Northern Lights! I am sure it rings a bell for many who have had this long time wish to witness this mesmerizing wonder of the mother nature. I was amazed to see that such is the craving for Auroras among the nature lovers that some people have been trying to catch a glimpse of Lady Aurora since a long time but she is known to be very mischievous from time to time. A lady from Belgium told me that she made as many as five disappointed visits to different spots in Arctic region before finally getting to witness the majestic play of Aurora Borealis in Tromsø on the night of 1st of March 2017. I have even known people who have the screen cover of Northern Lights on their cell phone just to have a constant reminder of their dear wish to be fulfilled sooner than later. Well here’s wishing them God speed for a beautiful meeting with Lady Aurora. 😉
This reminds me traveling is so much more than we think. Traveling is not just going on a vacation to relax. People travel for work, for love, for loved ones, for celebration, for even forgetting something (or someone may be) & in search of life itself. Traveling is much much much more. Ya ya! I know no one wants gyaan (knowledge sharing) on traveling. But let me tell you this – life is “only” as beautiful as you make it. In the end, life is the sum total of all the good memories you create for yourself to cherish forever. Think about it. Gandhiji said that an eye for an eye will only make this world blind. Very true ! Similarly, I would say good memories for more good memories will only make this world more humane. Because there is so much positivity around it.
Let’s just rewind the clock a bit & go to the evening of 1st of March 2017. I had already spent a night in Tromsø by now. And I had confirmed the clear sky, lots of snow, cold temperatures & most importantly geomagnetic storm due tonight. By now I even had gone through the struggle to catch a glimpse of Lady Aurora & how disappointing it could be just in case she decides not to come out that night. Before reaching the bus by 7:45 PM, we had already seen Lady Aurora appearing & disappearing. So we were all excited for a tremendous show tonight. Just to show you how traveling can mean different things to people & yet be so wonderful, let me introduce to you the 3 girls who had grabbed the front seats in the bus that would take them along with 50 other visitors from Tromsø to Breivikeidet Base Camp for the Northern Lights spotting that night. One girl had come alone all the way from the USA especially tonight to celebrate her birthday with Lady Aurora. Another girl, all alone again & from the Paris of France because she simply wanted to visit Aurora, her twin sister (just kidding ! How magical would it be if Aurora were my mythical sister & I would have had the privilege of mystical powers too). Isn’t it! And the third girl of Irish origin, the guide-cum-photographer, wanted to visit Norway for Northern Lights once. She came 3 years ago & never left till date (as I was told the last time). We also got to know a couple got engaged that night under the lights of Lady Aurora. I mean all this is just so beautiful! Creating good memories for oneself & for others is what one will remember in the end.
Coming to Tromsø
It all started in August 2016. My tryst with Lady Aurora was quite a tricky play of right time, right place & right people. In the beginning of my Masters at IÉSEG, one of the colleagues had told me that this winter, there is highest “probability” of seeing the Northern Lights due to high solar activity. If missed, for the next 10 years the solar activity would be low & there would be very little chance to see the Lady Aurora. I had very well taken note of it.
Hence a thorough research went on for months including following up on the Northern Lights forecast to decide the best possible window & finding the best place in the Arctic region & of course the coinciding winter vacations ;).
The moment I knew I could make it, I knew I was headed to the Paris of the North to see if my good luck actually works. This was the Northern-most point I could reach by flight & all by myself on a journey to the Arctic, a land of the unknown & hence a land of explorers.
I know many would be raising their eyebrows. Is she crazy? To go so far all alone? A girl? Yes, these were few of the reactions to my plans of solo traveling to Tromsø. Even a bus driver in Tromsø was like “You are a courageous woman. You know that Ma’am?”. I replied with a bright smile “Yes I do sir.”
I am glad I did it even if I was alone. As a price for my courage, life did present me the Northern Lights the very first time, & one of the most beautiful & cherishable friendships I could have on earth. And of course a chance to see one of the most beautiful quarters on earth which may have been painted by God himself. Oh My God! It’s simply beautiful in the real sense.
Tromsø is truly a painting of nature. You often do island hoping either to visit friends or for work or grocery shopping (I am not kidding) or just to chase the Lady Aurora as I did. I am sure you will swear by the end of the article that it’s all about Lady Aurora. Isn’t it?? Yes Boss! Lady Aurora is the Queen of everyone’s hearts here. So no matter what topic it is you are talking on, Lady Aurora has to be there.
You point wherever you wish & all you see is beauty & more beauty & more beauty & more beauty; not only in the surrounding nature but also in the hearts of the Norwegian people. After all, you make “good” memories with “good” people.
I was lucky though as the Lady Aurora being very generous with me at the very first time. Just to be sure of not being disappointed in case Lady Aurora didn’t want me to see her, I had a lot of things planned to make my first Scandinavian visit a memorable one.
It was my first time with AirBnB as well. And I cannot miss writing how kind & friendly my host had been. We spent such good time together over the lunch, shopping, evening walks & the unforgettable midnight Northern Lights concert at the Arctic Cathedral, the Northernmost Church in the world. It was my host who made me taste the best fresh Cod fish you can have & a traditional Sami reindeer dish. It was she who coined the term “Aurora & Anusha”. In five days, we had shared so much of goodness together that we are now the best “pen friends” across the European continent both living in Paris at the same time ;). One in the Arctic Paris & another in the French Paris. 😉
I am so overwhelmed while narrating my Norway story that I could go on & on & on until I finish writing a book. But I would like to share with you all just a few, I promise only a few of the most memorable moments I have lived in Tromsø. Just hang in there. I am sure you will not be disappointed with the article that will follow “A Date with Tromsø“.
©Anusha Sakkari | All images in the article may be subject to copyright