We had visitors!!! Yeah!!!! Grandpa (Darrell) and Grandma (Debbie) flew in to Tromsø on Tuesday afternoon to join us in celebrating the Summer Solstice under the Midnight Sun.
The visit started with a nice day in town where we were joined by the King and Queen of both Norway and Sweden. This was pure coincidence as we had no idea they were coming until just the day before. It was amazing to see how the Norwegian police force (or lack there of) and people react to an event like this. It was not crowded, there were hardly any police around, just a simple rope to mark off where the people should stand, very casual. Definitely nothing like the King and Queen of England or the President of the US. Then again, I should have guessed the reaction and preparation would be casual as everything is in this country. It was quite nice.
We spent the sunny afternoon strolling the streets, stopping for some sunshine time at the Café Kino (one of our favorite bar/coffee shops in town) and just enjoying the company. In the evening we returned home to grill some whale steaks…mmmm. These delicious red steaks are illegal in the US due to Endangered Species Act, but in Norway there is one type of whale that is not Endangered and is actually taking over habitat of other whales so we get to eat it and it is DE-LIC-IOUS!
Day 2 began our Northern Norway adventure, a car trip to the 2nd largest island in Norway – Senja. Only a 3 hour drive along the narrow winding roadways, we arrived in the early afternoon of a rainy day at Hamn I Senja. This little ‘town’ has a history of being a mining and fishing village but is now a beautiful holiday mini resort with fancy cabins on the sea, beautiful scenery, and an amazing restaurant. We enjoyed many of the typical Northern Norwegian dishes – reindeer, shrimp bowl, fish soup, salmon, and lamb. Yum! We took a nice walk in the afternoon then hit the dock for some fishing. Odin even caught his first ocean fish!
We promised the kids they could stay up until midnight to celebrate the upcoming solstice with us. Adelheyd did not make it, but Odin was determined and joined us for our solstice cheers and photo at midnight. Pretty fun welcoming the solstice under the midnight sun!
The next day was beautiful and sunny. We enjoyed breakfast on the dock and took a few nice little hikes before hitting the road. This is definitely a beautiful and hidden part of the world.
After leaving Hamn, we made quick drive north to SenjaTrollet , a creative Troll Park on the Island built by an artist over the past 20 years and designed for kids to play and explore the world of Norwegian Trolls. Trolls are common characters to show up in Norwegian folktales and children’s stories. This artist has built the largest Troll in the World and his wife. You can play outside on the various troll themed playgrounds or go inside the large troll to see the many troll scenes from various folklore. It is pretty silly and very cool at the same time. It was well worth the stop to see this artist’s creative troll juices in action!
From the Troll Park we made our way along the scenic tourist route skirting the West and North edge of the island until we arrived in Brensholmen to take a nice ferry ride back to Sommaroy and on to Tromsø. It was a spectacular trip!
We spent the last day and a half with Grandma and Grandpa lazing around Tromsø, visiting the Mack Brewery for a beer at the northernmost brewery in the world. This is a funny title that several businesses in Tromsø claim to attract business. Of course we are at 69 degree north! So we now say farewell to Grandma and Grandpa who head off on a grand European adventure. We also begin another adventure, so stay posted for news on our trip through Finland and Estonia starting today!