Dodging the Rain and Snow

Saturday, Sep 21

No, you didn’t miss one, I did not make a blog post yesterday.  It was a pretty quiet day. We picked up Jeff at the airport, but it was pretty cold and rainy, so we didn’t do much.  We looked through the photography exhibits at the Perspektivet Museum, bummed around downtown Tromsø, then headed home for an early night.

Today was also cold and rainy, but we ventured out, despite the forbidding weather.  We started out at the Fjellheisen cable car. It’s a cable car that takes you up one of the smaller mountains just at the edge of Tromsø.  From the top, we were planning to hike to the next summit over, called Fløya. It started raining in force just as we entered the cable car station for our ride to the top.  That was to be the story of our day, just making it inside before the next bout of rain, sleet, or snow. About halfway up, the rain turned to sleet, then to full on snow. When we got off the cable car, we stopped in the freezing cable car house to add some layers and take some photos of the swirling snowflakes.  

Since the snow was coming down pretty hard, we decided to have an early lunch in the cafe.  We snagged a table next to the window, which would normally have a view down on the city of Tromsø, but at the time was just a view of swirling white.  As we sat, the snow ebbed and flowed. Sometimes we could just glimpse the city below. Sometimes we could see nothing but white. Sometimes we could see far enough to see the bridge to the mainland.  A radio played soothing classical music over the loudspeaker, which felt really appropriate for our rather magical snowy wonderland view. About half an hour later, the snow had cleared up entirely and patches (small patches) of sun were appearing.  We ventured outside into the snow. It was about 2-3 inches deep. Since everything was covered in snow, we had no idea where the path to the other summit was. There were tracks in the snow from other people recently at the top, but they were most likely just tourists like us, so who knows if they were on any sort of path, or just trudging over vegetation or anything else.  We did walk for a while on the most well-worn path in the snow, heading in the general direction of the closest peak. At first it didn’t seem all that far away, but after walking about ¼ mile, we weren’t much closer to it, the sun was out and directly in front us, we had left our sunglasses in the car, and so we turned back. It was also pretty cold! We wandered around the top of the mountain that we were already on for a little bit longer, got some photos of the city below while we could see it.  But, after only about half an hour wandering outside, ominous dark clouds approached. We just made it back into the building when full on snow started up again. We had also just missed a cable car, so killed another 25 minutes waiting for the next. When we got to the bottom, there were loads of people waiting to go up, in fact, we saw them send up 2 in a row. It hadn’t been very crowded while we were up there, so good timing, once again.

Our next destination was Ersfjord and Bryggejentene.  Ersfjord is a fjord a little to the north and west of the house we’re staying in.  The girl who lives in the house next door mentioned that it had some really nice views and the cafe/shop (Bryggejentene) at the end was cute.  The name Bryggejentene means “girl’s dock”. We arrived in sprinkles, which turned to full rain after we entered. The shop was very girly – lots of cute housewares and gourmet pantry items in what used to be a small dock warehouse.  I had a hot chocolate and a macaron, Jeff had a cinnamon cookie (which, now that I think about it, was really a big snickerdoodle, but with less sugar and more cinnamon). The rain had let up by the time we finished our snacks, so we went out to the rocky little beach next door.  There were a few other tourists on the same little beach taking pictures of the fjord. Since the sky was dark and rather low, with more rain approaching, the fjord was not showing its best side to us. It likely would have been much more majestic on a sunny day. Once more, just as we were heading for the car, the skies opened up.  

Our last destination for the day was a place called Grøtfjord.  While in the cafe, Rob looked on his phone (with no WiFi, so just at what was on the downloaded maps) and saw something there that was rated 4.9 out of 5.  Because he didn’t have any data, we didn’t know what it was, other than the name in Norwegian. We figured anything with such a high rating must be worth a visit.  So, we set out.

Along the road, there was a lake with a spot we could stop and park the car, so we stopped and hiked through the boggy, scrubby ground down to the lake.  Jeff was eager to take some photos. I was on the lookout for reindeer. The path we walked along had a set of prints in the mud that may have been reindeer (Rob thought they were rabbit prints), so that put me on the lookout.  Unfortunately, no reindeer were spotted. Boo. But, Jeff did enjoy taking some cool pics by the lake while Rob and I froze our feet.  Once again, the skies darkened, we maybe lingered a bit too long, because we did get a little bit rained on, but 20 feet from the car the sleet started in earnest, so I sprinted the rest of the way and ducked quickly inside.  Further along, our mystery destination turned out to be a grassy little camping area with a lodge, sauna, hot tub, and fire pit right on a small sandy beach. It was cute, and there were about 4 tents pitched in it, despite the cold and dreary weather.  From here, we turned around and headed for home. And, for the last time today, made it into the house, and were just settling in when we heard the rain pick up again.

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