Unexpected experience of the Northern Lights
Three months ago I was sent an itinerary of countries I would be visiting on my four months touring the world for SPAR international. Pretty psyched by most of them – apart from Ireland – seeing Norway’s name on the list particularly ignited that sickeningly sweet adrenaline rush of anticipation and pure excitement. Norway?! The Northern Lights can be seen in Norway. The Northern Lights! NORWAY! AHHH!
Arriving in Oslo with the biggest, fattest and most soul destroying bout of the flu I have ever experienced doused this excitement somewhat. After a beautiful train journey to Bergen and back, my excitement began to rise again, only to come crashing back down on arrival in Tromso – one of the most Northern parts of the country. The seemingly impenetratable skyline of dark, grey clouds combined with the time of year didn’t add up for an evening or two of watching one of the planet’s most out-of-this-world natural phenomenas. Boo, hiss.
10pm on the last night of a wet and windy three day stay in a cabin on a campsite just out of the city, the other SPAR reporters and I decided to just have a look outside. Maybe, we tried to kid ourselves, MAYBE we’ll be lucky. Maybe all those clouds from the past three days will have miraculously cleared. Maybe the Lights will be unseasonably active…
In 9 out of 10 cases like this, our maybe’s would have been just be a vain hope that our trip to the arctic circle wasn’t a complete waste of time. We would have gone outside, strained our eyes at the thick blackness above us, and defeatedly returned to the cabin to discuss how unlucky we’ve been.
But that 1 time out 10 appeared to be in our favour. The sky was crystal clear. Each star in the sky outshone the other. The air was the crisp temperature that only comes with absolutely unprotected surroundings. And then it started.
Just over a mountain behind the campsite, a faint white mist started to spread. This white mist rapidly transformed before our eyes into the infamous eerie green of the aurora; the Northern Lights that I had been dying to see. The lights flared to each side, seeming to twist and turn, fade and then shine again with a vengeance.
My camera isn’t great, so I didn’t personally get any fantastic shots of the Lights, but maybe this was a good thing. Cameras distract from the real thing, and the scene I saw before my eyes will be as clear as the arctic sky was for my entire lifetime.