Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Tromsø is great!

I certainly want to come back to Tromsø again.

I called ahead to book a room at the Fjellheim Sommerhotel because I didn't know what kind of city I was coming into. The city is mostly on an island sandwiched in the middle of the strait between the mountains on the larger islands on either side, and I was somewhat hampered by not having any kind of map or guide with me.

It was also late when I got to the outskirts of the city - 10 pm or so - because I'd missed the earlier connecting ferry between Senja and Brensholmen on the 862 and had to wait for the 15:45 sailing.

As I mentioned previously, the stretch between Brensholmen and Tromsø isn't particularly long, but there are big hills to climb and the headwind made things hard for me.

I crossed a very tall and exposed bridge on the north side of the city (wind 10 m/s here) on a cycle lane away from the main traffic, and followed this cycle lane in a generally westerly direction around the island, passing the airport and then not much else - but I couldn't see how bicycles could use the busy road tunnels into the center. So after fifteen minutes of uncertain riding with the sea on my right and forests on my left, and pretty convinced that I was now completely wrong to follow the cycle route, I stopped to ask for directions at a hotel near the Tromsø Folk Museum, and discovered to my surprise that I was only two streets or so away from the hotel on Mellomsveien, which connects the museum district in the suburbs with the town center. So Tromsø turns out to mostly wooded on its west side, and much smaller than I was expecting, given that it is apparently the ninth largest urban conurbation in Norway.

A few minutes later I was enjoying a scalding hot shower and the luxury of having a big room with fresh white bathtowels and crisp cotton bed linen instead of the somewhat grimy sleeping bag and my rolled-up jacket for a pillow. The Fjellheim is mostly empty tonight and turns out to be a Lutheran bible school, but it's got huge rooms and is a nice quiet relaxing place to stay, even if the price is higher than I can afford in all conscience.

Sent a text message to Wilfed and Johanna before going to bed to tell them that I'd arrived in Tromsø - to my surprise they've arrived here this evening too, so we've arranged to meet tomorrow at the tourist info center in town to explore it together and maybe have a picnic in the park.

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