Viking Ocean Cruise Into the Midnight Sun Post #5, Tromso

We were lucky enough to sleep in this day and had a later tour into Tromso, named the Panoramic Tromso. We met at 9:55 AM. Tromso is filled with exceptional structures and genuine charm, in this island setting of green meadows. We met our local guide and drove through the city known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”, a starting point for many Arctic expeditions. Tromsø possesses the largest concentration of wooden houses in northern Norway. These homes were built there until 1904, when wood construction was banned for fear of fire. Throughout the city, we saw classic architecture blended with contemporary buildings, including the stunning Arctic Cathedral. With its soaring white roof line which has been restored by hail damage restoration experts, it has been compared to the Sydney Opera House. But none the less it is one of the most beautiful roofing design – view here.


View of the City from the Viking Sun


We had room service for breakfast and this was part of our view from or balcony. I love photographing cities from the ship when we stop at ports. It’s usually a unique angle that most people who visit aren’t presented with. The church steeple was obviously my focal point and Tromso was definitely more populous than Geiranger or the Lofoten Islands.


Ski Slopes and Local Street Art


Another view from the Viking Sun with Tromso’s ski slopes in the background above the city. Of particular interest to me was the very cool street art mural along the dock. I thought it was fantastic. Love when we have plenty of time to scope out the cities from our ship prior to going ashore.


RIB Tour Boats from the Viking Sun


One of the optional tours for the more adventurous souls was a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) tour of local waterways. You ride through the protected waters around Tromso. All the while viewing the region’s animals including Eagles possibly. Besides riding at warp speed, as evidenced by this photo, participants learn about the history of the city and see porpoises swimming in the harbor. Binoculars are very useful if you take this tour.


Joker Convenience Store


I love seeing unusual store names, architecture and decorations in cities, much less entering and taking a look at their products. I have to ask, would you really feel comfortable purchasing food goods from a store entitled “Joker”? I don’t think I could without breaking out in laughter.


Cemetery with World War Veterans Interred


Nazi Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940 unexpectedly. Regardless of Allied efforts the entire country was occupied by early June. All affiliated activity afterwards was restricted to special ops and raids. Air support for the Norwegian resistance groups was supplied by Commonwealth forces until Germany left in May of 1945. Even though are no Commonwealth cemeteries, many Allied sailors and airmen are buried in public cemeteries and churchyards. Many of these servicemen perished delivering supplies from the UK to north Russia around the North Cape.


By 1942 the fleets were being attacked heavily by German air bases in north Norway, U-boats and other German vessels stationed in Norwegian waters. The graves of many of those who perished are interred at the Tromso Cemetery. The graves of many who died at Hammerfest and Kirkences have been moved to Tromso from Artic ports. Also entombed are a number of Merchant seamen from the SS Chumleigh. It was bombed and ran aground at Spitzbergen in November 1942. Many of the crew died of exposure later on. The Commonwealth plot at Tromso, the most northerly in the world, contains 37 burials, three of them unidentified.


Wooden House in Tromso


Wooden House in Tromso


As we toured Tromso I was fascinated by the array of wooden houses, picket fences and gorgeous plant life. I can only surmise the continuous rain helps vegetation retain its green luster. Everything looks so healthy and alive with flowers and new growth. If it didn’t get so cold in winter and the cost of living was less it would be a fine place to retire.


Tromso Street Art


Regardless of which city, country or locale I am in I always notice street art quickly, especially if it isn’t tagging or trash. This art above is interesting because it depicts a group of small children playing in a tree with a cat and dog. I guess my only issue are the claws of the fowl holding on to the board. That seems a little scary.


Bibliotek Public Library


The main library building is located in the Fokuskvartalet area in the center of the city. The main street “Storgata” and the Cultural Center are within 55 yards from the library, which is also part of a complex containing the Town Hall and a cinema. The library collection is housed on four floors and a top gallery and shares the building with the City Archives. Because of its convenient situation and spectacular architecture, the library has become a natural meeting place for the local citizens, and a “must see” experience for tourists. The vision of the library is to be a model library in the region of northern Norway.


Bibliotek Public Library


In 2006 the library was declared the Best Service Enterprise in Tromsø, an award given on behalf of the citizens of Tromsø. In 2008 the library was nominated as one of three for the award of “Library of the Year” in Norway, while in 2009 a general poll voted the Tromsø Library the best public library of the year. The building is constructed under the original roof of the old Fokus Cinema. The cinema was designed by the architect Gunnar Bøgeberg Haugen. Construction began in 1969 and the cinema was opened March 16, 1973. The extraordinary roof’s structure is based on the Mexican architect Candela’s structures, usually named as a Candela shell. Formed as four bowed arches it makes an hyperbolic paraboloid form.


Bibliotek Public Library


The Northern Lights planetarium show is a documentary and a stunning full-dome visual, featuring the Aurora in science, history and myth. It is shown at least once a day. All planetarium shows and entrance to the Science Center – hands on science for all ages are included in the admission fee. The Northern Lights Planetarium was the first planetarium in Norway open to the public. It is now the planetarium at Nordnorsk vitensenter, the Science Center of Northern Norway. They have daily all-dome shows about and with northern lights. They can also show constellations and journeys through the solar system and the distant galaxies.


Northern Lights Planetarium


The planetarium is located on the Tromsø campus of the Arctic University of Norway. The Planetarium has seating for 95 people under a 40 feet dome. The Planetarium is the largest in Norway. In the fall of 2008 the Planetarium was upgraded with new digital projectors from Sky-Skan. Ole Christian Salomonsen created his own Northern Lights universe at the Science Center of Northern Norway in Tromso. The city of Tromso received the world premiere of this film.


Thanks to the 3D dome theater at the Science Center Planetarium in Tromso, guests can now experience the Northern Lights as if they where standing just beneath it. The film also portrays Sami and Inuit people who tell their stories and their interpretations of what the Northern Lights have meant for their lives over the centuries. Salomonsen has been recognized internationally for his unique photos and films of the Northern Lights. But he is clear that this is the best he has ever created.


Circle K Convenience Store


Before my life as a travel blogger I was in the Convenience store business, in the operations and marketing end of the spectrum. I worked for Circle K stores for ten years and only left when they sold the Texas market. I was asked if I wanted to transfer to Phoenix, but declined as my family had moved enough over the years. Seeing this store brought back great memories of all the terrific people I worked with.


Tromso Turnabout Tunnel


One of the more unusual facets of Tromso is the Tromsoysund Tunnel. It is an undersea highway tunnel which runs under the Tromsovsundet strait. It connects the island of Tromsova with the mainland suburb of Tromsdalen. The tunnel is part of European route Eo8, whose northern end is on the island. It consists of two tubes with two driving lanes. One tube is 2.2 miles long and the other is 2.1 miles in length. The lowest point in the tunnels is 335 ft below sea level, and the maximum grade is 8.2%. The two tubes are linked by 15 service-tunnels.


Tromso Turnabout Tunnel


The tunnel opened on 3 December 1994 to relieve Tromsøya’s only other mainland connection, the Tromso Bridge. The bridge had been plagued by severe traffic congestion for more than a decade. The tunnel is located to the north of the bridge, on the island side. It emerges just below the University of Tromso and the University Hospital of North Norway. Both are major sources of traffic between the island and the mainland. On the mainland side it emerges at Tomasjord which is centrally located between the densely populated suburbs of Tromsdalen and Kroken.


Tromso Turnabout Tunnel



Tromso Bridge View


The Tromsø Bridge is a cantilever road bridge in the city of Tromsø. It is located in Tromsø Municipality in Troms county, Norway. It crosses the Tromsøysundet strait between Tromsdalen on the mainland and the island of Tromsøya. The bridge spans 1,132 yards and it is roughly 125 feet to the surface of the water below. Construction began in 1958 and it opened in 1960.


Tromso Bridge


Tromsdalen Church, also known as Ishavskatedralen (The Arctic Cathedral) was dedicated on November 19, 1965. Architect Jan Inge Hovig succeeded in creating a masterpiece. The church was partially motivated by the Opera House in Sydney Australia. Because of this, it has been called “The Opera House of Norway”. Despite its nickname, it is a parish church and not, in fact, a cathedral as it is commonly called. The church is an Evangelical Lutheran within the Church of Norway, and should not to be mistaken with the Tromso Cathedral. The Artic Cathedral is a landmark visible from the Tromsø Sound, the Tromsø Bridge and when landing at Tromsø airport. Construction began in April of 1964 and was completed in 1965. It is made of Cast-in-place aluminum-coated concrete panels. The 11 aluminium-coated concrete panels on each side of the roof produce the cathedral’s form.


Artic Cathedral


The main entrance on the western side is surrounded by a large glass facade with a distinct cross. The incredible glass mosaic on the eastern side was supplied in 1972. The glass mosaic is one of artist Victor Sparre’s most distinguished works. It depicts God’s hand from which bursts three rays of light: one through Jesus, one through a woman and one through a man. The mosaic pieces are 1.1 inch thick, so on sunny mornings the work becomes almost completely translucent. When the midnight sun radiates from the west, however, the colors become passionate and intense. During the dark months, the complete mosaic is eradicated although you can still see it from the exterior. The glass mosaic dates back to 1972 and was not actually a part of the architect’s conception. The original objective was to use common glass in the east wall as well. Strip lights have been arranged between the 11 layer panels that make up the walls and when darkness falls, the exceptional blueprint of the church is clearly conspicuous from all parts of Tromsø. The exclusive chandeliers of Czech crystal are inspired by icicles and advance the distinctively cool look. The Arctic Cathedral is a beacon in the town, for churchgoers and for travelers in the north.


The oak pews, the large prism chandeliers, the altar rail and pulpit are the most compelling fittings, all of which are in a style that agrees with the cathedral’s passion and simplicity. The church acquired an organ assembled by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri in 2005, with three manuals, pedal, 42 stops, and 2940 pipes. It replaced the old opus nr. 12 organ delivered by Vestlandske Orgelverksted, Hareid, which had 22 voices and 124 keys. Midnight concerts are now held in the Arctic Cathedral all year long, often including the five choirs of the congregation. In the summer, however, the church is even more available, as the congregation is excited to welcome guests to midnight sun concerts featuring professional musicians. These concerts start just before midnight, so subsequently the audience can step out and enjoy the midnight sun. This has to be a thrill to the 600 people the church seats.


Statue of Running Girls in Tromso Park


As we headed back to the ship the bus passed this statue in a park of two girls running. I was enamored by its beauty and thought I would share this photo. It was a rainy day, but I was able to capture it through the bus’ window. Strangely enough when I looked it up on the Internet it was difficult to locate. I’m not sure if it’s new or what but it basically has no history.


Tromso Business District


A scene from the wet streets of Tromso as we headed back to the ship and dinner. I loved the solitude this photo displayed and the reflections in the standing water.


Fabulous Sailing Ship in Tromso Harbor Across the Tromso Bridge



Tromso Marina


We finally arrived back at the harbor and walked back to the ship. Thankfully the rain had ceased and all we had to be concerned with was stepping in the large puddles so as to not soak our shoes. Onward to the next port of Honnigsvag and what an adventure lay before us. I had no idea what lay ahead and how adventurous our next port would be!






*** Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking Ocean Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

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61 responses to “Viking Ocean Cruise Into the Midnight Sun Post #5, Tromso”

  1. Alexander Georgiev says:

    Wow that’s great!

  2. Obalade Damilola says:

    Like seriously, a store named joker.. that’s hilarious.. what kind of a person names his store joker…

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      I agree. That was my thought exactly. Who names their store “Joker”? Laughing out loud my friend!Thanks for understanding my sense of humor!

  3. Meldred Judith says:

    This is an interesting place wherein you can see almost everything as wood in this place. Great architectural design.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Thanks for your kind words. I agree wholeheartedly. Their architecture is phenomenal my friend. I love the wood and style of the older homes! Thanks

  4. itachi says:

    Looks like a busy town. I love the architectural designs. On particular, the library. It looks like an opera house.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      It was a more populated city than the past two or three we visited. I loved the architecture of the library and it was certainly a different type than others we experienced in Norway. Thank you very much for noticing and I appreciate your thoughts my friend! Hurry back in my next post on the Honningsvag Nordkapp or North Cape writing! Thanks for taking the time to place a comment.
      Yours truly,

  5. Kay says:

    It is unfortunate that the weather seems to be not cooperating. This are good but could been better if the trip was moved on a sunny day.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Thanks for understanding. Weather cooperates sometimes and other times it doesn’t. This day it wasn’t really an advantage. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


    Getting to know the name Tromso, is cool because it’s my first time. Cool pictures and structures. Mike, you specified that you can find genuine charm here, what type of charm? Also, the church steeple which is your focal point is well designed. Thanks for sharing

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      I am referring to its architectural charm. With the Artic Cathedral. The Bibiotek Library, Planetarium and the very different and large turnabout tunnel I thought they all were charming from an architectural standpoint. Thanks.

  7. mbang says:

    The island here is so green and inviting. The View of the City from the Viking Sun pictured above is just perfect for eyes, as in it is very appealing.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Thank you kindly for your nice thoughts. They are extremely gratifying and I appreciate your wonderful words. The island was definitely very beautiful!

  8. brenda says:

    Your Viking cruise in Tromso was cool going by the beautiful pictures displayed here. I wish I was part of this cruise.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Watch for their promotional activities. They have free air cruises and BOGOs (Buy one get one free) cruises. You cab get a good deal, but you really have to be diligent and look it uo daily almost. Thanks.

  9. Kitty says:

    I wish I was part of this cruise. I assume that these are only short but sweet stop to cover more places? How long did the cruise last.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      It was a 15 day cruise with most days in Norway,3 sea days,3 days in Scotland and 1 full day in London. FYI. Thanks.

  10. Jeremy says:

    I don’t know why but I get easily fascinated by wooden houses too, maybe because it is getting rare to come by since we are so used to concrete houses. Awesome experience you have here

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your thoughts and agree that wooden houses are becoming a thing of the past. Thanks again.

  11. Iboro ette says:

    Beautiful but places Tremso have got and I’m sure you relish every bit of the cruise and learned a lot too while at it. The photos are delightful.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Thank you very much for sharing your nice thoughts on my post and my photography! I really appreciate the compliments! Thanks again

  12. Kurt says:

    Wooden houses are rare in cities that is why we are fascinated by it. However to me it made me curious about the country. Thank you for spreading awareness about this part of the world.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      It was my first visit to Norway and I fell in love with it. It’s truly a very beautiful country. Thanks for sharing your kind words!

  13. peace 444 says:

    There is so much to be done in Tromso going by these photos maybe because there’s more population in it than Geiranger or the Lofoten Islands.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      You are correct. There are definitely more people in Tromso than our other stops except for possibly Bergen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  14. mandy says:

    The View of the City from the Viking Sun is so heartwarming. The city is so appealing to the eyes and it worth a visit.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      If at all possible I would recommend you visit Norway and see as much of the country as you can. Thanks for your nice words!

  15. Oyeyipo Oladele says:

    I never knew Tromso is filled with exceptional structures and genuine charm, have setting of green meadows. If you really took this photographs yourself, then you must be a reasonable and creative photographer. Thanks for this post.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Yes I took all the photos. I appreciate your positive comments and and happy you liked my photography. That is a very nice thing to say. Thanks.

      • Oyeyipo Oladele says:

        Its my pleasure Mike.
        Every individual has his or her own skills, yours is extremely cool. Most especially the photoshoot on Statue of Running Girls in Tromso Park is pretty cool for easy eye view. Thanks to you boss.

  16. Pietro says:

    this city is truly a sight to behold. I am no viking but you can clearly see the viking ish influence throughout the town. How about food though???

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      The city has a mixed architecture in my belief. The food was excellent and I am writing a blog post in the coming weeks about it. Stay tuned!

  17. Wanda says:

    The irony is the Sun did not seem to show up ha ha. Anyway, Got to say good trip overall. I enjoyed reading your articles as if I was there myself.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Yes we had rain, but Norway is known for it’s wet climate. It usually rains two out of three days and we actually were very lucky with a lot more sun days than expected. Thanks.

  18. Yudas says:

    I’m sure you did put in a lot of work while working in the stores. Circle K Convenience Store looks cool and I agree with you that will make your memories flood back as a worker in such terrain before.

    • Mike Hinshaw says:

      Yes I worked for the Circle K company for over ten years and worked with many great people. I wish I could have continued working for them, but they sold the stores in my Texas market and we didn’t want to move again. Thanks.

  19. Maydee says:

    So much Great architectural designs here for the cruisers delight. Cruising is great fun especially if one is trying it out for the first time.

  20. Roy says:

    The statue of the running girls really looks awesome. I’d love to take a pic next to it.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      I think it’s a fairly new statue. I really couldn’t find anything about it on Google when I researched the statue. Kind of strange I thought. Thanks.

  21. Meg W says:

    What I’d enjoy most would be the street art. I am an artsy person and like such things 🙂

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      I am a big fan of #streetart also. I usually try to capture local art in every city I visit. I guess that makes me an artsy person also! LOL!

  22. Howard says:

    Wow, the Northern Lights planetarium looks totally amazing! That’s one place I’d fancy visiting!!!

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      It truly was very nice and I thought the show was good. My front row seat may not have been the best seat and I think I would recommend finding a seat in the middle of the planetarium to see the best viewing.

  23. Patricia says:

    This must have been an unforgettable experience indeed. I hope to take the cruise too some day!

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      It certainly was. It was our first ocean cruise and we really enjoyed it.I was a little scared of getting seasick, but the Captain did a great job of avoiding bad weather and hugging the shoreline! Thanks.

  24. Kylie says:

    The Tromso Harbor is such a beautiful scene. What a great land to tour!

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      You are correct. The harbor was gorgeous and I really was attracted to the scenery around it and around the city. Thanks.

  25. Oliver says:

    The hills and mountains surrounding the area give it a striking beauty. They must also be responsible for the cool weather.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      Thankfully we visited in late June and early July. We were very fortunate with great weather. Viking only offers this cruise in the summer time for this reason. No one really wants to be involved in bad weather on a cruise ship I think. Thanks.

  26. Ursula says:

    I love the rich history the place has. There is so much new stuff to learn!

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      I appreciate your comments and love the interest you have in learning about Norway. It really has a significant history most people don’t really know about! Thanks.

  27. Daphne says:

    The Tromso bridge is a scene to behold. It sure stands and looks magnificent.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      It truly was magnificent and a thing of beauty. I am glad we went over and around it, so we could see it from various angles. In addition, on the way back south to Scotland we sailed by it again and could view it from an entirely different perspective. Very cool! Thanks.

  28. Grace says:

    I wish you could share how much it costs to take these cruises. It could help a lot with planning on pour side.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      That depends on several factors. Where you are coming from? How you are traveling to Bergen or London as it goes in both directions. Lastly they run promotions at different times and occasionally you get free air or a BOGO (buy one get one at a discount) situation. Just have to watch their website daily for new discount promotions. Thanks.

  29. Angel says:

    Truly the world has so many gorgeous places and this is one of them. Perhaps I should consider this for my next destination for some rest and relaxation.

    • NOMADICTEXAN says:

      It certainly would be a great vacation. I didn’t realize how gorgeous this country was! You definitely should consider it, but try to visit during the summer or you might experience very cold weather! Thanks.

  30. Dazz says:

    Is there a website I can go to just to learn more if not get tickets for one, If I could. I do not know how a cruise works. I could check it out.

  31. NOMADICTEXAN says:

    In case you didn’t look at the other blog post with this question, it is the link below:

    I sincerely hope you are able to take a cruise with Viking Cruises some day soon.Thanks

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