Part Two~Tromso and The Hurtigruten
So, last night we ate the reindeer, this morning...we played with them. Well, not all of us played with them; the dads and the kids played. The moms organized suitcases and explored the town. Organized the suitcases you ask? Yes, we were living out of suitcases and getting ready to live in very small quarters. It was important that we had long underwear, gloves, hats and fleeces, all dry and ready to go when needed. Okay, maybe organizing the suitcases was an excuse for us to "re-group" before the really cold, sleepless portion of our trip began.
As we "re-grouped" the other half of our group had an amazing day getting to know the reindeer of Norway. Tromso Friluftsenter took the group on a wonderful reindeer sleigh ride near the Norwegian Fjords.
They learned about the reindeer, how they have webbed feet so that they can swim, and the Sami people of Norway. After a peaceful ride, they enjoyed a meal in a Sami tent and played near the Fjords.
Once they were back it was time for the portion of our adventure that I had been the most hesitant about. The cruise! We wheeled our suitcases towards the port, all very curious as to what the Hurtigruten had in store for us.
I personally was convinced that this ship would take me directly to the Northern Lights as thus far they had eluded us. Boarding was an easy, organized process and we were given our cabins. As I glanced at the 2 packets that I held in my hand, I noticed that my husband and I were on the 5th floor, while the two younger expats were on the 2nd. Ohhhh, this was so not going to work. Anyone who knows my youngest expat knows that he has NO FEAR. He will climb the tallest of play structures, and then jump off, resulting in a broken arm. He will run around a wet swimming pool deck, slip and fall and bite THROUGH his tongue...he is fearless and I had fears of him playing the "king of the world" roll made famous by Leonardo Dicaprio and falling into the cold, frozen Fjord, and us being non the wiser. So, back up to the reception desk, I went...
"Hi, we need two cabins next to each other please." I stated as I handed her my envelopes.
"Oh, I'm sorry, we don't have two cabins next to each other." She responded, completely unaware of just how serious I was.
"No, really...this is NON-NEGOTIABLE." I stated firmly. Then I went on to explain the antics that my youngest was capable of and that it probably wouldn't be very good when they had to turn the boat around at 2AM, because the child playing "Jack" from the movie Titanic had fallen overboard!
"No problem, here are two rooms next to one another!" She said as she realized that I was probably right. By the way, thank you to the staff of the Hurtigruten for being so understanding and accommodating.
Off we went. We all got settled in our cabins and meet at our agreed time with our contraband. Contraband you ask? Yes, contraband...
For you see, we had discovered that alcohol in Norway was extremely expensive, so we were now pouring the wine that we had purchased in Duty Free into our "travel cups" and sneaking it around the boat and oh yea, into the restaurant. And we had been told on more than one occasion that we shouldn't be doing this. Boy, between demanding a room change and demanding or should I say providing our own alcohol we were setting the theme for the trip...It was "non-negotiable".
The first night on the ship was fun and easy. As the kids explored the ship, I continually went outside to see if the Northern Lights were visible. Nothing yet and I must say, I was beginning to get a bit disappointed! So after an amazing dinner of Arctic Char and wine out of a soda can we decided to turn in for the night. I was amazingly surprised at how calm the boat was. No seasickness for me! But, before I turned in, I had to give it one more shot; I went outside! It was cold, cold and windy and as I stared at the overcast sky, and it began to snow, I realize that I would have to continue my search for the Northern Lights...oh and surprise, surprise I did run into the youngest expat in the hallway!