Have you ever been to a place and just fallen in love with it? Like, wandering through the streets, looking around at the unique architecture and distant mountains? I have. Earlier this year I traveled to Tromsø, Norway, a town situated in Northern Norway right smack in the middle of the Arctic Circle.
I fell in love with Tromsø.
The buildings were like skittles dotted against a grey sky. Bright greens, blues, reds, and yellows gave life to the icy world. All of the buildings had steep roofs to allow the snow to topple off the sides.
I remember first walking into Tromsø being blown away by the mountains rising quickly out of the water.
I was walking down the street trying to keep my footing on the ice while taking in the scenery around me. I was blown away. My mouth hung wide open in shock and awe at such a fantastic place.
As I came to the end of the sidewalk, I noticed the building to my right gave way to an alley. Down the alley I could see the mountains shooting into the sky. Seeing as how I love mountains, I kept my eye too long on them and not where I was going. I stepped off the curb and onto a patch of six. My legs flew into the air above my head. A very loud, “AAAHHHH SH***!!!” flew from my mouth. And my right hip cam crashing down on the pavement. I kinda laid there for a moment moaning praying that nothing was broken. Across the street, I could see people staring at me with looks of slight concern as well as smirks spreading across their lips. I said a pain, “I’m okay!” I got up and continued on through the town looking for the hostel.
After settling into the hostel and getting a MUCH deserved shower, I headed back into town to explore more of Tromsø. I met up with a girl who I’d met on Tumblr. Crazy I know! She lived in Tromsø and wanted to show me around the city. Oda (pronounced “oo-da”) was a beautiful, loud, Sami girl with long curly blonde hair. She walked me around the streets of her hometown explaining the ins and outs of life in Tromsø.
While wandering around, we came upon a reindeer race. Never in my life had I thought I would see a reindeer race. It never even occurred to me that you could race them! I mean, looking back on it now, it makes total sense, but at the time, I was nothing short of shocked. ANYWAYS, we paid the small entrance fee and found a spot along the railing to watch the excitement.
First thing you should know about reindeer is that they are small. I mean, tiny woodland creatures! Y’all, I grew up in Southern America where there are no reindeer or moose or elk or any big four legged antler game aside from deer. The idea of reindeer pulling a sleigh I guess put in my head that they would be big creatures, like a moose or something. I imagined giant hoofs and dark coats stomping around. But nope! They’re about the size of a doe, maybe a bit smaller, definitely have a thicker coat which makes them look fatter and not as lean as a deer.
The racers paraded the reindeer down the runway for all to see the glorious animals. One reindeer stood on its hind legs and kicked the handler in the face! Instantly, his eye swelled shut and his nose gushed blood. Another handler had to walk the reindeer the remaining length of the runway. Calling out each of the names of the reindeer and the riders, the announcer built the excitement for the hundreds of onlookers.
Two at a time, the reindeer raced each other. Speeding down the track lightening fast, the reindeer pulled the men behind them on skies. They shot past us in the blink of an eye, and if you were paying attention, you’d miss it. Zoom after zoom the reindeer raced each other until one reindeer out raced them all. At the end of the track, one reindeer won the contest and the excitement was over.
Check back next week for TBT Part 2 of my stay in Tromsø. May have something to do with a dog sledge, the Northern Lights, Skiing, and Sami food!