 miles away. Perhaps it’s most distinctive man-made structure is the Arctic Cathedral (above), which has the largest stained glass window in Europe and was designed to resemble an iceburg. Tromsø was also very active in the Norwegian Resistance during WWII, being just 60 miles as the crow flies to neutral Sweden.

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The two-plus hour flight from Oslo took us over some breathtaking vistas. Norway has many glaciers, this one near Straumen (according to my handy-dandy iPhone geodata).

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For two months every summer Tromso enjoys sunlight 24 hours a day. Conversely, for two months every winter the area is immersed in darkness. Those that live there “go with the flow.” Homes usually have light blocking shades or curtains on bedroom windows and hotels always do. It really is amazing to see this phenomenon first-hand. The photo of Deb, Barb and Joy was taken late in the evening, as you can tell by the shadows.

Shopping in Tromsø is no different than any other big city. We found several yarn shops, a couple thrift shops, restaurants with a sense of humor and tulips still in bloom as we walked over 10,000 steps on our “free” day in the city.

Any visit to Tromsø is not complete without a ride up the mountain in the newly upgraded cable car. Once on top you can wander above the tree line and spend time on your tummy taking photos of flowers and plants or enjoy the longer views. To help orient you to the daylight situation, these photos were taken at about 11 pm. Following our trip up the mountain, we went to the Cathedral and enjoyed a midnight concert. A spectacular end to our very full day.

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