Sunday, 21 August 2016

More summer days - Saana, Kjølen and Ullstinden

We just had a beautiful sunny and warm week with temperatures over 20 degrees C. After a rather cold day out in the field at a mine site in northern Finland on Monday, the weather cleared up when I drove back to Tromsø on Tuesday, so I stopped for a break and a walk up one of Finland's highest mountains, Saana, with Finland's longest stairs and great views from the top.





On Thursday I walked up one of our local mountains, Kjølen. It can be very cold and windy up here as I described in previous blog posts, but this time it was shorts and T-shirt weather all the way. Kjølen has some good views back to Tromsø, but also westwards towards the outer island and the Atlantic ocean.

And today, Saturday, the last day with good weather for the moment according to the weather forecasts (they were right, it is raining right now), we finally walked up Ullstinden. Ullstinden is one of our favourite ski mountains and we have been up here quite a few times in winter, but never yet in summer. The walk itself is not that special, but the views from the top are fantastic. With the Lyngen Alps across Ullsfjorden to the east, and the mountains on the islands Ringvassøya and Reinøya across Grøtsundet to the west.





Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Summer in Tromsø - Sollidalsaksla and Nonsbu

After a sunny and warm week it is now full on summer in Tromsø. The snow on the mountains is melting fast and there are lots of flowers everywhere. Good timing for fieldwork, although the 2 days that I was out in the field last week it was rather hot. Last Friday we went on a beautiful late night walk through Sollidalen to Sollidalsaksla, starting in the southern suburbs of Tromsø. We have often been up in these mountains, but we had never gone up through this valley. I am glad we have now discovered this route: a very good track through nice forest and a beautiful and quiet valley. Much nicer than going up through busy Tromsdalen or via Fjellheisen, so I am sure we will come back here.


Sollidalen

Looking towards Hamperokken


Looking west to Straumsfjorden

Remains of an old road going to the Djupdalen mines, where they tried to mine iron ore in the early 20th century.


Walking down in the beautiful soft light of the midnight sun


After spending most of Saturday painting the house, we made another evening walk on Sunday. This time a round trip via Nonsbu, Blåkollkøia and Tønsvikdalen. The original plan was to continue up to Nonstinden from Nonsbu, but the weather wasn't as good as we hoped, so we will have to come back another time.



Looking back to Nonsbu, with Nonstinden to the right.

Brief taste of summer in May

We had a beautiful warm sunny weekend at the end of May, but after that it got cold again in the first couple of weeks in June. We spent the warm weekend relaxing in Dividalen: we found a nice camp spot a couple of kilometres from the end of the road and spent half the day reading books and listening to the birds and the nearby river. Lazy, but very nice!




Below a few photos from a short trip up Skorelvfjellet, not far from Tromsø, in the middle of June. It was nice when we started, but once we got up to the ridge it felt more like winter. A fair bit of snow around and the lake was still half frozen. Still, there were quite a few alpine flowers even high up on the ridge.




Friday, 27 May 2016

Tromtinden

The snow is melting fast now, it is starting to get nice and green along the coast and the midnight sun is back. The weather forecast for this coming weekend is excellent with sun and 16-20 C temperatures. Even though there is still a fair bit of snow higher up, the time for mountain hiking has started for us. Last Sunday was also warm and sunny and we went for an evening hike up Tromtinden, a hill on the western side of Kvaløya with fantastic views out to the ocean and a range of smaller islands. The last time that we were up here, it was grey and cold, but this time the weather was perfect and we enjoyed having our dinner on the top. We were the only ones on this top, but it was more crowded on some of the neighbouring peaks.







Nearly midnight sun

Monday, 16 May 2016

Prague

After an interesting and busy conference in Prague, we had a day and a half for some sightseeing. We mostly just walked around, visited several of the main tourist sites, found a couple of great viewpoints and sampled some of the many excellent cafés and restaurants. The weather was perfect most of the week and it was very enjoyable to be able to sit outside for lunch and dinner, particularly now the cold has returned to Tromsø. It is easy to see why Prague is so popular with tourists, it is a beautiful, friendly and clean city with lots of good coffee and food. I particularly enjoyed the early morning Náplavka farmer's market along the river, the views from the tower of the Old Town Hall and the Petrín gardens, and the excellent food in the Estrella vegetarian restaurant.

St Peter and Paul Basilica in Vysehrad

We joined lots of tourists waiting for the apostles to show in the astronomical clock at the old town hall

This is what we were all waiting for, the apostles showing in the windows above the clock

Old market square with the old town hall

The tower of the Old Town Hall gives not only a great view over the city centre, it also makes it possible to 'spy' on all the people below: street artists, Hara Krishna parade, stag party groups, and of course lots of tourists. Here a few photos from the tower.

Old Market Square and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn

Singing Hara Krishna

The soap bubbles were very popular with the children


In the evening we watched a show at one of the black light theatres. Afterwards they showed their 'secrets'.

Prague by night: the gothic Powder Tower

The next day we started at the Náplavka farmer's market along the river, where we gathered our breakfast from some of the market stalls, good coffee, crepe with lemon and a sausage roll. We continued our walk across the river to Petrín garden where we walked up to the view tower and monastery at the top of the hill. A visit to Prague castle and it's huge St Vitus cathedral is of course compulsory, even though the cathedral was closed unfortunately. Then on to Letenska park with it's large metronome, and back across the river to the old city centre, the Jewish quarters, afternoon coffee and an excellent meal in Estrella restaurant.

Náplavka farmer's market

Memorial for the victims of communism

View over the centre of Prague and the Vltava river from Petrín park

Prague castle and St Vitus cathedral

St Vitus cathedral


Saturday, 26 March 2016

More winter images from Tromsø - March

March brought more days with good weather and fresh powder snow and below is a selection of photos from some of the ski tours. The first 2 are from a popular ski trip to the little hut Nonsbu. It is an easy track through hilly terrain and it is a nice tour all year round either on ski, foot or bicycle.


The next photo is a view towards Nordtinden from Kjølen. The weather was quite variable that day with several snow showers, and, as usual on Kjølen, it was pretty cold and windy at the top.

And last Thursday, we finally made it to Fugltinden in Malangen. Fugltinden is quite a distinctive mountain visible from the E8, the main road to Tromsø, and I had long wanted to go there. It is, however, more than an hour drive from Tromsø, so we often end up going to the more local mountains instead. It was a beautiful trip with great views all around from the top. And with good snow it was fun skiing down. Now we will have to come back to see what it looks like in summer.





Beautiful halo around the sun, photo taken by Tony.