Today I want to introduce myself and my blog to people who haven't read it before and have some news for you. If you didn't know already, I was accepted at the University of Tromso in Northern Norway and I moved to the Arctic in August.
I have always been fascinated by the North and after I finished my BA degree in Germany, I knew it was time to follow my dream now! I enrolled in a one year distance program in Northern Studies at the Uni in Tromso and can tell you now everything you want to know about reindeer husbandry, salmon breeding and indigenous peoples of the Arctic of course because that is what I will be concentrating on in my Master studies.
To clarify, I grew up in the countryside in the middle of Germany and moved almost 3000km up north to study at the northermost university of the world in a study program that is the only one of its kind in Europe and that only consists of 20 places each year. Crazy, right?!! I still can't believe it but I'm super excited and looking forward to sharing my adventures up north with you!
2823km and 31 hours by car
Northern Norway is a place that I have already visited last year and that I immediately fell in love with! I worked in a guesthouse in the northernmost village of Europe for a couple of weeks and enjoyed the most beautiful sunrises there each morning and also visited the northernmost lighthouse of Europe.
Gamvik - the northernmost village of Europe
Slettnes fyr - the northernmost lighthouse of Europe
While my stay in Gamvik didn't exactly turn out as planned, I'm glad I did the journey. It was my first solo trip and the first time I boarded a plane on my own. I visited the North Cape and did a cruise with the Hurtigruten and of course also visited Tromso.
It was the best journey of my life so far and despite all the issues I had to deal with (fights with my host being the worst), I don't regret a minute of the trip. Visiting Tromso was the highlight of that time. I immediately felt at ease in the city and if you look at the pictures, you can probably see why!
This actually is the Polaria Museum where you can inform yourself about the Northern Lights and see bearded seals
The Arctic Cathedral
A Hurtigruten cruise ship
Tromso actually is not a boring small town, even though the pictures might say something different. It is a university town and attracts also thousands of tourists every summer and winter who come to see the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun. Tromso furthermore has the highest amount of pubs and bars in regard to its inhabitants in the whole of Norway.
Fun Facts about Tromso:
- Tromso is the seventh biggest city of Norway with about 70000 inhabitants but the second biggest city in the European Arctic after Murmansk
- the city is called Romsa in the language of the Sami, the indigenous people of Scandinavia, and street signs in Tromso are in Norwegian and the Sami language
- Tromso lies 350km north of the Arctic Circle at 69 degrees North
- the city centre is situated on the island Tromsoya
- there is very few traffic in the city centre as most of the traffic is lead through an underground tunnel system
- due to the gulf stream the average temperature in Tromso in winter is only -5 degrees Celsius
- still the city is hit by several severe snow storms each winter and this winter alone there were 3 blackouts (that I know of ;))
- the average temperature in summer is 15 degrees and the highest temperature that ever has been measured in the area was 30 degrees
- the sun is not visible in Tromso at all between the 21st of November and the 21st of January and it is constantly visible from the 21st May to 21st July
- the polar night is called morketid in Norwegian which means dark time
- Tromso is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights
- apart from the most northern university, the most northern brewery, the world's northernmost mosque and the oldest cinema of Scandinavia, the Polar Museum and the Polaria Museum are some of the most important sights
- the Sami People's Day is celebrated every February with a Sami Week where reindeer races and lasso championships take place
Apart from the pubs and bars, the various museums and most northern things, the ocean and the mountains characterize the city and are two factors that make the city so beautiful. Just take the cable car up to mountain Storsteinen (400m above sea level) and enjoy the view over the city. It is breath-taking, I promise!
I had the best day of my life in Tromso when being on that mountain at noon and seeing the Northern Lights in the evening. I did a Northern Lights tour and although it was really expensive, it was worth every penny! We stayed in a traditional Sami tent, called lavvu, and drank tea and waited for the lights to appear.
Seeing the clear sky full of amazing diamond-like stars was brilliant but the Northern Lights crowned the evening!
But apart from all the beauty the city has to offer, the university is awesome as well. It is situated right under a ski-jumping hill and you can actually get to uni on ski. Not me of course. I can't cross-country ski.....well yet. I guess I have to learn it soon ;)
University of Tromso
"My" Faculty building
So this is my story. I've moved to the Arctic. I could write this over and over and still don't believe it.