|View from where my first bus dropped me off - overlooking town|
|The view from Susan's apartment|
However, when Susan picked me up from the bus stop on Friday afternoon, one of the first things I found out was that she went to high school only a couple miles down the road from mine (!) and that she lived in Diamond Bar - just two cities over from my hometown. It was quite strange meeting a neighbor of mine for two decades - but not back in Orange County - instead, in Tromsø. (By the way, Tromsø is 300 miles North of the arctic circle)--brrr.
On Friday night I went with Susan to her office and met a colleague of hers. I wasn't surprised when she told me that the school gave free coffee, breakfasts, snacks, and sometimes lunches (just like my University at NTNU- I didn't like coffee before I came here but the fancy snazzy machine they provide the staff has taken over my life). We went to her colleague's house and cooked a nice dinner, followed by checking out the nightlight (until 4am!) Don't worry, the beer was still $13, so I couldn't afford to get too crazy. :)
Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to stay out until 4am - because we were hiking the next day. Not some California trail - like a real hike. Since I had woken up with the morning sun at 8:30am, I knew it was going to be a long day. But - it was so worth it. Tromsø is not as green as Trondheim - or even states in the Eastern US - but instead it is rocky and sort of brown. Some of this is because the season has changed faster here (I could see the changing of leaf colors here more so than in Trondheim). The hike was so beautiful. The highlight was my viewing of the Northern lights for the first time (Sorry, photos don't turn out!). They weren't in full bloom - if you will - but they were bright green and took up the entire Eastern sky. The stars shined brighter than I've ever seen - even brighter than Tucson in places where there is no light. I couldn't stay outside too long, even with my four layers, because it was freezing cold.
We hiked to a public cabin, which Susan told us is never occupied. Five of us went together to hike - and there were six beds. On our third hour of the hike to the cabin, we saw a half dozen people several hundred yards in front of us, and I thought: "Just my luck." I'm a baby and can't do tents or sleep outside, so I knew it was going to be a problem. Oh wait...let me remind you I only slept 4 hours and just hiked 7 miles dodging loose rocks and climbing steep hills. I was dead.
But - turns out the cabin that is usually locked was unlocked, and we joined one student who was planning to stay in the big cabin alone. We played games (in the dark, no light, like I said real hiking) and made some dinner. In the morning, we hiked 13km home, sore body and all.
The entire trip was a wonderful experience and I might just go back to do some ice fishing and see some more spectacular Northern lights :)
Here are some other pics, mostly from the hike we did!
|Selfie with my hiking friends behind me|