My husband and I recently took a cruise to Norway to see the Northern lights. The trip took us 200+ miles into the Arctic Circle. My science fiction romance, Alien Mate, which is set on a planet caught in an ice age, went along to experience Arctic temperatures and a snowy, icy climate. For the March 23 Freebie Friday, I’ll be donating this Arctic traveler to one lucky winner! (To be notified of the drawing, subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll get an email.).
We did see the Northern lights and discovered that they are unusual in that the photos of the lights are much more dramatic than what the eye sees. To the eye, the lights appeared like swirling light green, almost white clouds in the night sky. In photos, the lights are vivid green (sometimes purple & red) swirls. The longer exposure of the camera lens allows colors the eye can’t see to be captured. My husband took photos, but he was working with a new camera, and wasn’t able to get it focused. So all his photos of the lights came out blurry.
However, his other photos turned out great. I also took some with my phone. I’ll share some of our photos:
Cruising through an arctic Norwegian fjord.
The ice hotel
One of the coolest (no pun intended) things we did was visit an ice hotel, the Sorrisniva, in Alta, Norway. The hotel is constructed of snow and ice in November. It lasts until about May, when it melts. Then in November, it’s constructed again. Each year, the hotel has a different theme. This year it had a Viking theme. The hotel rooms and suites have beds made of slabs of ice, covered by reindeer hide. The temperature is below freezing inside. There’s an ice bar and an ice chapel, where many people get married. Adjacent to the ice hotel is a regular hotel with regular rooms. You can stay in the ice ones, but it would be something done more for a lark than comfort.
The exterior of ice hotel looks like an igloo
Norway has some unique and beautiful architecture
The Polaria, a museum in Tromso, is supposed to resemble ice floes surging onto the shore.
Cathedral of the Northern Lights in Alta, Norway
A statue in Stavanger, Norway. You’d run too, if you were naked in the snow:
We took a bus tour over the Atlantic Ocean Road in Andalsnes, Norway. This famous bridge looks like it just drops off:
We went reindeer sledding in Tromso, Norway.
The reindeer sledding was fun, but the dog sledding in Alta, Norway, was an e-ticket ride! The dogs love to run. A driver stands on the back of the sled and brakes to slow them down!
(This dog was not chained inside his house. He went in by himself. However, the dogs are chained outside their houses, two dogs per house. They have enough lead to jump around, and they get exercise running, and a lot of attention from visitors. They’re very friendly. They love to run. When a group of dogs are hitched to the sleds, the ones who don’t get to go howl like crazy.)
How cold was it? The temperature ranged from a daytime high of about 14 F to to 34 F, but sometimes there was a wind chill factor involved. The ship’s pipes froze and broke, and they had to shut off the “switchboard” that controlled the heat, so some of the public areas and cabins did not have heat for a day and a half. Our cabin was fine.
There’s a saying that “it’s not cold–you just don’t have the right clothes,” and that proved to be true. We’d brought our old snowmobiling gear, so we weren’t cold at all. This is what I wore on an average outing: long underwear, wool sweater, snowmobile bib, down jacket, hat, scarf, gloves & boots:
Before boarding the ship and set sailing for Norway, we spent a week in London. (The ship left out of Southhampton). Next up on Friday: Alien Mate does London!
The book that went to the Arctic Circle:
I’m Starr Elizabeth Conner. Earth’s government falsely convicted me of a crime, packed me on a ship with other female felons, and sent us to Dakon, a primitive, frozen wasteland of a planet. Why? Earth needs minerals, and Dakon is desperate for females.
But I’m no barbarian’s ‘mail order bride,’ even if he is super tall, muscular, and the chief of his tribe. He doesn’t want a BBW blonde, either–it’s written all over his chiseled face. He’ll be truly angry if he ever learns what my ‘crime’ was.
I am Torg. I have waited 34 rotations for a mate of my own. With this shipment, I was sure to get a fine, sturdy mate who’ll bear me many daughters. Instead, I receive a small, curvy, pale-haired female who looks at me with anger and fear.
It is only when we ‘kiss’ that I believe things may work out between us. But I’m hearing rumors that Starr and her shipmates are law-breakers. To survive, Dakonians must obey all laws … or be exiled into the frozen wasteland. Just when I have found her, will I have to send my mate to die?
Alien Mate 2: Alien Attraction is coming soon!
Last, but not least, here is one of the blurry, out-of-focus Northern Light photos. To the eye, the lights looked white.