Day 173. Tromso weather and rest day

Posted by: James on June 22, 2009

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Day 173.1 Arriving in Tromso yesterday after 850 km of the exposed Finnmark coastI slept well and long in the cabin which was dark in the morning for a change. As a result I did not get up until 0930. I had breakfast in the café at the campsite.

I had given myself a holiday of two free days in Tromso to catch up, give my body a bit of comfort and have a bit of culture. First and foremost I had to get the blog out of the way otherwise it would hang like a black cloud over my conscience. I did not start it until 1100 and I finally finished it and all the necessary emails by 1500.

In the meantime I had also washed all my cloths and had a shower. I had also packed up a few items which I had not used and was unlikely to use to post back to Oslo. With all this done I could get on the bike Bjorn lent me and head off into Tromso for a couple of hours.

Day 173.2 Looking north from the bridge between the Tromso on the left and the mainland on the right and a cruise ship far up the sound heading northTromso was initially built on the island in the middle of the sound. It was a seafaring town and there was no reason for it to be built on the mainland as the island port was sheltered. With the arrival of roads, bridges were built from the island to each side of the sound it lay in connecting the mainland to Tromso and Tromso to Kvaloya. This allowed Tromso to expand onto the mainland at Tromsdalen and Tomasjord.  The campground is on the mainland near the west side of the bridge.

Tromso is a very old town dating back many centuries. It was south of the area which the German burnt during the war so there are many old houses, wharfs, churches and streets which retain some old nostalgic charm. However like a few Norwegian towns composed of old wooden houses, like Alesund, it was susceptible to fire and a large section of the town was destroyed by fire in the last century.

I mostly cycled about the quiet streets for a couple of hours on a reconnaissance tour for tomorrow. The sun was blazing down and everybody was in light cloths and shorts. It was quite a contrast to a fortnight ago in Gamvik and Mehamn.

At around 1830 I cycled out to Kare’s who had invited me out to a BBQ. It took a fair time to find his house well north of the campsite on the mainland. We sat on his balcony with his family until late in the evening in the windless evening under the hot sun.

As the sun passes over the horizon it loses much of its warmth and we had to go in before midnight. I was amused to see a painting by Oyvind on the wall. Oyvind, together with Hartmut, live in Asker near Oslo and are the self styled “support team” paying bills, posting items and sorting out a diminishing number of problems.

Kare and I chatted until about 0300 in the morning. It is difficult to fell tired with the sun still shining and the shadows relatively short. Kare said it was quite normal for people to survive on little sleep in the summer but they made up for it in the winter.

Having crossed Greenland some 25 years ago Kare was a keen enthusiast of polar exploration and the outdoors in general. He had collected an impressive bookshelf of books I could have spent many weeks going through.

I finally left at 0300 and cycled home back to the cabin in the campsite.

It had been a dull morning with the writing, but a very enjoyable afternoon exploring and then a very nice social evening.

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