Tromsø and Lyngen Alps
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 17 May 2022

Tromsø and Lyngen Alps, 5/17/2022, National Geographic Resolution

  • Aboard the National Geographic Resolution
  • Arctic

Just as Stefano woke us today, the ship was mooring in Tromsø, right next to the long-stretched city center. The biggest settlement of Northern Norway (77,000 inhabitants) lies partly on an island. Tromsø serves as a cultural center for the region. Due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, Tromsø is warmer than most other places located on the same latitude. Looking out of the windows of our beloved National Geographic Resolution, we enjoyed breakfast and joined Carl Erik in the Ice Lounge as he told us what this day means for Norwegians. May 17th is Constitution Day, which is the national day of Norway and therefore an official public holiday. While many countries celebrate their national day with a military parade, Norway’s 17 May is more of a party for everyone. We got to experience this firsthand when local guides led us through the city center with its many wooden houses; the oldest house dates from 1789. First, there were relatively few people visible, but just before noon, the children’s parade started. All the schools of the city lined up as children happily waved Norwegian flags and music corps played despite the cold and the sleety rain. The older youth and many grownups wore traditional costumes, named “bunad.” Like a Scottish kilt, there are many variations, with colors and styles indicating where in Norway the wearer’s ancestry lies. The women’s dresses were really beautiful, and the atmosphere was infectiously joyous! We tried to avoid the crowds lining the streets as we listened to the cheering of the children, calling, “Hip hip hurra!” (the Norwegian form of “Hooray!“) and, “Gratulerer med dagen!” which simply means, “Congratulations!” The atmosphere was patriotic but very inclusive and joyous, and everyone returned to the ship with wide smiles on their faces!

The afternoon started with a lecture on, “Tips and tricks for better photos,” by National Geographic photographer, Nick Cobbing. By then, the ship had repositioned to Kjosenfjord, a 51-mile (82 km) long fjord. On its western side, the Lyngen Alps rose into the sky: a mountain range of alpine character and a length of 56 miles (90 km). In the obligatory rain and sleet, we Zodiac cruised underneath the jagged mountain peaks rising 6,014 feet into the sky–which we could only envision in our minds, as the low clouds shrouded them ever so successfully. We all had very unique and pleasant experiences! We talked about every topic imaginable, and we observed eider ducks. We saw friendly, waving Norwegians. They seemed happy to see us appreciate the beauty of a typically rainy Norwegian day...

The evening concluded with the daily recap and dinner whilst the ship steamed north. Our destination for tomorrow: Bear Island, the southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago!

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