Ali had read somewhere that you could see the Aurora Borealis from Scotland, however, after some investigating while we were in Ireland we discovered that the conditions have to be perfect for that to happen. We did not have a high level of confidence in this and decided to go somewhere we had a better chance of seeing it—somewhere in the Arctic Circle. We tried to go to Finland but it wasn’t working, so Tromsø, Norway was the winner.
We weren’t planning on a trip to the Arctic Circle, so we didn’t really have the clothes for it. We headed to the Irish equivalent of a Target and got gloves, hats, warmer socks, tights, scarves, and I also got a cheap down coat. After leaving most of our luggage in Ireland, we headed onto our Arctic adventure.
When we arrived it turned out that they had had a warm fall and there wasn’t much snow around, so we wouldn’t be doing any sledding this trip. We did make reservations to head out to see the Aurora our first full day there—it turned out to be the only clear sunny day the whole trip. We were picked up at our hotel along with a couple from Italy, a couple from Australia, 2 guys from Belgium, and 3 guys from Spain who didn’t speak english. Our guide/photographer was Alessandro—an Italian now living in Norway. We left at 7pm and would be back around 1-1:30am.
The first stop we were at for about 30 minutes and nothing was happening—and boy was I glad we had bought the extra clothing in Ireland. It was cold up in the mountains and snow on the ground. The night was extremely clear and beautiful and the moon was full and glowing brightly. Alessandro let us know that such a full moon wasn’t a good thing because it could make the Aurora difficult to see. Onward to the second location which was by a stream and again very beautiful. We were standing around and one of the Belgiums (argh! I can’t remember their names now) said something about “Bring in the Clowns” and then he and Ali started singing the song. We had a laugh, but right after that suddenly it looked like someone took a paint brush and put the first stroke on the canvas. I sounded like a 5-year-old I was so excited. LOL.
We were there for about an hour and a half watching this play out all over the sky. It moved around, it swooshed and it danced, it was everywhere—right, left, front, back, and even straight up. The Aurora was not going to let a full moon stop its show. Alessandro was running around taking pictures yelling “woohoo” so we knew we were seeing something special.
We eventually piled in the van and headed back with one more brief stop when it came back out for a moment on our way back. We were contemplative and talkative on the way back—just really trying to burn the images in our brains so we wouldn’t forget.
To anyone who has ever wanted to see this—do it, go see this, now, seriously go make reservations now! You don’t have to go to Norway—you can go to Canada or Alaska—just make sure you are far north enough, and research where and when to go to have the best chance to see the lights.