Eternal Sunshine of the Tromso Mind

Hey! Hey! And a Huda from the snow-capped mountain oasis of Tromso, Norde known affectionately to the locals as Polaria. When I perused the pages of my Lonely Planet Scandanavia and discovered I was traveling from politicoland to 300 km NORTH of the Arctic Circle, I prepared my distinguishing tastebuds for reindeer tartar and packed the best and bulkiest parka North Face had to offer. Both provisions put me in good Raouls Amudsen stead!

While filled with glee over the prospect of exploring this tundriatic, fiord-filled playground before me, I have to wonder why, in the name of Eric the Red, the European Union would pick one of the Northernmost habitats on earth for their annual e-Health junket. Tromso’s panoramic Alpine views and reputation as the Land of the Midnight Sun just might have cinched their bid over sandier, more continental locales. Given its unique geographic seat at the virtual top of the world, Tromso is blessed with nearly three months of pure, uninterrupted solar and UV rays every summer. All hail melanoma! And as the tourism website says, simply put Tromso parties; complete with a mayor who dons a shiny discoball of a necklace in ALL public addresses and yodelers who sing l’etrange electronica Euro hits like Big Butter Belly. Run don’t walk to download Bel Cantor’s CD! I guarantee you will find no another band like Bel Cantor and no other land like Tromso on this Earth. Where else are Kit-Kats called Kvikk Lunsj and is whale watching, fur slipper-making and singing the praises of Ibsen, Grieg and mid-20th century modernism a regional pass-time? How many adventure outposts, population 56,000, can play host to top health ministers and the world’s best marathoners one month and Nelson Mandela the next?

As the luggagecheckers at the airport warned me upon entry to Norway, Uh, Miss this is NOT Washington DC; which became hilariously clear as I traipsed through Tromdenhiem’s masterfully designed Museum of Polar Exploration seeing the likes of Svarlsbad’s little auks (penguins) and trained bearded seals barking for their dinner, as well as learning about the migratory mating patterns of Artic eels and the eco-consequences of being downwind from the Chernobyl disaster. Note to self: check that Rusky globe again. Exit information on the miraculous Coldwar Antartica Treaty cooperation and a giftshop brimming with funky Norse scarfwear and authentic fur polarbear masks topped off the museum’s icecold good time. I am sure I speak for many a TLRG reader when I say that seeing Mr. Q in his newly acquired bear hoodie and costume will be worth its weight in Kroners (6,000 to be exact)

Stay tuned for the Flickr photos:pigtails:

Signed,
LMSB (Lil Miss Sunburn)

Comments

  1. May 26th, 2005 | 4:17 pm

    Um, “bear hoodie and costume” doesn’t sound like something Mr. Q would go for. But I can’t wait for the Flickr feed. 🙂

  2. May 27th, 2005 | 10:38 am

    Er, the arctic circle is at 66 degrees 34 minutes North. You can only go another 23-some degrees North before you run out of North and then you’re going South wherever you go. So 70 degrees “North” would actually be… around the latitude of Portland, Oregon?

    Raines the Geography major

Leave a reply