On Top of the World: Travel Week in Tromsø!

With my Long Study Tour done and midterms out of the way, I was free last week to travel wherever I wanted. So I went with only the most logical choice for the late fall in Stockholm: somewhere even colder and darker! Tromsø, Norway was where I spent most of the break with two friends from my Core Course, among snowy mountains and above the Arctic Circle. And it was completely unlike anywhere I had ever been before.

It got dark a bit after 3pm on our first day, soon after we landed on the island, so seeing the northern lights became our first mission. We walked (and nearly ice skated) up the hill to Prestvannet, a lake and nature reserve high up on the main island, Tromsøya. The lights were a little faint that first night, but when we tried again it was truly incredible. These photos don’t do them justice.

Our next excursion was Fjellheisen, a lift up to the top of a mountain. It was breathtaking, with stunning views of the entire city and the islands around it, but also because it was also the coldest thing I’ve experienced since January in Ohio. It actually wasn’t as cold as you might expect in the Arctic, but I did have to buy some extra layers (as they say in Scandinavia, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing). But all that was absolutely worth it for this:

For the most part, none of us are very outdoorsy, so mountain climbing in freezing weather was never the plan. But with all the hills and scenery everywhere, every walk felt like a nature hike. From urban Utsikten to off-the-beaten-path Kvaløya, we knew that we couldn’t go wrong.

This was just the walk to the BASE where we took the lift all the way up.
Utsikten, literally meaning “the view”, lives up to its name.
I’m smiling, I swear!

And when we didn’t feel up for long walks in the cold, there was still plenty to see and do.

Like the Arctic Cathedral…
…and the “wild” life.

With the choice to go anywhere for the week, I was a little nervous about choosing just one place, especially one so unusual and far from everywhere else. I quickly realized that I absolutely made the right choice. I got to explore the Arctic, spend time with friends, and check a couple items off my study-abroad bucket list; what could better than that? Vi hörs!


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