Tromso ranks as the 96th most expensive city out of all cities in the world!
If you’re planning a visit to Tromso, it’s always a good idea to research the cost of living and budget accordingly.
First, We Had To Get There!
Things were falling into place. I had the currencies needed to travel from Belgium to Norway.
This was 1982… no internet, no GPS, and no euro...
we still did things the old way.
German marks, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian krona. We had our maps, the paper kind.
Why was Belgium so expensive? (Glimpse that country here..)
Let’s compare apples and apples…Belgium has border-to-border fully lit highways.
Transport trucks, would be inclined to drive through Belgium, as opposed to other routes.
A good idea, and brings in revenue; but expensive.
These lights can be seen from outer space!
As costs went in Europe at this time, Belgium was an expensive country to live in.
But Belgium was surpassed by Norway in the expensive category! … Big time!
Scandinavia had a number of explorers of the world;
remember, at that time, everyone thought
the earth was flat!
Eric The Red founded Greenland and named it “GreenLAND”, thinking this would attract other settlers. Well, not so difficult – you can SEE Greenland on the map!
But he killed a few people and was KICKED OUT of the country! I don’t know where he went after that but anything south was better than where he was, weather-wise.
ERIC begat Leif Erikson…
Leif Erikson, 970-1020 – these guys did not waste any time getting away from the harsh climate of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and remove that leather tunic they have been wearing for years!
In early 1900, Roald Amundsen kept sailing further south and ended in Antarctica. Not exactly my idea of moving south after retirement.
They overdid it in Norway when it comes to the cost-of-living.
Almost everything for everyday life is imported! Including cars, food, furniture, electronics … Their exports balance their imports; there is no shortage of quality.
Germany is beautiful, the highways are excellent and in most places, there are no speed limits on the autobahn.
It’s nice to make up time on these supurb highways!
So while we “made some time”, we hated every minute of it.
We glimpsed a lot of homes, farmland, and malls whizzing by but there was no time to smell the flowers or to meet the people.
We left the highway for the byway.
We ate at a picnic table by the road.
Yes, I made sandwiches for the trip.
We had wine and ate apples. The sun was shining and there were no sounds except for the birds and a light breeze.
Tomorrow we would be in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Denmark the Beautiful
As small countries go, Denmark is near the top of the list. Yes, we have Monaco, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Iceland, and Finland for competition.
Denmark is SMALL and without Greenland, is slightly more than twice the size of Massachusetts.
Greenland is part of the realm of Denmark!
It is 2200 miles away, and they are friends!
No location in Denmark is further from the coast than 32 miles.
There is only one highway going north/south through the country.
It’s long and narrow, not a round country.
You can see the Baltic Sea to the east and the North Sea to the west.
There are about 1419 islands in Denmark, but only 443 are named and only 78 are inhabited.
The rest are considered uninhabitable!
It was June, and although we were experiencing mild spring weather in Belgium, this was the time for the major snow thaw in Scandinavia.
And we were in for a treat!
There is not much space in Denmark.
It’s tight, and there were waterfalls everywhere!
It’s hard to drive with all these distractions.
Our heads were swiveling … the roads were winding!
Why do they drive so fast?.. Watch the road!
The scenery was so different from everywhere else we’d been.
I wondered why these fierce Vikings settled here.
In ancient times, they HAD to be strong to settle this land.
Who else would do it?
I felt insignificant in the middle of this beautiful and cold sprawling sea… They call it Jutland.
The Little Mermaid is a national monument and sits on a rock by the waterside in Copenhagen.
Seems the mermaid fell in love with a prince and is still waiting for him… Since 1913! Give-it-up.
In Copenhagen, I was looking at the map – the paper kind – and was approached by a young man.
I was startled and on the defensive.
He smiled and said that he wanted to help me find my directions.
I was not used to such open, genuine, peaceful, encounters with strangers. He was “the friendly Dane“.
Sweden Is Delightful
Enter into Sweden.
The Swedes are different.
They are refined, tall, and white-blond.
They are soft-spoken and polite; they have a touch of arrogance, but we didn’t mind.
They have a strict attitude toward their country and culture. They are as friendly as the Danes; and proud to be Swedes.
Imagine a country of 8.3 million people, developed this far north.
No real estate is left in the world and Sweden is no exception.
But it is somewhat isolated from everything.
It costs more to provide food, fuel, and homes up here.
It was getting more expensive as we went north … Pricey!
They Overdid It In Norway!
Our destination was Oslo as we had friends living there.
Norway’s population was 4.086 million.
This was the land of the midnight sun and stunning northern lights.
Norway Overdid It With A Talented And Innovative Society.
In 1947 a Norseman named Heyerdahl, sailed the Kon-Tiki from Peru to Polynesia, just to prove that a reed vessel could sail the high seas.
Later, in 1970, Heyerdahl sailed the Ra from Safi, Morocco to Barbados.
This reed ship was made by the Aymara Indians of Lake Titicaca. They are the only people left who still make reed vessels.
This proved that parts of the west could indeed have been settled by Africans who sailed across the Atlantic in a reed boat.
Why would someone want to be in a grass boat on the Atlantic? Ask Heyerdahl. He’s a Norseman, a man on a mission… A true descendant of the Vikings – still exploring.
Such a diversity of achievements and inventions is unmatched in countries this size!
In Oslo, the Vigeland Sculpture Park is a must!
It consists of more than 200 bronze sculptures, depicting every stage in life.
From birth, growing up – a child throwing a tantrum, adolescence, and old age.
All the statues are naked! Yes, take a selfie!
We settled in at our friend’s home, the Reids, and enjoyed some quiet time.
They had lived in many different countries in their lives; they said, “it’s cold in Norway”.
That was a poignant description of their previous winter.
They lived outside the city and on a treed lot. During the day, people walked a path, past their back fence, with towels.
Where were they going?
Apparently, there was a little lake at the end of that path and people were going swimming!
The lake was ice-covered a couple of weeks ago!
It was June in Norway! – It was freezing COLD in Norwegian waters!
We were wearing heavy sweaters and these people were swimming in a lake?
After all… they were Viking descendants!
They Overdid It With The Scenery!
Norway being so expensive, they made up for that with the scenery.
If we were agog in Denmark and Sweden, that was an introduction to Norway.
Driving was a major discipline just to keep our eyes on the road.
We were not ready for this visual overload.
The Fjords were on every bend on the road, and there were MANY. Water gushed out of the rock face and seemed to come toward us – like 3D.
Many fjords are “sea arms” and so they help to beef up Norway’s coastline to an incredible 75,000 km!
There are 1190 fjords in Norway, the highest concentration in the world.
It is “beauty” personified!
Their BIG BOY fjord, Sognefjord is 204 km long and 1309 meters deep!
We are just an audience for nature, but nothing compared to this.
TROMSO! A Tourist Destination “Must-See”!
The city of Tromso has a population of 71,500
and is a TOP tourist destination.
It is nestled 217 miles NORTH of the
Why do so many people live NORTH of the Arctic Circle? … WHY?
I will tell you…
The Tromso region is known as one of the BEST places in the world to see the aurora borealis, – northern lights! Aaand, they are available “up there” from mid-September to April!
That’s almost 9 months!
They have a cost of living index of 96.22%, which takes into account the prices of groceries, housing, transportation, and other basic expenses.
Where Art Thou Helsinki
From a vantage point north of Oslo, we could see Finland in the far distance.
I always wanted to visit Helsinki. Maybe it was the name.
Time was pressing a bit so we said, “next time we’ll visit Finland”.
Never say that – there is never a next time.
Going back home, we experienced the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’.
We had been traveling all day and I was ready for bed. I am not an ‘up-all-night-person’ so I assumed we would stop to sleep.
But, didn’t I want to stay awake all night? … Because the daylight was still good?
No, I did not.
This was Denmark, home of the friendly Danes. Where was that friendly, Mr. nice-guy now?
I am like a child when it comes to sleep – I need lots of it; … I was getting cranky.
That was our last night in Denmark and I hated to leave this unusual land.
It Was a Good Whim…..
This whole trip, which we did on a whim, will remain in my mind as truly remarkable.
The land of the midnight sun is still there and I suggest you visit it before it’s too late for you!