Tromso was traditionally the jumping off point for Arctic expeditions and, more recently, home to one of the world’s most northerly marathons, although I am sure that the biting winds take the edge off the attraction of running at midnight in the arctic sunshine.
It’s worth saying about MSC Cruises that they have an air of the chaotic about their organization. This morning there were lots of people leaving the ship for the 4km shuttle bus ride into town (at a frankly annoying cost of €16 per person), along with a number of organized tours and people walking. However, they had everyone leaving by a very narrow gate meaning lots of pushing, shoving and grumpiness. It would be very easy to make things more efficient. This is matched and indeed beaten by the procedure for getting back on the boat when mostly we are left outside in the pouring rain as the incredibly slow re-entry security is administered. Annoying.
Tromso itself promises quite a lot and the scenery around the town (when visible) is quite spectacular. On the day we visit it is cold and windy with barely 5 minutes without rain. The challenge with being on a cruise ship is that the whole ships descends on a relatively small town meaning the tourist attractions are overrun. The bad weather only adds to the ‘problem’. We’ve learnt another lesson.
We take a stroll to the arctic church and take photos from a distance – it’s pretty impressive. We then walk on to the cable car. Having seen and ridden so many cable cars in our lives we’re not tempted to join the queue to ride to the top and given the weather conditions we’re not expecting to see much.
We walk back across the bridge and into town. It starts raining again so we take a relatively early bus back to the ship. On reflection Tromso is not a hugely impressive town, there are some nice buildings but it comes across as being a little industrial with the tourism more a bolt on than an integral part of the experience.
Having come so far north we’re now heading south again and our next stop is 650 nautical miles south meaning another day at sea tomorrow. The range of entertainment on the ship and the cold weather outside means that days at sea are less than interesting but we’re still learning our way in the world of cruises.