by Cathi Burnett-Cosgrove, February 2017
As we left Hobart in search of the Northern Lights it was with great anticipation as we knew we were venturing forth into the great unknown.
What would we see? What would we feel? How does an experience such as this unfold?
This was a fully escorted tour and every guest was aware that this particular itinerary was unique. Crafted carefully to take full advantage of the Northern Lights should Mother Nature choose to turn them on. I should add at this point, Mother Nature not only blessed us but did so in spectacular fashion.
With short days and long nights enveloping our world in the early afternoon one can be forgiven for thinking we might find ourselves in darkness but nothing could be further from the truth.
We were treated to clear crystal blue skies during the day, and moonlight dancing on the deep snow of a night as the majestic Northern Lights swirled above us across the midnight sky.
While it was cold, with the temperature plummeting as low as -27, everyone had been well briefed on safety and warmth prior to our departure which meant we simply revelled in the outdoor activities. This included riding in reindeer pulled sleighs, driving snowmobiles and even handling our own husky teams. We lit fires in our log cabins, built snowmen and enjoyed the shared food and conversation of travel companions. We fished for King Crabs and enjoyed the harvest of our hunting and gathering. We tasted akvavit, stockfish and reindeer which admittedly, some things were more acceptable to the palate than others!
Interwoven into this tour was contact and much education around the Sami People, also known as the Laplanders. We were treated to stories of their history as we sat around enormous camp fires, both indoor (even in a lavvu, which is the name given to their tent) and outside, sipping hot soup heated over the fire whilst lazing on reindeer hides. It was idyllic.
Our accommodation was diverse. We travelled on the Hurtigruten, a working ferry, and chatted to grandmothers who had been visiting their families, builders moving to the next job, and businessmen commuting between meetings. We watched the mail being delivered and food provisions being transported and all the while taking in our own private tours in the towns and cities along the coast of Norway. We stayed three nights in our own log cabins. Our time in glass igloos with views over some of the most picturesque country in the world was simply jaw dropping! We also had an extended stay in the very typical ‘fisherman’ style apartments where you could quite literally drop a line off your balcony directly into the Fjord.
Yes, we succeeded in our Pursuit of the Northern Lights. It was surreal and an almost spiritual encounter for everyone concerned.
How do you really describe an experience such as this? I believe some of the comments below just might …….
“This wasn’t just a trip……it was an amazing adventure with so many exciting experiences and adventures! Some of these I’m still struggling with the words to describe adequately… with an extremely special group of people who melded together so well through rather unique “happenings”. We were certainly a “team”, lead brilliantly by Cathi. Her organisation leading up to this journey also defies words, her leadership and her rather unique care of us during our time away was mind blowing!!” – Gae
“I would like to thank and congratulate you for a really excellent trip. I have never been on a trip like this before but I found it relaxing, interesting and enjoyable thanks to your organisation and attention to detail and to the friendly, inclusive group of fellow travellers.” – Bevan
“I have travelled with many groups (as no doubt we all have) and I can honestly say that our ‘melding’ was exceptional, undoubtedly due to Cathi and her level of organizational skills and genuine care that connected with each of one of us and the flow on within our group.” – Val