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Journals from Bø, Norway

2011-12-22 Journey to the Arctic Circle

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Overlooking the northern city of Tromsᴓ!

The goal of my last trip in Norway was to make it to the Arctic Circle and see the Northern Lights. So I packed all my bags, cleaned my room, said my goodbye’s and took a plane to a city called Troms" with four of my best friends.  Troms" is the largest Norwegian city located in the Arctic Circle. It is located on 2000 km (about 1,240 miles) from the North Pole.

We arrived in Troms" at 2:00 pm and were surprised to see that it was already too dark to see the mountains surrounding the city. It felt like it was 6:00 pm and we were ready to go make dinner, but decided to wander around the city first and wait until it was actually dinner time. We stayed in a lovely little cabin that was cozy and warm with all five of us inside, a perfect place to stay for my last few days in Norway! That evening we had plenty of time to enjoy the snow; we went sledding, had a snowball fight and built a snow fort. Later in the day, we watched the Troms" speed skating club practice and got a chance to talk to some of the locals about the area. We didn’t end up seeing the Northern Lights that night, but we were hopeful that they would come out the next day.

In the morning we woke up and were finally able to see the outline of the mountains. We took advantage of the little bit of daylight we had and took the tram up to the top of a mountain to get a view of the city. It was stunning! Since we were so far north, we never actually got to the see the sun. From about 11:00 am till 1:00 pm it looked like sunset and that is the extent of daylight that there is during the winter. It was really cool to experience the winter darkness! When we got back down from the mountain we went to the Polar Museum. We learned a lot of about the history of the area, the island Svalbard and the Norwegian explorers Nansen and Amundsen. Again, the Northern Lights didn’t come out that night, but it didn’t matter anymore. The trip was a success either way! I am so glad I had the opportunity to travel that far north. It was a great experience!

During my time here, I did most of my traveling around Norway. I got to see Stavanger, Bergen, Oslo and Troms" and many areas around Telemark. I am glad that I took advantage of my time in Norway instead of traveling more around Europe; I think it helped me to further my understanding of Norwegian culture and heritage throughout the whole country.

Flying back to Oslo the next day was difficult, I had to say goodbye to the beautiful north of Norway and my best friends. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I would be back in the U.S. in just a few days, leaving will be the most difficult part of studying abroad for me.

Ha det bra,

Sara

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