Polaria – an Arctic Experience!

Let’s go on with my experiences in Tromsø last weekend:
Housed in a very distinctive building that represents ice flows that have been pressed up on land by the rough seas of the Arctic, you will discover Polaria, just five minutes walk from the centre of Tromsø. Polaria has an Arctic aquarium and interesting knowledge-based exhibits. We had our dinner there at Saturday evening and I had my Nokia mobile phone available of course. We started with a cocktail before the Polar Buffet with smoked salmon and seal, but I had to try the snow scooter first of course :-)

RennyBA in scooter action

Polaria was established in 1997 on the initiative of The Department of the Environment, in order to spread knowledge and awareness of Arctic flora and fauna, climate and environmental consequences, to tourists and other visitors.

Don’t feed the polar bears!

You can experience first hand some elements of Arctic nature – a snowstorm, a dozing polar bear, the tundra and the (Northern Lights). In the aquarium the main attraction is the bearded seals. The bearded seal is an arctic species, and they are very popular among children and adults alike, due to their quiet disposition and intelligent nature. One of the seals was sick the night we where there, so therefore they have emptied the aquarium. They did that to check the animal and gave it anti biotic and the next day we where told he was much better.

The bearded seals – and – The catfish

In the aquarium you can also get acquainted with the marine animals by touching them. You can also make your own waves, and study the maelstrom. I did not dare shake hands with the catfish in the picture above though :-)
From the Norwegian coast, up to the Barents Sea and towards, the ocean is filled with cold arctic waters. Most fishes have a preferred temperature in witch they thrive. Therefore the composition of species will change when you enter colder arctic waters.

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The Gateway to the Arctic

This is the third article about my trip to Tromsø last weekend. I must admit, I am fascinated by the nature, the landscape and the culture in the northern part of Norway. They are not famous for a warm climate, but the people are really outspoken, open-minded, warm and friendly. The gateway to the artic is wonderful and I am glad I had my Nokia mobile phone easily available to capture some of my experiences to share with you (click on them to enlarge!).

Tromsø island – the centre

Tromsø is the largest city in the Nordic countries north of the Arctic Circle and is home to the world’s northernmost university, brewery and cathedral. The city lives on education, research, administration, fishing exports and satellite technology. The centre of the north has 62,000 residents and the Municipality of Tromsø covers an area of 2558 km². Around 50,000 people live in the centre of Tromsø, while the remainder is scattered throughout the whole municipality.

The main land – in the morning and in late afternoon

Tromsø was founded in 1794, although the first church was built here back in 1252. In the 1850s, Tromsø became the centre for Polar sea catches in the Arctic region, while in the early 1900s the city was the starting point for a host of expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic regions, something that gave the city the nickname Gateway to the Arctic.

The harbour and the main land at night.
Notice the artic Cathedral!

In 1940, Tromsø was capital of the non-occupied Norway for a few weeks, and was the only city in Northern Norway to totally avoid war damage. In the years after 1960, Tromsø has experienced an exceptional growth in population, which is in part due to the establishment of institutions like the University of Tromsø and the Norwegian Polar Institute.
The last article will be about my exiting trip with the gondola and some of the wild life in the Artic, meaning: there will be more to come, so please come back soon!

The Arctic Cathedral

I promised you to share some of my experiences in Tromsø, Norway. Here is a masterpiece by Jan Inge Hovig. Built in 1965 and reflecting North Norwegian nature, culture and faith, with a monumental stained glass window.

“The Arctic Cathedral” is a name often given, but it’s actually an ordinary Lutheran church. Perhaps because it has become a major tourist attraction in Tromsø. The large, angular formation and the light colour can easily be associated with an iceberg. The frontal part of the building is 35 metres high. Along its length there are concrete columns that reach all the way to the ground. These angled columns are covered with a cladding of lacquered aluminium plates.

The interior lighting is positioned such that it lights the outside of these plates as well as the inside of the church, giving a special effect. The ground area of the main church hall is 900 square metres, with seating for 720 people. The lower floor, or cellar, has an area of 1020 square metres. The organ has 22 voices and 124 keys (electro pneumatic wind chest and register). It is situated by the west gallery – the picture at the right hand side.

The stained glass window was unveiled 25 June 1972. The window is 23 metres high and covers an area of 140 square metres. The shape is triangular and covers the entire east wall. 11 tons of glass was used to finish the window. Each glass element comprises of 86 rectangular sections that form a complete whole. The man behind this work of art is Viktor Sparre. He envisaged Tromsdalen church as a “building without a soul” unless the proclamation of Christ was clearly brought through in the construction of the church itself.
I use my Nokia mobile phone to capture my experiences – please click on the pics to enlarge. And there will be more in the days to come :-)

Tromsø from Above

This weekend I’ve attended The Norwegian Computer Societies national assembly at Tromsø. We had beautiful weather during the flight from Oslo and of course I had to capture the moment with my Nokia mobile phone as we where heading up north in Norway. Please click on the pics to enlarge!

At a latitude of nearly 70 degrees north, four days’ sailing from Bergen and barely a two-hour flight from Oslo, Murmansk or Longyearbyen, at the same latitude as Alaska and Siberia, between the island landscape, fiords and mountain peaks, you find Tromsø – Gateway to the Arctic and capital of Northern Norway. As far back as a century ago, visitors were surprised to find culture, intellectual life and the current fashions so far north, and the city derived the name Paris of the North.

In spite of their location so far north, Tromsø and Lyngen both enjoy a moderate insular climate. Summer weather ranges from five degrees Celsius and rain to 28 degrees and fantastic swimming conditions for the undaunted. Winter in Tromsø is not especially cold. The record low temperature in Tromsø is minus18 degrees Celsius, while the average January temperature is minus four, but in return there is often a lot of snow.

The Midnight Sun is visible from around May 21 to around July 21. Between November 21 and January 21, the sun disappears under the horizon and we experience the Polar Nights. It is not completely dark during the middle of the day, and the light and colour in the sky is amazing when the weather is favourable.

Tromsø is situated right in the centre of the Northern Lights zone and is therefore, together with the interior ice in Greenland the tundra in northern Canada, among the best places on earth to observe this phenomenon. Most of the Northern Lights outbursts visible from Tromsø are green, but large outbursts can also include other colours. In my post at November last year, you can read about how a Norwegian studied this phenomenon in a Terella – a model of the earth – actually the reason why I cal this blog RennyBA’s Terella :-).
There will be more posts about this exotic place in the northern Norway in the days to come!

Stavanger from Above

I had a business trip to Stavanger a couple of weeks ago and captured some of the scenery from the plane with my Nokia Mobile phone. I was not quite satisfied with the quality in the pics, so I hesitated in showing them, but then I am thinking what the heck: everything doesn’t have to be perfect. After all it shows something from Norway and how King winter still is in charge. Besides, the purser in the plane wouldn’t let me open the windows to get an open view lol!

The trip started early in the morning from Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. Too early for me to be awake, so I was going on auto pilot myself :-). Before entering the terminal I saw this special figure or sculpture and even more: the wonderful red sky in the background. It reminded me of how many paper airplanes I made in my childhood and I could easily picture myself in the figures place when he is about to send the plane. How long will it stay in the air this time? All the way to Stavanger I hope.

It was a partly cloudy morning and of course after taking off we were heading towards the blanketed sky. The light reflection that it gives is amazing, I think. In the first picture you see a suburb of OsloCity and the village is so nicely covered with snow. It looks nice and quiet and well taken care of by nature. In the second picture there was not that much clouds and you see the rocky mountain landscape which actually is very typically for Norway – I was on top :-).

Getting closer to civilisation and Stavanger at the southwest coast of Norway, there where less and less snow. The sun gave me still more wonderful views though and I was capturing and thinking: oh, what a wonderful world. Entering Stavanger’s harbour (in the right picture), you can see the local ferry bringing the workers to the city.

Stavanger is Norway’s third larges city with 115 thousands inhabitants (Norway total has 4.8 mill). It’s founded at 1125, but before that, the area was an economic and military centre as far back as the 800-900s. Actually the consolidation of the nation took place not that far from Stavanger, at Hafrsfjord in about 900 AD. So you might say I was on historical ground.

What about the trip back home, you might ask: I had my power nap for the day – the trip only takes 45 minutes :-).
If you like to know more about Stavanger, click here, and about Oslo Airport here.
Please also read my blog designers adventures in Bed And Breakfast in Stavanger!