Norway 2011: Midnight Sun at the Arctic Cathedral

I sat with the bus timetable for quite a long time, debating what time to go up the mountain.

I eventually settled on the 22.22 and went down to the main square to wait for it. Despite everthing I’d been told, the bus driver does not sell cable car tickets. We had a quick five minute hop over the bridge, then a quick trip around the houses on the other side and the driver stopped at the cable car and I jumped off.

The first problem was figuring out how to get in. I went to where there were people standing around (discussing how trees are made of aspirin) but there didn’t seem to be anywhere that sold tickets. I asked them. They said they had no idea because they’d been up there for dinner as part of a tour and hadn’t had to buy tickets. They also seemed surprised that someone should want to go up the mountain so late at night.

I went round the other side of the building and found the ticket man. He sold me a ticket and two minutes later, I was in a cable car.

Unsurprisingly, it was freezing at the top. It’s almost as far north as the European mainland goes, it’s nearly eleven at night, on a wet and windy night and I’m up a mountain. The view was great, right over Tromso Island, there’s the airport, there’s the arctic mountains in the background, there’s a faint glow where the sun would be if it wasn’t so cloudy.

I did not stay up there for an hour and a half. I took the next cable car back down where I discovered it’s surprisingly warm back on the ground. The next bus wasn’t for nearly half an hour, so I decided to do the ten minute walk back to the Arctic Cathedral and decide from there.

When I reached the Arctic Cathedral, I discovered that the clouds were thinning out. There were patches of blue sky. I decided to wait the forty minutes until midnight there and see the sun. The Hurtigrute boat was coming in and so I got to see it coming under the bridge.

The blue sky gradually appeared nearer and nearer the sun. I took regular photos. At midnight, it was unfortunately hidden by clouds a bit but I did see a lovely Midnight Light in the Sky. And I got a magnificent photo of the Ten To Midnight Sun.

There are summer concerts in the cathedral so at midnight on the dot, it emptied out and I was suddenly surrounded by people also taking photos of the glowing sky. Then a bus turned up containing lots of people for an unadvertised midnight concert. There were dozens of people walking across the bridge, under the bright light. The idea of walking back at midnight is a lot less scary at midnight than it is when you think about it during the day.

I waited, hoping the sun would reemerge and I could get a Ten Past Midnight Sun photo but it didn’t, so I headed back. Odd how that bridge seemed so scary on Sunday and it’s now very normal to walk across it. It’s 1,036 metres long and I’ve walked across it in various directions five times now. That’s 3.2 miles I’ve walked over that bridge in the last two days. I got back at about 00:45 and went to bed.

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