After leaving Skarsvag we headed back to Alta, sleeping on the way in a layby between Olderfjord and Skaidi. It was very windy. The rocking of the truck isn’t so bad, it’s the occasional gusts that jolt you awake! Back in Alta - which was very closed as it was Easter Sunday - we resisted the temptation to have luxury camping and simply filled up with fuel and water and continued on, destination Tromso.
It was still cold and the scenery very white and icy but starting to see broken ice on the water and water dripping on the frozen waterfalls. The roads are clear now and I can unleash the full power of the landrover… haha at least I can do the speed limit on occasion anyway.
Arriving in Tromso on Monday 27th we found a couple of camp sites but decided to try and camp slightly out of town in case there was some northern lights in the evening. There was indeed northern lights but, it all seemed to be happening behind one big rogue cloud. I hoped it would move on but it just span on the spot! Must have been in the centre of some weather system – annoying! There were street lights on the road, to take pictures I needed to have the street lights behind me, but the northern lights kept switching sides of the sky so I had to grab my camera and cross the road back and forth. I wished I had two cameras – one for timelapsing, and one for standard pics. I even tried the gopro – didn’t catch any northern lights just street lights and headlights! To finish me off for the night I slipped on the ice where we were parked and hurt my knee! Awesome.
Tuesday 29th we headed into Tromso and had a brief look around. Annoyingly, the diesel had been 10.69NOK a litre when we came in the night before. The morning after it was 13.74NOK a litre! Was it a bank holiday tax relief thing? Who knows. Enlighten us if you do. I’d wanted a haircut so we found a place in a mall. I explained I just wanted a basic clipper cut, all one length… £40!!! So we found a cheaper looking barbers around the corner, and they wanted £25! Didn’t get a haircut. We were in need of the essentials – Shower, clothes wash, internet updates – so we stopped at Tromso Camping. Really nice modern and well thought-out camp site. The internet was fast fibre and covered the entire site, the showers were great, BUT a clothes wash and dry was 100NOK – like £8! Sharon nearly passed out. We did it anyway. Sharon managed to give me a haircut using her fingers and my beard trimmers! It wasn’t bad but a proper cut will be needed in future. Whilst cooking our tea in the kitchen block a young German guy came in with his camera, tripod and all the gear. We talked a bit about the northern lights etc. He moaned about the same cloud I was moaning about earlier!
Weds 30th We decided to stay another night at Tromso camping and locked the truck up and took a walk towards Tromso Centre. Walking though some of the residential streets this time of year it looks filthy as the snow piled up to the sides of the road is covered in grit and road grime. The kerb stones seem to be granite and most look like they have been heavily damaged by snow ploughs, leaving gravel/chippings everywhere. Unless they put the gravel down on the footpaths for grip? We passed the Ishavskatedralen (Arctic Cathedral), walked over the Tromso Bridge on the wrong side (cycle side) oops… and took a walk around town. Tromso is nice, a mix of old funky buildings and modern shopping or office blocks. Not many places to park a truck 2.5m tall though. Found the ‘Bastard Bar’ but it was closed, so went to the Hunsk Bar above it instead. English customers inside playing chess, with missing chess pieces replaced with beer bottle caps haha. Sharon had heard about a car ferry to Harstad, thinking it might be a nice break from driving and a sort of ‘Tight Overlanders Fjord Cruise’ so we went to check it out. Great idea, except that in the winter they only run that ferry at 1:30am… We supposed it might be good to see the northern lights from, but, good luck photographing it on a moving ship! Sacked that idea off and went for an expensive and admittedly undeserved burger! Walked back to the campsite and watched some Walking Dead.
Thursday 31st March was an admin day, photo and video uploading, facebook updates. It takes a long time!
Friday 1st April we woke to glorious sun. We even got the chairs out and had breakfast outside! I checked the fluids and wheel bearings etc and found some play in the driver’s front – but it was on the swivel pin not the bearing. Removed a shim and the play was gone. Hope I did the right thing! Also adjusted the fuelling as we’ve been giving off a bit of black smoke. Seems better but lost a tiny bit of ‘go’. No smoke no poke as they say. Shaz moved the cupboard contents around in the back as some gear ended up being inaccessible when the bed was set up. So the food and ‘stuff’ cupboards swapped around. Much better. Ended up with even more room for food which made Shaz’s day.
Headed off down the E8 with our next destination being the Lofoten Islands. The roads sucked on the way though, the landrover is really susceptible to camber in the road, if the road drops to the right, the truck likes to go right.. On the way out of Tromso the road had sudden camber drops where the edge of the road was subsiding, and drastic camber changes mid corner which made keeping it in our lane a good game!