On seeing the Northern Lights for the first time

I am a lucky man. I’ve said this before, but as my life wends its way along its chosen path, it becomes more true day by day. 

I have a loving family, good friends, an interesting and worthwhile job. And, the evening we arrived in Tromsø, I saw the Northern Lights. 

Early evening, they were a faint but distinct vertical line. They stayed for around 10 minutes, then faded away, but Ann needed a lot of convincing that what we had seen really were the lights. I would have been happy with what we saw. 

A little later, another faint green line across the sky appeared. Again, she was not convinced. But I had taken some photographs and the green line was clear to see. For a second time, they faded and stopped, so we decided to return to the hotel for a cheeky glass of red. On the way, we met a German lady who was so excited at seeing them and, as we chatted with her, they came back. And how…

They swirled. They danced. The “curtains” were there. They stretched across the sky, from the hills to the East, to the horizon on the west. The only things missing, were colours other than green. Maybe tomorrow…

I lay on the ground on a snowy concrete groyne, using my small table top tripod (should have borrowed the carbon fibre Gitso!) and the lights put on a great show. I took some photos (will share later) and then just lay on the snowy ground watching. And laughing out loud. 

It was just fantastic. 

I know that millions of people have seen them. And millions more will see them tomorrow, or next week. But, this is definitely one of those “remember the first time” moments that I will never forget. 

Today, we hired a car from the airport and drove around some fjords. The car was supposed to be a Skoda Yeti, but, incredibly, the car hire company didn’t have one. Has anyone, ever, actually driven off in the actual hire car that they have reserved? I certainly haven’t… Anyway…

The small sample of fjords today certainly lived up to the anticipation. The weather improved during the morning and the scenery was just stunning. Later, at dusk, it turned foggy then snowy, but for the main part of the day it became clear and sunny. We drove quite a long way today, to make the best of the car hire but it was definitely worth it to see scenery like Scotland on steroids. 





As an aside, the car was a 4×4 Skoda Octavia, with studded winter tyres. It was a really good car for the conditions, which basically saw 1″ of sheet ice covered in powdered snow on 300km of roads. In fact, it was a really good car. Could never buy one, of course, because it’s not a BMW, but…
Oh, yes… Nine quid for a small glass of wine from a wine box, is really not on. Norway really is cripplingly expensive. Not sure if I can ever afford to return. 

Which will be a great shame as it has so much to offer. 

3 thoughts on “On seeing the Northern Lights for the first time”

  1. How fabulous…they didn’t come out to play when I was there, very disappointing. I am, of course, quite green…but great that you saw them–I shall look forward to the photos 🙂

  2. I am afraid that I don`t check your blog on a weekly basis so I failed to notice that you were in Oslo. Be sure to let me know next time you are here. The expensive wine bottles in Norway will be on me. I have very warm memories from when we met in Germany several years back now.

Comments are closed.