December 18, 2016
Green and pink dreams morph into orange and green; this must be the most cheery breakfast room I’ve eaten in. We take a cab to the train station and then a train to the airport. RP’s is on the flight after ours, but he decides to come with us anyway, because you never know with airports. We are flying SAS this time. We have to check ourselves in, get baggage tags from the kiosk and check our bags in ourselves as well. RP’s done with his, but our tickets just won’t read. Then RP says “Hey, I’m not on the next flight. My flight’s at 11:45.” The husband is sure that’s not possible. He is positive that RP is flight is after ours. Since RP has his boarding card, with the time printed on it in his hand, it can mean only one thing. We missed our flight.
I can’t say if it was the holiday spirit or the lipstick magic or if it really just our lucky day as the customer service agent put it, SAS accommodated us on the another flight free of charge.
We reach Tromso close to four in the afternoon. It’s dark as midnight. We check-in at the Thon Polar and head out to look for tours. The Northern Lights tours are cancelled due to cloudy skies. There is no availability for dog sledding and it’s too cold to go whale watching. What do we do? We go get pizza at Pepe’s. This seems to be a popular option; we see it everywhere. At $16 a pizza it sure is expensive and no way gourmet, but it’s good and we are on vacation. Some food, some wine and some research cools my irate mind. We will go reindeer petting and try our hands at riding snow mobiles tomorrow. Tomorrow night, weather willing, we will go chase those lights out. We have found a company that still has spots open for dog sledding the day after and tonight – tonight we are going for what promises to be a mesmerizing midnight mass at the Arctic Cathedral.
We take a bus to the cathedral and are there a little before midnight. Architect Jan Inge Hovig’s masterpiece is unlike any church or cathedral I have seen before. The form seems to mimic the majestic mountains in the background. In front, the tiny city of Tromso flickers across the water. We are awed. We pick our way up the slippery slope, expecting to be swept away by moving Norwegian folk songs and traditional hymns in a sublime candlelight atmosphere. We try the door. It is locked. We knock and we try again with no avail. After a quick round of consultation we shuffle around to the back. Here we meet the artist Victor Sparre’s interpretation of the building’s soul – a fantastic glass mosaic depicting his vision of the return of Christ. There seems to be no activity anywhere in or around the cathedral. Another quick consultation, this time with google shows us that the midnight concert happened at eight p.m. We are disappointed, but the views from up here some what make up for it. We decide to walk across the bridge, back to our hotel. A midnight walk over the Arctic Ocean -what a way to end the day!