Tromsø, over 217 miles north of the Arctic circle and over a thousand miles further north than I had ever been before in my life, is where my Arctic cruise began and ended. On our final evening in Norway we reluctantly disembarked for the very last time but Hurtigruten had one more treat in store for us, a concert at the Arctic Cathedral, a distinctive triangular building that is a striking feature of the Tromsø skyline.
Possibly the smallest cathedral I’d ever been in, this was the perfect setting for an intimate concert.
The lights dimmed and candles flickered as we sat in silence. Softly, a lone voice could be heard in the distance, gradually drawing nearer. Beautiful and bewitching, a second voice rang out.
The concert that followed was a superb collection of Norwegian folk tunes and hymns plus traditional Sami yoik (Sami are the indigenous people of Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia and yoik is a traditional Sami singing style). It really was a wonderful and uplifting way to spend our last evening, as you’ll be able to imagine if you listen to this video clip. This is not the performer we saw but a beautiful example of yoik.
In the early hours we were driven to our hotel, which was on an island just off the mainland, and I was delighted to find my room had a view across the waters to the cathedral on the opposite shore. As I opened the curtains I saw our boat, the MS Richard With, sailing away into the night, on the next leg of its journey which ends in Bergen in southern Norway. I thought back over the wonderful time we had spent on board but my Norwegian adventure wasn’t quite over yet.
Geographically, Tromsø is made up of three parts – the mainland plus the island of Tromsøya (where our hotel, as well as the city’s airport, are located) and a second island, Kvaløy, and despite being so far north the climate is moderated by the warming effect of the Gulf Stream.
It was my last morning in Norway and I was so pleased that I had a couple of hours free to wander around Tromsø, before we had to leave for the airport, as I had only caught a glimpse of the town when we arrived. If I had had more time I would have loved to have gone on whale watching in Tromsø. It’s reputed to be an excellent location for it. However, exploring the town was pretty wonderful too. It has the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house being from 1789 and, just as you would imagine any town in the Arctic circle to be, it was covered in snow. And the sun was shining in a clear blue sky.
Please join me on a photographic walk in the snow around this lovely town (while listening to the video perhaps!)
I was a guest of Hurtigruten throughout my Norwegian Arctic journey but, as always, these are my own, honest opinions. Thank you to all involved for such a wonderful experience.
I am also thankful that I have this blog as a record to look back on in years to come.
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Brings back very happy memories of our wonderful Hurtigruten trip. That concert was magical wasn’t it. Love your brilliant photos 🙂
A glorious selection of pictures here Kathryn. The cathedral looks so delightful and a perfect setting for a winter concert in Tromso I am sure. The view from your hotel room is to die for, I always look for hotels such as these to have spectacular views over the Arctic tundra and surroundings.
The temperature would be something that appeals to me, I know that it is a turn off for many folks with the freezing temperatures but I personally prefer this for exploring the quaint villages/towns rather than scorching heat that we associate with many locations around the world.
Thanks Chris. It certainly was wonderful weather that morning and I know what you mean about the heat. It’s all right if you just want to lounge by the pool all day but very tiring when you want to be out and about exploring which is more my style.
Stunning photos Kathryn – the music was lovely too, very haunting and a nice accompaniment as I read.
While the other posts you have made about this trip have been entertaining with some beautiful photos, this one actually makes me think about taking a trip to Norway.
Thanks Lee. I’d really love to see Norway in the summer too, which I think you would love as well. Such a very pretty country any time of year.
That’s a very modern-looking “cathedral”. I Googled it and see that it’s actually a church, not a cathedral, despite its name (although Tromso does have a cathedral). I’m surprised to see that it dates back to the 1960s – it looks more recent than that to me.
Yes, it does look more recent than that. It was actually built in the same year I was born and I’m not sure the same can be said of me! 😉
Lovely – those blue skies are so vivid and it’s nice to see some snow after we missed out in the UK this winter!
I do love walking in the snow when the sun shines and the air is crisp and clean! Nothing quite like it.
You got some beautiful pictures there; we weren’t so lucky with the weather. But, maybe next time … ?
Thanks Keith. We did have some lovely weather but there was plenty that was not so good too! Just so grateful it was on our side for the husky dog sledge ride and it was great to be able to walk around Tromsø in the sunshine.
Looks like you had perfect sunny weather for your time in Tromso. How cold was it?
I’m not sure but around freezing I’d guess. The weather is amazing. We left Tromsø centre in this glorious sunshine and then just ten minutes or so later, there was a blizzard swirling round the airport! The temperature drops dramatically between standing in the sunshine and the shadows, let alone when standing in a blizzard moments later!
I am glad I have been able to follow your story with Hurtigruten so far. Your detail and the pictures associated are gorgeous. Tim
Thanks Tim. Really good to know you enjoyed following along.