Upon moving to Tromsø, I was prepared for long, dark, snowy winters and long, light, rainy summers. I was pleasantly surprised come mid May when the sun began to shine, the cool wind off the water calmed and the temperatures rose to the 70s. I was not alone in being surprised. The locals were all talking about the weather and rare it is to see so many warm days in a row. Tromsø even broke a record for both highest temperature recorded in May and the number of warm days in a row. Apparently last summer it rained all but 5 days. I am glad we were not here for that.
Another local told me that it is in the blood of northern Norwegians to stay outside if the sun is shining. This means, either skipping work altogether or just shortening the already short day, leaving for a couple hour lunch break and heading home for the day by 3pm. The beaches were packed with people all day long. Schools took all their kids to the beaches for the day rather than sitting in the classroom. If you remember my earlier post on the barnehage, outdoor play during the school day is top priority in Norway. They spend so much time outside on the sunny days that my kids are now complaining that they dont like school because they have to play outside for too long. What??
So here are a few photos from the local beaches here on the island. Yes, you will even see people, my kids included, swimming in the freezing cold Norwegian Sea. Crazy.
We have spent most of our Spring weekends camping, but managed to stay in town one weekend…of course we were moving to a new apartment, so we had to stay in town. Regardless, we made our way to the city center for the annual WaterFest which is also called the KidsFest. About a dozen Norwegian military boats made their way to the harbor, and about 3 times as many various sailboats and fishing vessels to celebrate the water. I was not sure what this meant when I first heard about it, but after checking out the festivities I now know. Water in Norway is life – their economy was first built on fishing, they power their entire country with hydroelectric energy, they live with the water everywhere. So why not celebrate water? A few of our highlights from the festival:
1. Touring the military boats and getting to check out the ‘blasters’ as Odin calls them. We even got to sit in the Captain’s chair surrounded by A LOT of buttons and navigational systems.
2. Water balloons…everywhere. Bags of water balloons were given away everywhere with several ballon filling stations and even a giant slingshot. It was hilarious. Kids were staning with their heads in a hold shaped like a target on a wooden board while their budding loaded giant slingshots and tried to pummel them with water balloons. A country without liability and lawsuits is awesome – this was infact sponsored by the city kommune (government).
3. A very cool bubble show where bubble sculptures of unicorns and birthday cakes were made, then popped all over the kids of course. Kids could even stand in the middle of a huge hoop and the bubble masters would make a bubble around the kids! Very cool.