Including sports as you've never seen them before...
15.08.2009 - 15.08.2009
It’s the weekend, and everyone’s relaxing. For me, this means I get a vacation from my long-winded blogging ways! Today & tomorrow’s entries are going to be mostly picture-driven – and as you’ll see, that’s not going to be a bad thing.
Saturday morning came far too early for all three of us. While I shut my eyes tight and tried to catch a few more winks, Mom and Dad made their final baggage check. The taxi arrived, and I said goodbye to the last family I’ll see for four months. I was overwhelmed by emotion – though it was primarily a burning desire to go back to bed. All kidding aside, I’m very glad they both came up for a vacation – it was special to share part of this journey with them.
After sleeping in until nearly noon (which is unheard of in my world), I headed to UiT for the International Student Secondhand Market. More than just a garage sale, it was like Sheps on Hot Wing Friday – everything’s up for grabs, first-come first-served, and if the big guy gets ahead of you in line, you may wind up with little more than scraps.
(especially if he’s also loading up plates to take back to his room.)
Imagine, if you will, fifty students told that everything in sight is theirs for the taking – as long as someone doesn’t take it first.
That’s right – STAMPEDE!!!
When the clock struck two, the mob pounced. It was worse than the mall on December 24th. However, I planned out my route in advance, and wound up with the following:
- desk lamp
- full utensil set
- office supplies
- extension cord
Did I mention it was all free? Pretty neat, eh? There was a donation box for Amnesty International, and even though they didn’t issue charitable donation receipts, I dropped in a little thank-you for the well-priced merchandise.
We headed up to the Café Bodega for more waffles and tea – I swear, those things can cause chemical dependency.
THE FIRST HIKE
Resolving to not waste the entire day, I and three of the other international students decided to attempt the hike across the island. Tromsøya is mostly populated about the edges, and there is quite a bit of wilderness in the middle. The city maintains a walking / cross-country skiing path along the whole length of the island, and this provides a very pleasant and direct path for any sort of man-powered transport.
After half our party decided they’d rather sleep, Linnea (the Finn) and I set out from my dormitory (Elverhøy in the south-centre of the island) to hers (Ørndalen on the north end of the island). As the crow flies, it’s just over six kilometers – not too long, and not too short. We set out to learn more about the island and to take some great pictures. However, my little Canon Powershot was quickly outclassed by her Nikon Digital SLR, with tripod, a massive zoom lens, and a little tray of flash powder.
(okay, I made that one up – but it would have been pretty cool.)
Hopefully, you enjoy my pictures – I’ll try to get the better ones later!
Our first stop was at Prestvannet Lake, a small but scenic body of water on top of the island:
A short walk from my residence, I found out later that I’ll be seeing it a lot – but you’ll have to wait until Monday’s account for that story. There’s also something about being on a lake on an island that’s pretty cool – kind of like when you get two mirrors together…
Next, there was this absolutely beautiful stand of spruce in an otherwise mixed forest that completely struck me as something you’d find at Clear Lake:
I hope I managed to capture it, but trust me, it would have been very difficult to realize that I was not near Wasagaming, MB (the rest of the island is more of a mixed forest).
THE GREAT NORWEGIAN SPORTS PARK
We’d seen signs for some sort of sports park up ahead. We came into a clearing and I was immediately distracted by the mountains. Again. You’d think by now I’d be adjusted… but still no.
However, when my sights came back to ground level:
I jumped for joy.
No, actually. I did. Feet left the ground and everything. It wasn’t pretty, and it sure as hell wasn’t high, but it was a jump.
And of course we stepped inside:
You know, the polar bear is a tough winter animal – I wonder why I haven’t see them as hockey mascots more often.
Oh, and while looking up and seeing thousands of screaming fans is the Canadian dream, this view isn’t so bad either:
We continued on through the sports park and came upon this amazing sight:
Once again, wow. I would be completely useless at any outdoor sport here – I’d just stand there staring…
Our hike then took a turn further away from the city. We passed the University ski jump (terrifyingly high - but I still wanna do it) and a few more small, peaceful lakes with campfire smoke in the air.
We finally arrived at Ørndalen, and I was surprised at the quick feeling of envy welling up in me. Not only is the view absolutely spectacular:
but they all live in little vacation-type houses of beautiful hardwood floors and furniture. It was like a vacation home – seeing as how three Canadians, Linnea, and a few of my other friends liver there, I think I might have to visit more often.
It was well after suppertime, so I hitched a ride back home, fried up the leftovers from when I had good cooks, and crashed into bed. The next day I knew was going to be a long one.