You might be wondering why I’ve been marking these posts by the half day. A big part of that is due to the constant daylight. We’ve missed the Midnight Sun by just a week or two, so the sun itself isn’t above the horizon all day long. Instead, it starts to go down around 9 or 10 at night and twilight descends over the sky…and doesn’t leave until the sun comes back up in the morning. So, even at 3 in the morning (which is when I woke up this morning, by the way) the world is stuck in a perpetual twilight. It’s kind of unnerving, even with the shades drawn.
We both thought that we would get used to it after a day or two, but that hasn’t been the case at all. Instead, we’ve been relegated to sleeping in 3-4 hour chunks whenever we get tired. Sara and I just finished eating breakfast and I’m sitting in the lounge area of our hotel, coffee by my side, while Sara retreated back up to our room to take a nap before we head out for the day. Sometime this afternoon, I’ll probably crash for a few hours, then we’ll head out for the evening. It’s weird.
The thing is, we have two more days in Tromsø. So once this becomes the norm, we’ll be jetting south to Bergen, which is roughly parallel, latitudinally, to Portland and Seattle. So then we will have to re-adjust to normal day/night. Fun, right? As Sara pointed out, though, it’s better to have that as the second part of our trip, so we won’t be completely screwed up when we get back home.
Yesterday, we awoke to snow-covered streets. It’s been snowing more or less since Friday night, light and fluffy flakes. It was also very windy and in the mid-30s, so we decided to spend most of it indoors, checking out the art museums and galleries about town.
But first we stopped in to the Ølhallen, the pub on the grounds of the Mack Brewery, the northernmost brewery in the world. Ølhallen is also the oldest pub in Tromsø and was filled with character and characters. There has always been something about wood-lined walls and well-worn bar furniture and accoutrements that make me feel at home. I’m not sure why, since it’s not like I spend a bunch of time in bars. Maybe the congeniality of such places attracts me, who knows? I am beginning to develop a taste for Mack’s dark pilsner, though.
After a tasty pint, we hopped across the street to the Tromsø Museum of Contemporary Art, where we took in some exhibits from Tromsø University’s MFA students. To say that they were odd is an understatement. One involved walking through a tunnel made of tarps and birch poles to an almost entirely dark room where a beach scene was being projected onto a wall. Another involved a guy in a track suit running, skipping, and hopping around the room while yelling in Norwegian. Y’know, art.
After grabbing Sara a quick lunch (for some reason, when we travel, I’m almost never hungry enough to eat lunch, go figure…), we walked down to the North Norway Art Museum (sorry for the websites being in Norwegian, they are honestly the first sites I’ve run across that don’t have English translations). What a pleasant surprise this was. The paintings on exhibit were, for the most part, stunning. There were even a few Edvard Munch pieces on display. The scope and breadth of the collection was so incredibly interesting. From mid-19th century landscapes to abstract art from the 1930s and more modern pieces, it was really impressive. Sara posted some of our favorites in her Facebook photo gallery. You should really check them out. This one really stuck out to me -
After a well-deserved afternoon nap, we grabbed some burgers at the Bla (pronounced Blue-Ah) Rock Cafe, renowned for it’s burgers and plethora of rock paraphernalia adorning the walls. There were vintage posters from just about every grunge band out of Seattle in the 90s, old punk posters from the Cramps, Dead Kennedys and Iggy Pop, tons of guitars hanging from the walls, even a drumset managed to find it’s way into the rafters.
We stepped outside into more snowfall. The perpetual twilight had begun again and we lingered along the waterfront, fiddling around on some playground equipment in a public square and did some people watching before heading back to our hotel room and calling it a day…or night. It really is hard to tell for sure anymore.
Today we head to the south of the island to visit the Tromsø Museum and a few other places and tomorrow, we’re renting a car and exploring the surrounding islands.