This winter polar night in Tromsø was from 26/27 November till 15 January. While the sun has been above the horizon at noon since 16 January it took some additional days until it could rise above the mountains to be seen in Tromsø. That day was last Saturday, the 21 January. It is called soldagen (the sun day). On this day it is tradition to eat “Berliner” doughnuts called solbolle (sun bun). When I went shopping in the afternoon only a few were left in the shop. But I already ate one in the cantina in advance the day before.
Saturday, 21 January
It is soldagen today. I walk to the bay Telegrafbukta at noon. Other people have gathered waiting for the sun. Some of them are barbecuing. But it is too cloudy to see the low sun itself. So: no sun.
Sunday, 22 January
Weather has changed. It has been raining at temperatures up to +7.6 °C. All the ways are icy. A misery!
I take a walk in the afternoon. Sunset has been one hour ago but through the thick rain clouds still comes a purple-violet shade of light. It looks very dramatic. But no sun.
Tuesday, 24 January
While I’m working some heavy snow showers move over the city. The large cruise ship that moored in the centre is almost hidden from my view through the windows of Framsenteret. Definitively no sun today.
Thursday, 26 January
It has become slightly colder and 15-20 cm of snow have fallen since last night. I walk home early, the first time not in darkness. It’s bright, but – no sun.
Warmer again. And today it really rains a lot. While I’m out at 15:00 it just pours down and large and deep puddles are everywhere. And wet ice. A real misery! And of course: no sun even today.
I take a long walk by the coast of Kvaløya. Temperature has dropped to +1 °C and it snows a lot. The snow is wet and sticky. Later it clears a bit but still no sun.
29 January – today
Will the sun ever come out? Even today it snows and it is quite cloudy. Since I can see some small blue patches between the clouds and want to get some fresh air anyhow I again walk to Telegrafbukta as eight days ago. There are a lot of clouds and there’s a ship in the distance.
A ship? If I have time I always check which ship it is using the app VesselFinder. OK, let’s see … . What!? I’m really surprised: It is the Kronprins Haakon, the very ship I’ve been on at my polar expedition last year. I didn’t know that it arrives in Tromsø today. I directly get a strong longing to be on that ship cruising to the high Arctic again. (Spoiler alert: I may, later this year.)
But I can see something else. While I take photos of the bright spots between the dark clouds I spot a bright orb through my telephoto lens. The sun, the sun! Can it be true?
I check the photos at home. Although the orb is not visible on the photos (too bright) the altitude fits. So now I’m sure I saw the sun today, at least for some seconds through my camera.
This year will be a bit special. If everything works out Annika and I will see the sun coming back again in five, six weeks. In March work in Longyearbyen on Svalbard for a week and before that Annika and I stay there as tourists for about a week. One of the events I’m looking forward to is the 8 March: A quote from visitsvalbard.com:
[…] Marking the sun’s return is a long-standing traditional for the residents of Svalbard. When the sun returns on 8 March, we gather on the old hospital steps to celebrate the ‘sun’s return’. The saying here goes that ‘the sun is declared back in Longyearbyen when its rays reach the steps’. […]