Ah… I just love winter.
The cold, bright days and a hoar frost spreading its silvery hands across the lawn and hedgerows. I was so excited last week when we had our first frost.
While others were bemoaning how cold it had got (believe me, after returning from our Arbonne trip to the Bahamas at the end of October we’re feeling the cold too), I was celebrating the fact that a frost means that I can now plant my tulips! And I went slightly crazy on the tulips this year!
The frost reminded me of this time two years ago when we were finalising our winter trip to see the Northern Lights. It was one of those things on both mine and Mr H’s bucket list and as there was a lot of galactic activity (Dr Who was just back on our screens you’ll recall) we decided now was the time.
We flew into Tromso, Norway, which is the gateway to the Arctic Circle. From here polar explorers would set out, and meet up again after their expeditions, so we were travelling in the footsteps of heroes. We were transferred straight to our boat, which also doubled as the mail boat for the various small communities on the islands which surround the Norwegian Fjords. It was a working vessel and everyday was filled with activity as we docked at various ports to load and offload supplies.
Sailing along the coast from Tromso we went in search of the breath taking phenomenon which is the Northern Lights. They were displaying on our first night so we knew we were in for an amazing time aboard ship. Wrapped up in over 10 layers we braved the reducing temperatures (it got as low as -15) and stood on deck watching the amazing light displays. They really were spectacular. One minute the sky was a beautiful red and the next a flash or green or blue would dance across it. What I thought were simply cloud formations would suddenly dart and then divide into two, three, four sections before disappearing altogether. It is indescribable and I don’t do it justice that’s for sure so if you ever get the chance to go and see it, take it. You won’t be disappointed.
When we arrived in Hammerfest we took an expedition to the North Cape, the outer most point on the continent. The cliff top view was spectacular and I really felt like I was standing on top of the world.
Our last port of call on the way up was Kirkenes and we could have gone to the Russian Border from here but, instead, we took a team of huskies across a frozen lake, well they took us really but you get my drift, and ended up at the snow hotel which was nestled amongst the trees. I’ve never been one for the cold so a night in an ice hotel isn’t my idea of glamour so we returned to the boat and headed back to Tromso with thoughts of returning home.
For us that was the end of the trip but for the mailboat that was just the start. They would offload all their cargo and start again on Monday!