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on the way back south, we visited tromsø for a second time. there, we attended a concert in the ishavskatedralen:

the next day, we had the chance of exploring the vesterålen island by bus. we first visited the trondenes church, where also the weather began to get worse: it started snowing. and later, hailing. both with a lot of wind, and sometimes pretty much horizontally. the island is really beautiful, eventually we have to go back and explore the nature in more detail. some hours later, we arrived in stokmarknes, where we had a chance to visit the hurtigruten museum. part of the museum is the complete ms finnmarken, parts of which can be freely explored. below, you can also find a photo from its bridge.

the next day we again crossed the arctic circle, this time southbound.

again one day later, we visited the (surprisingly) beautiful town of rørvik. it is quite a nice little town, with some quite beautiful places:

from rørvik we proceeded south, straight to bergen.

the next day, we left the ship early to explore harstad a little, a small town on the vesterålen island. there, we finally had a lot of signs of winter: icy roads. while the snow itself was mostly gone, all the melting and freezing created an icy cover of especially the side roads (the main roads were mostly clear). in harstad, we also met another hurtigruten ship, the ms polarlys.

while leaving harstad, we saw the grytøya mountains, covered in snow; you can see them on the right in the first panorama. the second panorama shows the southern part of senja with lemmingvær covering the right front side.

from vesterålen, we proceeded to our next big stop, tromsø. while approaching tromsø from the south, we came accross kvaløya, an island west of tromsøya we’ve been driving on last year. here is a photo of the coastline:

in tromsø, we took the chance to take the fjellheisen cable car up to the storsteinen. last year, the cable car didn’t operate due to a mechanical problem. up there, there was enough snow (and ice!) and we had a really good view over tromsøya, tromsø and the surrounding mountain ranges:

while being in tromsø, we did two longer excursions by car. driving on icy and snowy roads is not exactly our favorite thing, but since it is quite common in scandinavia (and also canada), we thought it might be not too bad. and in fact, it was quite ok, probably thanks a lot to the great winter tires our rental car had. most of the time we had no problems at all, only noticing that braking could take a little longer than usual. only in two situations we experienced trouble: one time, in a roundabout, the car started steering somewhat different than i intended it to go. well, i managed to take control of the situation, but it was not exactly good anymore :) the second situation was when turning the car, it ended up in a situation where we couldn’t drive forward anymore due to wheelspin. well, driving back a bit more and then steering differently solved that as well. alltogether, i would say driving in this conditions is not too bad, and after driving for some days, i felt quite safe.

kvaløya.

our first longer excursion led us to the island kvaløya, an island adjacent to tromsøya, the little island tromsø is located on. we started a bit late, when sunset already had begun (i.e. somewhen around 1 am). we basically circled the southern part of the island.

eastwards.

our second excursion led us east of tromsø. we began driving over to tromsø’s mainland and continuing to breivikeidet, from where we crossed the ullsfjorden via ferry to svensby in lyngen, and then continued to the east side. there, we followed the lyngen fjord southwards until we finally reached the southmost point of our voyage, nordkjosbotn. from there, we drove up north again, this time along the balsfjord, and finally continued back to tromsø.
this time, we started much earlier, and so also got some sunny views. unfortunately, most of the time, we were covered by clouds…

tromsø during daylight.

here are some impressions from tromsø during daylight. at this time of the year, there’s not too much daylight – the sun rises around 10 am, and is gone by 4 pm. the photos feature the tromsø gallery of contemporary art, the polaria aquarium whose form represents ice floes, the rica ishavshotel with its interesting form, the polstjerna (a seal hunting ship) museum, and some views on tromsø’s harbor, in part from the tromsø bridge:

tromsø at night.

most of the time, we saw tromsø during night. this is how it looks. the first picture shows the public library.

the last four pictures depict one of the hurtigruten ships, the trollfjord which was stopping by in tromsø one night. we used the chance to explore the ship a bit and have a nice midnight snack on-board.

northern lights over tromsø.

unfortunately, we only saw an aurora once during our stay. but it was a beautiful one! we were standing close to the public library, and later to the city hall:

polaria.

we also visited the polaria, the northernmost aquarium featuring bearded seals. here are some impressions from their feeding and training session:

tromsø airport.

finally, on our last day in tromsø, the weather was fantastic. that is, there was a lot of sun and not many clouds around noon. we were already at the airport at that time, but still managed to take some nice pictures: