Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tromsdalen Valley, Tromso, Norway Photos

The marathon went well overall: running amongst beautiful natural scenery to the south alongside the Tromsøysundet fjord on the mainland; and out to the airport on Tromso island. We started and finished at Tromso city centre’s Storgata, and also ran through it on the way to the airport.

There was great support from people throughout the marathon, with people staying out past midnight in the countryside, and others just going out at the end on Storgata! My time was eleven minutes over 4 hours, which was a little disappointing, but okay.

Tromsdalen Valley Photos

I walked back to the campsite and slept, before going whale-watching again in the evening. On the Monday, my last full day in Tromso, I walked left from the campsite and Tromsdalen centre into the Tromsdalen Valley. There was nobody else there (really, I didn’t see anyone inside the park at all), and it was nice to savour the marathon achievement and end of its training amongst lush nature.

It was a cloudy overcast day, but I really didn’t care. Would it have looked nicer under clear sky and sunshine, I don’t know. It would have looked different, but the brooding atmosphere seemed to suit the valley, and my reflective Monday morning mood.

Here’s some photos:

Tromsdalen Valley Waterfalls

Dog-walking Sign

Tromsdalen Valley

Looking back down the valley, with Tromso island in the distance.

Isolated House

Tromsdalstinden End of Valley

Reaching Tromsdalstinden I stood in awe on the marshy ground. I watched a few birds fly onto the water, and imagined the people who’d stood there before; and wondered what they imagined.

There was no way up Tromsdalstinden, but the valley hill looked inviting, so I walked upwards, into the clouds…

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

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Tromso Whale-Watching Photos

On the 2007 Tromso Midnight Sun marathon eve I went whale watching. The streets of Tromso were flying marathon flags. The Cetacea was a nice boat, with seating inside and plenty of room on the deck for viewing. We passed some musk oxen living on Ryoya island and saw sea eagles, before leaving the fjord and sheer cliffs of Senja behind to sail out to sea. Puffins flew low alongside the ship.

The first time we only saw a distant whale (referring to distance rather than mental attitude), so they offered us another voyage for free. So I sailed again after the marathon. The second time we saw a sperm whale’s tailfin up close, as it dove to the depths, which was both thrilling and touching. So, all in all, it was certainly worth the money.

Tromso Whale-Watching Photos

Here’s some photos. Not many wildlife ones I’m afraid!:

 

Drinking Mack Beer in Tromso, Norway

On my second day in Tromso for the 2007 Midnight Sun Marathon I returned to Tromsoya island over the bridge, and looked back at the cathedral, Tromsdalen and Tromsdalstinden mountain [1,238 metres (4,062 ft)]. at its eastern end. At the end of my time in Tromso I would walk to the foot of the mountain, and stand with awe under its quiet natural beauty.

Tromso Bridge, Cathedral and Tromsdalstinden Photo

I took this photo from Tromso bridge, sticking my right arm out as far as possible to get the curve of the bridge leading to the Arctic Cathedral.

Drinking Mack Beer in Tromso

With the beer a little expensive and my marathon looming I only had the one Mack beer in the historic old bar Olhallen, which was also the cheapest place to drink I think. Mack does say it is the most northern brewery in the world, so it was a good excuse to drink a nice beer.

Tromso Docks Waterfront

Tromso docks waterfront offers great views of the Tromsdalen mainland from jetties backed by colourful buildings.

On and Under Tromso Bridge

There are great views north (first photo below) and south (second photo) of the Tromsøysundet waterway and mountains from Tromso bridge. In the first photo the mountains are on Kvaloya island, and in the second they are on Senja island. The Tromso municipality’s main island of Tromsoya is in the middle of the two.

On the Tromsdalen side the E8 road runs underneath. It reminded me of the Pink Floyd marching hammers.

Gerald Scarfe artwork

Returning to Nature

Returning to the campsite, these trees reminded me of the grey bridge structure. Between the trees is one of the Tromsdalen valley’s many waterfalls, surrounded by pristine forest.

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Tromso Norway Arrival for Midnight Sun Marathon

My previous trip to Cuba in 2009 was to Tromso in Norway to run in the 2007 Midnight Sun Marathon.

Tromso, Norway

I had clear sky for my June flight to Oslo and then a couple of hours later another one up over the Arctic Circle boundary to Tromso on Norway’s wild rugged west coast.

The blue sky provided great views of the southern Norway coast, and then up over forests and lakes above Oslo to the snow-capped peaks in the north of Norway and Sweden… as we flew over both countries.

Then we veered west, and I was glad I took online advice to sit on the left for the flight to Tromso, as there were great views of the coast, islands and fjords around the airport.

I walked the 7km (4-5 miles) from the airport to the campsite on the Tromsdalen mainland, passing Lake Prestvannet in the middle of the island on the way. I set my tent up just across from a stream, with lots of trees all around, and mountains rising up behind.

Tromso Photos

I also passed the award-winning architecture of the Tromso cathedral, just across the bridge on the mainland:

This photo is from the mainland looking back at Tromso island and the vertiginous peaks of the Senja coastline in the distance:

The campsite is situated the other side of this water inlet, at the entrance to the Tromsdalen Valley:

Looking back at Tromso island from the bridge across the water:

The never-setting sun over Tromso island:

I walked north on the mainland, and this was looking back at the bridge linking Tromso island with the mainland, with the Senja island mountains in the distance:

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Santa Clara Train to Havana, Cuba Videos

I ended my 2009 Cuba trip in Santa Clara, before a nervous wait for a train to Havana, as detailed in my Cuba Go Nomad article. The article  also confirms that I travelled to Trinidad and then Cienfuegos, which I was a little mixed up about while rushing the previous two blogs out. The two cities are close together.

Santa Clara, Cuba

My camera batteries had completely gone in Santa Clara, so there’s no photos. I visited Che Guevara’s mausoleum and memorial square, climbed a hill for a panoramic view of the city, sat in the colonial central square (Parque Vidal) and visited the railway museum scene of an ambush by Cuban revolutionaries on a government train.

It was one of Che’s most famous moments as a military leader, in an assault on the city he shared with Camilo Cienfuegos.

My camera batteries might have lasted until the end of the trip if I hadn’t filmed these three videos earlier in the trip, excited by walking along Havana’s Malecon seafront and the mogotes and vultures of Vinales. C’est la vie!

Havana and Vinales Videos