Travel Journal: Oslo & Tromsø

Last week I had the great pleasure of traveling with some of my dearest family friends to Norway. We started off in Oslo, then made our way north to Tromsø. It was a week full of experiencing and seeing new things, learning a few Norwegian phrases, and seeing a part of the world I never dreamed I would see. If you're interested in our Norwegian Holiday, see below!

We had about three days to explore Oslo and in my opinion that is more than enough time to see the sites and learn a bit about the Viking Culture. Our hotel was in a trendy, newly gentrified area, Grünerløkka. Once an area of the city that was mostly industrial and not desirable for tourists, is now vibrant and filled with cafés, cute restaurants, and hotels like the one where we stayed (see below).

As the capital of Norway, Oslo is filled with history, tourist attractions, shopping, and plenty of things to do. We were fortunate enough that the weather wasn't too shabby for October in the north, which allowed for lots of walking and exploring. A few  of my favorite things to see were the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace and the Viking Museum -- so neat and foreign to me!

Next stop, Tromsø. This little town was everything I dreamed it would be. Little outdoor's stores everywhere, views of the Fjords and hills in every direction, and the Norwegian architecture I had imagined. We stayed in a little, red house that was broken up into three apartments. It had a great view of the town below. The apartment was cute, cozy with a stocked kitchen -- which allowed us to prepare our meals in the afternoon and take them with us when we set out to search for the Northern Lights each night. 

Every thing about this area of Norway was breathtaking. We explored so many Fjords and each of them had their own unique characteristics and amazing views. However, the highlight of our time in Tromsø would most definitely be seeing the Northern Lights.

It was no easy task finding the Aurora, let me tell ya. We arrived to Tromsø late, late Monday night. We had crossed our fingers and pressed our thumbs that we would see the lights from the airplane. However, upon boarding the airplane, the flight attendant told us he'd seen them early that evening and likely no such luck at this time of night. He was right.

For the rest of the week we watched the forecast like hawks to see when would be our ideal time/day. Each night, we set out for these beauties, but after 3 nights in a row we didn't see them. We were feeling a little defeated and on the last night we almost didn't even go out to see them. The Aurora forecast was showing a 6.6% chance that they would be visible, but we set out anyways. 

As we left the city of Tromsø I started seeing a whitish/greyish, long cloud in the sky. I thought to myself MAYBE that's it, but I didn't want to speak too soon, so I just stared out the window at it and watched. After about 5 minutes, the cloud was becoming more distinct and visible. I said to Emma and Britta, "Guys, maybe I am just wanting to see something, but I think I see something...", then next thing we knew we looked ahead and the sky was greenish-blue. SQUEALS. YELLING. CRYING. There they were. We couldn't believe it. 

They left me speechless. Even now as I try to describe their beauty and grandness, I am at a loss of words. All I can say is that the Northern Lights top the list of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. We were in awe watching them move so quickly through the sky and dance in front of us. They were in every direction. It was our last night and our least likely chance of seeing them, but we saw them. It was such a treat and I am forever thankful for this experience. Honestly, it's indescribable. You just have to go see them. It's magical.

We left Tromsø bright and early the next morning with full hearts. Until next time, Norway.