Friday, August 15, 2014

8/15/2014: Tromso, The Paris of the North

Filling in where I left off yesterday: We made it just fine to Tromso and so did our luggage. The fog was thick all the way but it was a nice and uneventful flight and I caught the first 45 minutes of sleep since Wed. ~5 am, complete with head bobs and the eventful 'kick' reactions that almost resulted in corneal damage to my poor neighbor. 

A larger plane than I was expecting in the SAS fleet. Maybe this is a real city?
Serious fog
Less serious fog as we neared Tromso
The bastion of light that is the bay into Tromso
Here lies the gap in my pictures for the night of 8/14/2014. Inevitably, when your travel to a destination requires a red-eye and then continued travel afterward into the afternoon you can kiss that day goodbye. For one thing, you need to avoid sickness and or injury to being over tired and doing something stupid without thinking (not me?). You may end up with an afternoon being filled with such fun as figuring out where your hotel is (thank god everyone speaks English here). Maybe your hotel is concerned about fraud because your room was booked with another card other than yours and said party doesn't arrive until Saturday (luckily I have an honest face and am horrible at poker). There is even the potential that your debit card doesn't work in numerous stores with lines building and you meet the one cashier you've run into that thinks English is overrated…and maybe you did actually call the bank…well, I am just saying this sort of stuff could potentially happen when you are in a less than favorable state. Regardless, we are hear, it is beautiful, and the air smells like you've just tucked yourself under at the cave awning of a waterfall in a moss covered forest. Please don't make fun of me.

Bottom line, after a nice visit and dinner with Will Ambrose (Bates Prof.) who is spending a sabbatical term here, I ended back to my hotel (the ABC Hotel) and a little room for the night.

Looking down the lane to my hotel's little sign jutting out.
Begin 8/15/2014: That whole Paris thing from the top…

When Mike Retelle (Bates Professor) referred to Tromso as the Paris of the North I thought he was joking, turns out, he wasn't. This is a gorgeous city of some 75,000 and a bustling University town housing some 10,000 students. The shops are some cute and some ritzy, with beautiful parks and monuments throughout.
Shopping Anyone?
Morning Plans: After salvaging a couple hours of jet-lagged sleep I was able to sneak out and do a quick early morning sweep of the central part of Tromso, a little sight seeing before the mid morning rendezvous with Mike, Julie, and Will. We are tasked today with getting all of the food together and organized for a week plus of a 10 (maybe plus?) person group on the Island of Ingoya. Where we are going we really want to make sure that we have all of our ducks in a row or it is salted cod for three squares (maybe exaggerating). New team members arrive tomorrow and today is a day of logistics.

With that, I will leave you with some pictures of Tromso from this morning and a few anecdotal stories I've gleaned in the last 16 hours of being here. I should be able to get update out on how shopping went and expect one more day here in Tromso and then off on the ferry northward.

The breakfast bar at ABC Hotel. Lots of Mackerel for the early morning
I opt for the more terrestrial fare and my favorite in the world: Brun Ost (brown cheese)
This place was crawling with chess players from all over the world and of all ages
Some preferred to play in a more outdoor venue
Not your typical library (the 'Bibliotek')
No clue what this building is but kudos for the architecture…or maybe something went wrong (dominoes)
Statue of the explorer Roald Amundsen
Check out a quick bio at this link
Ok, now the story behind this rock is worth hearing. Will explained last night that there was this rock that he was always intrigued by sitting as a monolithic statue downtown. After years of being here he finally heard the story and it goes as follows:

Eidis Hansen was a very strong young man back in the day and let's just say a somewhat of a character. One night he was denied entrance to a particular establishment downtown (fill in the blanks). Being a somewhat hot-headed gentleman (not gentle at all) he walked a considerable distance to the shore and found this rock, some 371 kg…that is 818 lbs! Well, he figured if he couldn't go into his favorite watering hole than now one should so he promptly picked up the rock and somehow got it all the way up in front of the door to the establishment, blocking it for all. Three men could not move the thing and apparently that was enough to absolve his prior sins and so here lies the monument to one strong dude. 

Not light
Boats in Greenhouses
Bridge to the bifurcated city

Coast Guard boat: the Skat! Yes, that is its name.

They also apparently have 'Man' trucks here:

Ok, off to buy and pack food. I think we may actually get some sun by Sunday...

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