Alta, northern lights and birthday in Norway

The city of Alta is the capital of a municipality in northern Norway, in the province of Finnmark. Situated on the shores of the Altafjord, at the mouth of the Altaelva River. Geographical coordinates 69°58′N 23°18′E, so it lies above the Arctic Circle. The sun does not set between May 16 and July 26, and does not rise between November 24 and January 18. During the polar night you can observe the Northern Lights in the sky .

– Hi what are you doing in february
“Um… Exactly when?”
“Remember, I wanted to see the Northern Lights for my round birthday. I found cheap tickets to Alta. Will there be aurora?
“Of course I remember. Yes when?
– February 10-14
– Approx. I’m coming back from Iceland on the 9th. We fly.

And so the young, unpretentious ladies found themselves in northern Norway to celebrate their round birthday and be able to see the Northern Lights.

Departure from Modlin to Gdańsk, then Gdańsk – Oslo. Everything went like butter. Until…
In Oslo, we stayed overnight in a hostel near the airport where I stayed last year when I was flying to Spitsbergen. Familiar place, reservation made, what could happen? The hostel greeted us with a sign on the door in Norwegian, something, something “CONTEST”. Everything is open, no one at the reception. We got stuck in the kitchen. Maybe they’re watching the jumps… After a long moment of wondering if something was wrong, a nice gentleman appeared who explained to us that “COMPETIT” in Norwegian literally means FAILURE. We had our jaws on the ground… But how? Why? We have a reservation. What now???

Well, there are worse situations… but here in Norway? After many conversations with the “residents” of the hostel and the broker, we had a roof over our heads in this hostel for one night. We found an open room, clean sheets, coffee, tea, everything you could possibly need. Radiators, electricity and hot water have not been turned off, only WiFi is missing. All inclusive self service.

In the late evening, a few people in a similar situation also looked for free rooms, and then we all sat in the kitchen, talking until almost morning. Almost, because we had a flight in the morning and had to take a nap at least for a while.

Day 1 – temp. -2°C

Alta – The landing itself is a surprise and a great experience for some. Water, water, water, oh! Runway, pop, hard braking, stop, oh! end of runway… Standard airport. From the plane to the tarmac, taking care not to slip and to the terminal.

We had booked an apartment with Airbnb, about 3.5 km from the airport. We chose to walk and it was a very good decision. It began to clear. Upon arrival, we literally collapsed. Another sleepless night was already hard, for me it was already the sixth … In the evening there were very ambitious plans to go to the city, unfortunately the snow thwarted the plans. Fortunately, in the evening for literally 40 minutes it was starlit, and then it started to snow so that in the morning we could not open the door of our apartment.

Day 2 – temp. -5°C

Late rise around 10:00, several attempts to open the buried door and into the city.15 minutes walk to the center among snow corridors.

Alta is a tiny city. 1/10 Tromso if anyone has been. The center itself consists of several streets, a shopping center with 3 hotels, tourist information. You can get around everything in 30 minutes. Peace and quiet, no tourists.
In Rema1000 we did basic shopping – bread. In the information we booked a dog sledding tour 4:30-7:30 pm the next day.

In the evening, we saved money at the hostel and went to a restaurant (!) in the city center to try some local dishes. I chose Grilled Stockfish, my best friend has reindeer fillets. I recommend it, it’s worth saving and spending on this great food in a portion like for a strong man.

This day ended with the fulfillment of my bestie’s birthday dream. The sky cleared up and you could scream and jump for joy. The most beautiful birthday present imaginable. Happy birthday!!! Happy birthday!!!

Day 3 – temp. -11°C

Skis, skis, skis. We couldn’t resist. The slope is about 20 km from the city. The bus arrives almost 1.5 km from the slope. A lady working on the slope drove up to our house and took us directly. The transport fee is a bit higher in both directions, but you don’t have to go to the center for the bus and then from the bus stop to the slope. The same with driving home, no problems, at the agreed time. Skis and everything can be rented on site. 1 T-bar lift, 4 routes, amazing views! I’ve been skiing in Austria and Italy many times, but I’ve never skied among breathtaking views! Perfect snow and no people.

After returning from the slopes, a quick dinner – soup and a sandwich and a run to the center. We are supposed to be at the hotel at 16:30 – we’re going dog-walking. We jump into the car with a couple of Asians. The car takes us out of town. We are. Short sleigh training, wearing special clothes – it didn’t apply to us. Each couple got cards with the names of the dogs and the size of the harness. Saying hello, dressing the dogs, attaching to the sleigh (?). In addition – loving, cuddling, stroking, love itself.

Beloved quadrupeds had only to be put in a harness and they already knew what was going to happen, they were incredibly happy. One person drives the sleigh, the other sits in it, swapping halfway. We were the penultimate team, behind us only the lady “closing” the group. Twice we fell into a snowdrift and had to pull out the sleigh, which meant that we were left alone – the group went on without us. There’s nothing like getting lost on an organized trip… A bit confused, we let the dogs loose, which flawlessly led us home. We only turned around every now and then Is your babysitter still behind us? We arrived first, the group a few minutes after us. However, we had time to further integrate with the quadrupeds.

The evening ended with a bonfire, cookies and hot tea. The owner of the kennel told about her 52 dogs, dogs that win 6-day trips over 1000 km!!! And after 5 minutes on the sleigh I had the feeling that I was tormenting these creatures…

Day 4 – temp. -6°C

Back home… Alta-Oslo flight in the morning. Fortunately, it was downhill to the airport, and unfortunately it cleared up. Yes, it was snowing all night, 100% cloud cover… I love plane starts in northern Norway, only here I happen to do a 180° turn right after taking off from the runway… People on the plane go crazy.

We land in Oslo Gardermoen, have a moment for coffee and change trains – we have to get to Oslo Torp. As the trip began with adventures, so must it end … We reach the center of Oslo and here the train journey ends. They modernize the tracks, change to a bus. By bus to Holmestrand – 1.5 hours, a bit of traffic jam – the accident was right in front of us. The “informants” assured us that everything would go smoothly and calmly, that the bus would take us to the next train, that the train would be waiting for us. So it was. Another 30 minutes by train, another change to the bus, phew we are at Oslo Torp airport … Only 4 hours of waiting for the plane, 1.5 hours of flight and home again … Getting ready for another trip …

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