London to Tromsø - The Northern Lights Express

Tromso Travel Blog

 › entry 10 of 15 › view all entries
Entering a cute plane for a memorable flight...

@ 17h10 [5:10pm] - sitting at the lobby of Thon Polar Hotel, while I got two pals, sleeping in the room upstairs ;-)

[I have to wake those two guys in less than an hour, so still have the time to write something of what happen before…]


We arrived on scheduled to Tromsø, and it was, for sure, the best flight ever!!! Not just my opinion, I also heard it said to my neighbour (in the plane’s seat), by an elder nice British lady that insisted to point her opinion, saying that she had travelled a lot but never got such a nice flight!!!

It all started at the Stansted airport, when we saw this cute painted airplane... at first we didn’t knew if it was good, for the fun painting, or bad, if they painted it that way to hide some older aspects… only then we discover it was our plane, and started enjoying taking pictures on the way in… while we make some passengers waiting for us to take the pics ;-)

Inside we seat in the middle of the plane, me and JV on the right (although that was the left side of the plane) and his father on the left with another gentlemen and a young lady in-between.

my "host", and me having a pleasant flight ;-)
Well I think he’s the one who started the conversation with the lady, but took only a minute to decide his English wasn’t good enough to keep the conversation, so he promptly offers me his place to chat with her!!! Well I’m not to good at staring conversations (really a little too shy for that matter), so I’m glad she started… giving each one of us a brochure of the “Northern Lights Express”!!! Which gave me the chance to get into a conversation with her… and lucky me… turns out that she was from the Tromsø Tourism Board, and a nice to talk too! 

So for a flight of nearly 3 hours I got the best seat companion. Among other things, we talked about her job, as she was responsible for the coordination of the Northern Lights Festival, which is the biggest cultural event on Tromsø that goes for a week with lots of music and other cultural activities, and takes place every year around the 21st January (that’s when the sun finally shows itself to the city, after a period that begins on 21st November), so better put this festival at your agendas!!!

I also asked about the life on a northern town, that normal stuff, which I, as a Portuguese, am not quite familiarly with ;-) and also got some awesome aspect about people’s behaviour that really surprises me… I always thought that the way we drive in southern Europe was something that only got to do with our hot temperament!.

you can almost see the author's name and Tromsø in the end ;-)
.. but this time I got a real life testimony of a typical northern girl, who went living in Italy for a few years and “learn” to drive like a Latin, to the point of when back in Norway realised how she got a different driving behaviour and almost had to re-learn driving the local way :-D

Probably people don’t find this story so weird or enriching, but those who already experience, driving in northern and southern European countries might get my point, and why I make such a deal of this story…

But there’s more, as I also fond out this was the first Northern Light Express flight, so without knowing we were at the inauguration of the connection between London and Tromsø without any scales!!! The cute drawings that cover the all plane on the outside, were made by children of Tromsø schools.

Tromsø musicians playing live at an airplane
.. and this was not the only plane painted like that!!!

The plane got a lot of people from the Tromsø tourism board and local travel agents that had been in London for marketing purposes of that flight, Tromsø and the Northern Lights :-)

The people from Tromsø tourism had the whole thing quite well planned so we had the most excellent flight, especially if you notice that this was a low-cost flight where we got coffee and chocolates and the oddest… music on an airplane and I mean Live Music, from local Tromsø musicians…

Ah! One thing you must know when playing live on an airplane… you got to be moving, so everyone can hear what you’re playing!!! due to the airplanes noises only the seats near the musicians hear them… so they really did a tour ;-) specially if you think that they also touring at about 800 to 1000 Km/h… so they started their performance somewhere over the north Atlantic to end it (I would say they took a 20 minutes performance) somewhere else about 250 Km’s away from where they started ;-D 

And so I had my first party at an airplane… still no one danced :-D

When the plane started the descent, I looked back and give a last look at the sun, as I knew wasn’t going to get an eye on him for the next days!!! Landing at a freezing arctic was also quite an odd experience for us, especially because it was getting darker at 13h00 (1:00pm)!!! 

Set foot on land, not so cold after all, maybe 1 or 2 ºC, and glad it wasn’t raining or snowing, cause we had to leave the plane by land… and… this wasn’t a big airport, but they really got to change the place they have the passport check-up! Because it’s too near the damn door… so we had to wait in-line OUTSIDE!!! and not just a few of us… I think the cue line was bigger on the outside!!! I also believe they didn’t get that many passengers before… with such a small hall… unless they wanna give them an arctic welcome!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, Ok, they amend that with a warm welcome inside the airport just after the luggage claim… yehhhh!!! Party!!!

We couldn’t believe it!!! Welcome party at the airport!!! With a big cake with both the English and the Norwegian flags on it, to celebrate the new air connection, and also with a traditional Norwegian drink!!! The cake must’ve been good, but can’t know it for sure as I didn’t taste it… now that “Gløgg” drink they offer… hummm… tasted pretty nice ;-) it was on its non-alcoholic version and it had almonds floating on it… nham nham ;-P 

Who would have guessed, just arrived to the arctic and already a warm traditional local drink to welcome us? Really?… at the airport?!!! Really great :-)

As I found out, later, “Gløgg” is a traditional Christmas drink that it’s served warmed with crushed almonds, raisins, nuts, and can be mixed with red wine.

the "warm" arctic feeling
 

Also a small note (especially for others Portuguese fellows :-) just to state something I always knew ;-) There are Portuguese everywhere in the world ;-) its unbelievable! There I was standing still in the middle of other people (on that welcome party at the airport), and someone approaches and give me a Good Afternoon! [in Portuguese, that was “Boa Tarde”] and we weren’t even talking in Portuguese at the time… but there he was a Portuguese from Faro (sunny Algarve) living and working, as a tourist guide, in a arctic city… hard to believe!!!

 

IceTea says:
Wow awesome experience. I can't believe they played live music on the plane. Nuts... But that's why we travel rite? :)
Posted on: Apr 08, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Entering a cute plane for a memora…
Entering a cute plane for a memor…
my host, and me having a pleasan…
my "host", and me having a pleasa…
you can almost see the authors na…
you can almost see the author's n…
Tromsø musicians playing live at …
Tromsø musicians playing live at…
the warm arctic feeling
the "warm" arctic feeling
inside the Unicef add tells us why…
inside the Unicef add tells us wh…
its party time!!!
its party time!!!
theyre on the fastest tour of the…
they're on the fastest tour of th…
approaching the grown...
approaching the grown...
you can see the main road and the …
you can see the main road and the…
approaching Tromsø island...
approaching Tromsø island...
above Tromsø island...
above Tromsø island...
almost there...
almost there...
just landed on Tromsø airport :-)
just landed on Tromsø airport :-)
we liked a lot that kids paintings…
we liked a lot that kids painting…
Tromso
photo by: Biedjee