5 August, 2004
Arrival in Tromso.
I am here in Norway, already above the Arctic Circle. It
is the furthest north in latitude that I have ever been and the town is very vibrant with lots to see and explore.
On the flight from Oslo to Tromso I am surprised to see the passenger next to me reading materials on ACEX (Arctic Coring Expedition) - the very same expedition that I am going on. It turns out to be Anders Backman, the ACEX Fleet Manager. He is traveling to the ship with his family and they are so helpful in assisting me to find my way to the hotel and in suggesting places to visit during my free time in Tromso.
My hotel room has a small balcony that overlooks the fjord and the docks. I am in Tromso Sentrum, the town center. Tromso is a town of 2650 km2 and a population of of about 61,000.
The Oden, the Swedish icebreaker that I am to sail on, has arrived in Tromso and is docked further north along the shoreline in the deep water port, Breivika. Looking north from my little balcony and later along the docks outside the hotel I try to catch a glimpse of the ship.no luck. I am anxious with anticipation to see the ship "up close and personal"; I have researched it on line but nothing will compare with actually seeing it. But that will have to wait until tomorrow.
In the meantime I take a short nap to try to combat a bit of the jetlag I'm experiencing and then set out to explore. The streets around the hotel in the Sentrum are busy with many people, most appear to be tourists. There are lots of shops to explore but the language barrier is a bit of a challenge as is figuring out the local currency. The spoken language here is Norweigian, which is sometimes a bit easier to translate in the written form where some words resemble their English translation. As for the spoken word, I am at a total loss! Fortunately the shopkeepers are fluent in English. The local currency is the Norwegian kroner; one US dollar equals about 7 kroners. When I stop for a coffee and pastry I pay 30 kroners or $4. It's a bit of a problem when I shop because I'm not sure what I am paying for something, or if it's a good deal, unless I stop and try to do the math conversion in my head. I probably look fairly odd to people around me as I stare at an item, while I do the math - maybe they think that I just can't make up my mind.
After I've settled in my room for the night I still am not adjusted to the amount of daylight as I prepare for bed. I'm not yet in the land of "midnight sun". At this latitude of almost 700N, there are about 20 hours of daylight, though it doesn't get truly dark at night as I am used to. Still it's quite odd to awake at 1 am and have it light enough to see well across the fjord to Tromsdale. This is the section of Tromso across the water where the Arctic Cathedral and the Fjellheisen, a cable car ride that goes up 421 meters above sea level, are located. I expect to visit these sights as I play "Tromso Tourist" sometime tomorrow - after I pay a visit to the Oden, of course.
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