Sunday, 24 January 2016


Last Thursday, 21 January, was soldagen, the day that the sun comes back to the centre of Tromsø, after an absence of 2 months. I didn't see the sun that day, it didn't quite reach the university area, which is 3 km north of the city centre. But we did get 'solboller', a type of donut, and hot chocolate at work to celebrate soldagen. I always thought that this was a tradition in all of northern Norway where the sun disappears in the winter, but I recently read that it is actually a Tromsø tradition. Today we did see the sun, finally after 2 months (not counting the 2 weeks in Italy and Gran Canaria in December). I am glad it is back!

Afgelopen donderdag, 21 januari, was het hier soldagen, de dag dat de zon weer terug is in het centrum van Tromsø, na 2 maanden weg te zijn geweest. Ik heb die dag de zon niet gezien, het bereikte niet de universiteit dat 3 km ten noorden van het centrum ligt. Maar we kregen wel 'solboller', een soort donut, en warme chocolademelk op werk om de soldagen te vieren. I dacht altijd dat dit een traditie was in heel noord Noorwegen waar de zon 's winters verdwijnt, maar het schijnt een Tromsø traditie te zijn. Vandaag hebben wij ook de zon weer gezien, eindelijk naar 2 maanden (dan tel ik de 2 weken in Italië en Gran Canaria niet mee). Welkom terug zon!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Whale watching

There are still a lot of whales around Tromsø. Today we drove out to Brensholmen where we saw many orcas, and several fin whales and humpback whales. Every now and then they would swim very close to the shore. We saw baby orcas jump right out of the water and several whales breaching, but I didn't manage to catch these on film. The photos below are all taken from land.

Saturday, 2 January 2016


We rented a simple hut at Molnes just outside Tromsø for 2 days around Christmas. The hut is in Kaldfjorden where there are a lot of whales during November-December, so we were hoping to see some of them. It is about 3 km walking/padling/rowing to get to the hut. The previous renters had left the rowing boat at the hut as the weather was too bad to row it back at the time. We had hoped to be able to row the boat back, but the weather forecast was pretty bad so we decided to just walk in and out. The weather forecast was right and the weather was pretty bad, with strong winds both days and a snow storm when we walked out. But we did hear and see some whales: the humpback whales stayed in the distance, unfortunately, but a group of 9 orcas swam right in front of the hut. No photos of them, unfortunately, the light was very dim.

Gran Canaria

It is always nice to break up the long dark winter with a trip down south to catch up on some sunshine and vitamin D. This year we decided on a short hiking holiday in the mountains of Gran Canaria. We chose the easy way and booked an organised trip with SNP where the hotels and baggage transport were all arranged, so we just had to follow the route descriptions and walk from hotel to hotel. They had chosen some very nice small rural hotels, all transport was perfectly organised and the walks were varied and mostly along quiet mountain trails. So a good experience. And the weather was perfect all week, sunny and about 20-25˙C. 

The first 2 nights were in the northwestern part of the island with a walk in the steep coastal mountains and down to a rocky beach.

On the third day we walked to the next hotel, which was located in Tejeda, a beautiful village high up in the mountains. We stayed here for 3 nights and made day walks in the area.

View from our hotel room in Tejeda

One of the days we walked up from Tejeda to Roque Nublo, an interesting and very popular rock formation on top of the mountains. It is possible to drive to within half an hour walk from the rock, so it was busy around the rock itself, but the rest of the walk was along beautiful and quiet trails.

Roque Nublo

On day 6 it was time to walk to the third and last hotel of our trip, near Vega de San Mateo on the northeastern slope of the mountains. This was a long walk via the highest peak of Gran Canaria, Pico de las Nieves. It was a rather hot day, but quite clear and with fantastic views towards the neighbouring island Tenerife.

View from close to Pico de las Nieves towards Roque Nublo, with Tenerife seemingly floating in the air.

The northeast is the wetter part of Gran Canaria and there is therefore more terraced farming. The vegetation is also clearly different with more flowers attracting butterflies.

On the last day we walked down to the village Vega de San Mateo to do our 'souvenir' shopping on the local market, and enjoyed a last coffee and lunch in the sunshine before returning back to the dark north the following day.

Hotel garden outside our room