Archive for March, 2010

Bart, Kaya & Mare in Tromsø

A month late, but here are finally some pictures of Bart, Kaya & Mare‘s visit to Tromsø in February. Mare turned 2 the day after they arrived, she’s a real little lady now and not a baby anymore!

For once, our visitors were lucky with the weather. It was sunny almost the entire week! We saw the northern lights on their first evening, unfortunately it never returned, but we did have lots of sun! Mare is in a copycat phase, as you can see below ;) But I also took a prettier portrait of the little family!

During the first weekend we went for a drive on the mainland. We stopped to see the view at this pretty green house on the fjord. We noticed we had very nice long shadows :)

Mare is crazy about cats, even if they are huge and made of stone – she even kissed this one several times…

We spent lots of time playing of course :) Mare even got Paul to play with her!

And we spent lots of time playing in the snow…

I borrowed a sledge for Mare, but guess who were having most fun with it ;)

Meanwhile Mare was playing with snow on a mini picknick table. The views from there were very pretty!

One evening I went to visit the Arctic cathedral with Kaya. I had never even been inside. The opening hours in winter are very limited – 16:00 to 18:00. Pity they are only open when it’s dark and it’s hard to admire the huge stained glass window at the back. I do love the architecture of this place…

We had so many sunny days, with very pretty sunsets. On their last evening Paul went ice fishing with Bart (but without catching anything..) while the rest of us visited my collegue Ine-Therese who lives on Ramfjorden. She has three kids so Mare made some new friends :) Ine-Therese’s youngest son is only about 6 months old and very cute :)

Mare was completely in love with him and kept coming over to give him hugs and kisses.. so cute to watch!

Their week here flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to go back to the airport… It was great having them visit! Our house was so quiet after they left… Here is one last picture of Mare with very big eyes, and a peanut butter mouth ;)

That’s all for a while – we’re leaving for a trip to Murmansk in Russia tomorrow morning. I’m sure we’ll come back with lots of stories and photos :)

Fifth time lucky

We’ve been very unlucky with catching fish this winter – four times in a row we didn’t catch anything. But today we caught three in ten minutes! We went to our usual fishing spot on Ramfjorden. Paul had lost his faith in fish to such an extent that he took a kite with him for entertainment while I was fishing. At some point I was helping to untangle the lines of his kite, so I gave the fishing line to Paul. Within five minutes he had a bite! A reasonably big cod… I immediately put the line back in the hole, and before I even started fishing I caught one as well, and then another one, though the last one was quite small.

Here’s today’s catch, 2.5 kg in total!

But the fish weren’t the only excitement today… While Paul was fishing, he thought he could hear something squeaking. Initially he thought it was just his hat rubbing on his jacket collar. A bit later he felt something like pins and needles in his leg but concluded that it might be his leg hairs getting caught in his thermals. Then we got a static shock from touching each other, but we blamed my new down jacket which is extremely static. We didn’t really see a pattern here, and we spent some time untangling the kite.

When the kite was ready to be launched, Paul pulled it just half a metre into the air and felt something odd in his arms. Getting a bit worried he came to ask me if I felt okay – which I thought was a strange question. Then we noticed both our hair was a bit static but that’s not uncommon up here. We discussed whether a snow storm could be dangerous for flying a kite, but since we know that lightning in snow storms is very rare up here, we thought it would be alright.

Paul concluded the pins and needles might be caused by some small muscle injury, and had another go at launching the kite. This time it came about 1.5 metres up in the air and he immediately felt something again. This time there was no doubt that it was an electric current – the strongest one he ever felt! We started packing everything as fast as possible as we didn’t feel very safe out there. We didn’t really know what the risk of being struck by lightning was, but as we were the only object on a flat plane, we thought we should move. I also started hearing the buzzing sound, it was quite bizarre and impossible to ignore! Here is a picture of Paul’s hair just before we left…

It’s weird how at first you find excuses for all the strange things happening because you just don’t think about the possibility – until it becomes really obvious and then it all makes sense. A little research on the internet revealed that the buzzing sound and static hair are often experienced by people in the mountains just before thunder storms, some have even reported St Elmo’s fire coming from their ice axes! We vaguely knew about this, but we didn’t think it would happen at sea level in conditions that didn’t seem very extreme.

Anyway, as the worst of the snow storm passed, our hair calmed down and the buzzing sound subsided. Feeling a bit more relaxed, we took some more photos :)

Oh and just to show you what Ramfjorden can be like in much nicer weather, here are some pictures we took at the same place, but last weekend. It was nice and sunny, but much colder – and we didn’t catch anything that time! But at least no risk of being struck by lightning then ;)

Aurora & Moonlight

Last night, an aurora “storm” was expected, and the sky was clear. We decided to dress warm, pack a thermos with hot chocolate (essential!) and find a dark place to watch the show. Apparently the expected “storm” never arrived, but the aurora was out anyway. It was a beautiful night, with a crescent moon low on the horizon. The lights were moving slowly, but every now and then they showed a bit more activity and brightness.

There was very little wind but we were still glad with the shelter of the cabin/shed. It was more like a bus shelter without a real roof and no front wall, but that made it perfect for watching the show! We stayed for about an hour, by then our cold toes were telling us to go home ;)

Ten Minutes

Ten minutes is all it takes to walk from our house to Telegrafbukta, the beach at the south tip of Tromsø island. I love this place – especially in winter when you often have the beach to yourself. If I do meet someone there, he/she is usually carrying a camera as well :) Today I needed some fresh air after work, and I went to the beach to watch the snow showers come in – and the view disappear…

When the snow started falling, I walked home – time for a some hot chocolate on the sofa :) It’s great to live so close to a beach!

We’ve had a lot of snow in the last couples of days, and it keeps falling. Sometimes I long for Summer, but when the sun comes out and all the fresh snow sparkles, that is quickly forgotten!

I will soon upload some pictures of when my brother and his family visited – I took many! It’s been so busy with visitors and working extra shifts in between to compensate for taking time off, I’ve hardly had time for anything. Work is going well though, I really enjoy it. I’m getting towards the end of my training period, and have already done a few shifts on my own. I’ve done 2 radio interviews so far – quite scary but a great experience! For those interested, you can listen back to my second interview (from 2 days ago) here (starting around 42:00 – and stay tuned for one of my favourite songs after the interview!).