The Second Night â€“ an admirable Milky Way at the Scandinavian roundabout!
Lake Galgujav'ri Travel Blog› entry 13 of 15 › view all entries
As soon we
return to the hotel (after our amazing Dog-Sledding experience and even before
the visit to Polaria), we started discussing what the hell should you do, in
order to search for the
Plan A â€“ go
to Villmarkssenter sit in a Sami tent and wait for the
Plan B â€“ take a bus that goes to the TromsĂ¸ outskirts, go to the end of the line and found yourself a nice dark street alley ;-)
I must say
that I made plan A in
No time to waste, ask the receptionist to fond a rent-a-car that could do it (meaning rent a car ;-) which on Sundays is an hard task)â€¦ at the airport they all say no! Finally a yes from Hertz on the cityâ€™s centre! They had one (and only one) car available at the terrific price of 1600NOK (about â‚¬200 or $315 for a dayâ€¦ I just thought â€ś@ÂŁÂ§#â‚¬&$#â€ť!!!) â€“ â€śOk, say to them that weâ€™ll go thereâ€¦ before they run out of cars!â€ť I told the recepcionist
Me and JV
walk to the Hertz office and on the way, while JV was trying to convince me
that we had to accept, I convince him to let me try and negotiate with the guys
there to rent the car only for the nightâ€¦ so when we get there and he confirm
the price, there I was saying to the guy that (he was about to close the
office) the price was to heavy for a Portuguese (this wasnâ€™t a lie ;-) and that
I could deliver the car when they open next morningâ€¦ and so onâ€¦ I finally did
break a little of the Norwegian ice and he gives another offer â€“ 1200 NOK â€“ JV
wanted to accept right away, but the Scrooge in me keep saying this wasnâ€™t a
good deal, so I talked to JV to have a little more patience so I can convince
the guy to lower his offer a little bitâ€¦ after all they could rent the car
again the next day, so for them it was a great deal to rent the car for the
While I was talking to JV (in Portuguese with an attitude like saying to JV Iâ€™m not interested â€“ which wasnâ€™t that right) I saw the guy making some calculations on his own, so â€śJV keep it coolâ€ť!!! â€¦ and the final offer (his own words) was 1060 NOK!
Not sure if I could get a lower one but it was too late (more then 6pm already) so I accepted right away and tell the guy to hurry with the contractâ€¦ which he didnâ€™t he took him an eternity to fill it all up and give me the papers to signâ€¦ plus JV, and his big mouth, says he wants to drive as well, so instead of 1060 we paid 1100 NOK! All that work, Grrrrrr!!!
So weâ€™re offâ€¦ with a good car - Skoda Octavia 4x4 â€“ but to damn lateâ€¦ and thatâ€™s when JV starts getting on my nerves! After picking his father and the photo material at the hotel, he wants to find a gas station in the city! But why if you got the car filled up and there are others on the way!? Because he needs to smoke!!! That was a big surprise for meâ€¦ I mean I knew he smoked, but I didnâ€™t know he was so addicted that he couldnâ€™t leave without them!!! There he was trying to convince me we also needed a roadmap â€“ although I had one of Troms for the biggest part of the ride â€“ still we were loosing more precious time, so there we go to the gas station (that didnâ€™t had roadmaps) to buy cigarsâ€¦ so only by 7:30pm I manage to get out of TromsĂ¸! Although we didnâ€™t get in touch with KS, I knew the photographer probably got out of town by 6pm, so this could compromise that we reach a good place inland before the Lights were gone!!! The sky in TromsĂ¸ was heavy clouded, so I believed we would have to drive something like 200Km (125miles) at a speed of 40-50Km/h, which meant more then 4 hours!!!
My plan was to get to the Finnish border and then inside the country till we get clear skyâ€¦ but after a while JV starts seeing stars and want me to stop right there (this was a Sunday evening with a lot of traffic on this main road!!!) or turn to the hills!!! There I go with him insisting on his, till I finally get to a place I can stop and get out of the car, to see thereâ€™s a cloudy sky everywhereâ€¦ also had to convince him the lights he sees are south and from some village ;-)
about 1h30m till we found the first gas station and this time I also wanted to
check the roadmap, so need to buy one â€“ at this time the average speed was
about 50Km/h with a complete cloudy sky, so I still worried, but not JV â€“ there
we went to buy the map and guess what?.
While on the road JV was in contact with KS through his mobile phone, so we already knew he was about 10-15Km from Skibotnâ€¦ which was also on our way!
Another hour driving, on an even more icy road with lots of trucks and some rain, we approach the place KS was supposed to be, but after reaching 15Km after Skibotn we went forward and didnâ€™t get any sign of him (at some point I even entered a forest road to see if could reach some viewpoint where he might beâ€¦ no, JV says he told him he was on the road side)!!! More 20 or 30 Kmâ€™s and we reach the Finnish border without any sigh of KS, so we loose him!
As we were
We enter Finland, only for 2 or 3Km, but enough to make it a time for celebrations as none of us has ever been to Finlandâ€¦ so, itâ€™s photo time!!! And also a time for JVâ€™s father to remember, cause he wanted to get a picture near the countries road signâ€¦ while I kept repeating donâ€™t go there (seems no one listens to me ;-)â€¦ he got stuck on the snow and his son had to give him a hand to pull him out of there! Ufff!!!
So there we
wereâ€¦ KS with a van full of tourists (plus his friend in the other car with
another 2 or 3) and the 3 Portuguese they couldnâ€™t get ride of ;-Dâ€¦ waiting for
As the sky was getting even clearer, KS give us some hope that this could be the day!!!
Time for me to eat something! I still had some of my Portuguese food, so I took a bite and start offering to the Norwegian team and his customers some of my mothers cookingâ€¦ which they enjoyed a lot! KS and specially his â€śbigâ€ť friend were delighted with those â€śBolinhos de Bacalhauâ€ť I gave them (little balls of smashed potatoes with stockfish)!!!
We wait for another hourâ€¦ still no Lights :-( instead we got a very clear sky filled with stars shining so bright that you could think you were seeing the lightsâ€¦ there were no lights but a truly magnificent Milky Way :-) this was a new moon night so we had the luck to see it as clear as one could possibly get to see! There it was: the true meaning of the â€śMilky Wayâ€ťâ€¦ as we couldnâ€™t get more Milky than that!!!!
Also KS show me how to find Polaris (the star), while he was taking a picture of her with an exposure of 15 minutes (yes, not seconds) in which we could see, as a final result, the Polaris star in the middle of that photo, with all the other stars drawing concentric trails like circles parts around the Polaris centreâ€¦
got to see what you can technically call a low level
Nevertheless it was a great adventure, something to remember of (specially that Milky Way sights) and worthy that I only make it up to bed at 6am of the next dayâ€¦ even if I had to drive all the way back with two â€śsleeping beautiesâ€ť in the car ;-D only with my mp3 playerâ€™s music for company and a truck that followed me for the biggest part of the ride :-)
In the endâ€¦ after delivering the car and start writing this chronicleâ€¦ I still managed to sleep 4 hours that night :-D