‘I am leaving for Iceland tomorrow’, I announced proudly to all my hotel mates seated at the TV room, while waiting for my guide cum driver. I was going on chasing of Northern lights tour. The guide was preparing hot chocolate for our tour and the night.
Immediately the owner of the hostel said, ‘Then you will soon realize why people come to Tromsø’. I thought he was rude and conveniently ignored his comment.
This was my second tour for chasing the Northern lights in Tromsø. I had planned my entire trip to Norway and Iceland around the Northern lights. The Northern lights are the natural phenomenon that happens in the sky when there are collisions between the gaseous particles in Earth’s atmosphere and the charged particles released from the Sun’s atmosphere. It is an interactions of the solar wind with the Earth’s magnetic field.
After my guide loaded her car with a flask containing hot chocolate, marshmallows and some cookies, we were ready to start our adventure. I sat next to the driver in the navigation seat (of course!). She had some friends who stayed about one or two hours from the city center who constantly messaged her about the Northern lights status – whether they were visible from their houses. Based on those inputs she decided which places to drive to chase the lights.
I was so glad to have taken this tour as my guide this time (I will write another post about my first tour) was really passionate about what she was doing and was very knowledgeable. On the way, I bombarded her with many questions – like a lot and she patiently answered every single question of mine. She was also a professional photographer and I thought I could use that and get some tips on clicking the pictures.
Our first stop was at a no man’s land. The lights were not that strong but we still managed to take some beautiful pictures. The snow capped mountains were at the background and the northern lights were in the foreground. What-a-spectacular-view that was!
I desperately (also) wanted to see and take pictures of the Northern lights that were not green in color. I had witnessed the green Northern lights during my first tour and this time I wanted to see something different. And yes, I was greedy.
We then drove to our next stop, which was by the river. This was the last stop as the Northern lights were really very strong. My favourite moment was when I saw these lights move like keys on a piano, very fast and displaying a mind-boggling show. They were so fast that I could not take any pictures of the show and is only registered in my mind (yup, agreed! Sometimes you have to let go of the camera). I can never forget the scene of the astounding lights and the creation of God. I was overwhelmed. And till then I had not believed that Northern lights can be seen through naked eyes.
However, I did take some pictures later on, the lights were not as strong but were not that bad as well. While my camera was taking the long exposure shots, we had the hot chocolate and the marshmallows toasted in the campfire (Yes, we had set up the campfire).
Some experiences can only be witnessed and any words to describe them is unfair to those experiences. This experience was one of them.
Tromsø gave me what I wanted. It was cold, wet and dark, in spite of all these odds, I witnessed the marvelous side of the nature and it will always be close to my heart.
Well, going back to the comment that the hostel owner made regarding Tromsø, I agree with him. I spent 10 days in Iceland with a hope of seeing the Northern lights. Unfortunately every single day the tour was cancelled due to bad weather. If I had not seen the Northern lights in Tromsø, I would have been very disappointed with the entire trip.