The Third and Ultimate Night – this was the Perfect Night (again, at the Scandinavian roundabout!)

Lake Galgujav'ri Travel Blog

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@ Troms Fylke, Norway [down to the Finnish Border �" also my second time in Finland… even if we didn’t get off the car this time!!! :-D ]

So, I go to my room, to sleep a little, before starting our final quest for the northern lights... There, I fond my two mates already awaken!

The news aren't good, nevertheless, JV tried to put a joke on me, saying, there's a big snow-storm coming tonight and that we shouldn't leave the hotel.

.. I didn't buy that! For the real bad news... KS couldn't get a second car, so somehow we have to get ourselves a car!!! We agree that JV and father would rent the car while I get myself a 2 hours nap!!!

Only nearly one hour later, I was gently waked with someone telling me that I had to go do the renting stuff.

.. Because they requested a credit card, and I was the only guy who had the god damn card!!! But, even better... I should pick the car at the airport, and would have to catch a bus that leaves in about... 5 minutes!!! And the next bus? "only" in 2 hours!!! Great, 5 minutes it’s the time I usually take to tied my trekking boots.
.. Hopefully since I’m here, I already practice enough to do it in… 3 minutes :-D

There comes my stressful evening @ the arctic, again!!! Jump out of the bed, asking JV where he booked the car - hertz he said - the price and model of the car ďż˝" 700 NOK for a Toyota Yaris (one of the smallest cars available for renting), at least the price looked good!!!

And there I went «flying» downstairs (on an elevator ;-) on my way to the airport...

On the way, the bus crosses the island through the streets over the hill (without using any tunnel) which allows me to see the sights of a typical northern town in winter, as I could only see before on TV!!!

At the airport I soon get to the Hertz office, but had to wait for a while… and a while and another while… till the lady that arrived before me, get all the information’s and the keys and leave!!!

Ok, by this time I was a little anxious, and more did I get when I fond out that there was no reservation, and no car left… that’s right, they didn’t have any car for that night!!!!! It looked that this night would be another boomer worst than the first one! I start looking for other rent-a-car with an open office, while I was wandering why they didn’t had a reservation and the guy there didn’t knew nothing about a call from our hotel… odd! Closer to Hertz, Avis office didn’t have any one at desk… so I went to the next one �" Budget �" the attendant had a shirt with an Avis logo on it… I get his confirmation that it’s all the same office, so if he don’t have a car we’re stuck!!!

But, we’re still on the go… cause, Avis was the one they called and booked the car… all that waiting in Hertz office just to loose some time and get things a little more stressy ;-) but that’s not over yet… the price was not as they told me, as I soon fond out, it seems that price was for a limit of 100 Km’s, for 200 the price was something like 1000 NOK, but we had to do at least 300 Km’s and for that the unlimited Km’s charge was 1200 NOK… grrrr… this time I didn’t even had the time or will to negotiate, so just accepted, after all it was my last chance!!!

Pick up the car at the parking and the other guys at the hotel and leave… off to the site we were last night! On the way I still had to argue with a guy that wanted me to go faster… and that he could go faster… because this… and that… and how he have done a lot of driving without any problem… and some other ballonies ;-( and that’s what worries me, I don’t like hearing someone saying, “I don’t fall”, they always do, fall… and I don’t wanna be around when that happens ;-)

After a while we arrive to the same gas station we’ve been on the night before.

We made a pit stop and I also had in mind that I should eat something more, to prevent any more alerts from my body ;-) so I got myself a nice chicken sandwich and cold milk with chocolate (hum… I was hot inside :-). But we had to hurry up! KS had already arrive to the destination point and was already on the same site that we were yesterday, as we had just knew from a call, a few minutes before we arrive to that station.

The road, today, had much less traffic than on the day before and less ice too… but still the car on this day was less stable and lighter, which made me more cautious on the speed issue ;-)

After 3 hours driving we arrive at the border… pass through KS and is clients, straight into Finland (so know I can say I’ve been in Finland twice ;-) just to turnaround and get back in Norway again to the same place we were last night!

KS greats us with a big smile, the sky is clear in this area… this seams to be the right place to “catch” the Aurora… or for her to “catch” us ;-)

It’s time to install my tripod and camera! Was talking with KS about the best shooting direction, when he says the N-Lights were “on”… I could see a weak dawn light, so I get ready to capture it with the camera, but… damn it… it won’t shoot!!! How weird, I had charged the batteries, they couldn’t discharge so fast (even if it is colder then a negative 12 degrees it should last more then this)… people start talking about some activity and I don’t even have my camera to shoot… just great!!! I open the battery compartment to find out there’s no batteries in it!!!!! Could I just forgot them at the hotel?! Suddenly I remember that I brought them in my inside pocket so they would keep warm and didn’t discharge so fast, daaahhh!!!!!!!

Aurora Borealis in the sky and I start taking the pics… these first pics came out better then what could be seen live in there, humm… will I get disappointed!? Anyway lets make some photos… this is why I came here for to see the Northern Lights as they really where :-)

Some 15 to 30 minutes latter it all turn the other way around, as one could heard a lot of exclamations from the few people who could witness the wonderful feeling of seeing the lights coming from all directions in the celestial dome :-) and even if the photos showed a must colorful perspective, being right bellow this phenomenon with displays all around us, really worth all the work and effort to get here!!!

I think that both father and son were very touched for being able to share this moment together, but… I didn’t pay any attention, as I was more into taking a lot of pictures, shooting like crazy, changing the camera’s positioning as fast as I could and the Aurora allowed ;-) In my first pics I used 30 seconds of exposure time, which was getting me desperate… so, I try changing the exposure time and ISO’s to get it faster… I start feeling some distortion on the pics, which means the N-Lights were changing faster, when suddenly… WOW!!! We could really see the lights moving and it felt so really, really GREAT!!! Everyone is completely amazed and cheerful… one could hear a lot of WOW’s and other meaningful expressions :-D even the local photographer was very excited with the show that were held right there above our heads in every direction that one could look at!!! This was much, but really much, better then what the photos could show… and no words could describe it either :-)

So you think this couldn’t get better!? Wrong… it did get better!!! I heard people saying, “look up!” Up there!” and I go “WOW… It’s dancing”

This wasn’t about movement! Was all about the magnificent and wonderful earth mysteries giving us one hell of a show (as I can’t think of any word that can describe the feelings and the phenomenon that I saw that night)… the lights were making several shapes on the horizon, while the ones above us where dancing up and down like a rain of light beams that didn’t fell on us yet keep coming and going!!!! Truly magnificent :-)

KS says we have a Corona… think he was referring to the fact there was a circle Aurora displaying a ring of light… and what a big ring that was!!! That night we could see some odd shapes that resembled to some mythic appearances!!! At a time one could pretend to see an angel, because the lights formed a head with neck while from each side two round “wings” gives it the final touch… the shape extended itself to the horizon, reducing its wideness, in a way to look like a genius that is entering a magic lamp far in the horizon… I know.

.. too bad it was too big to be captured on photo ;-) sorry :-)

All the people there were super-excited. Never thought could see KS so excited about it since he’s been living there for so many years and got the chance and did see the lights many times… so I believe this was really an extraordinary night, like he said!!! This night his clients didn’t get so much attention, but, they didn’t care :-D He also took a lot of pictures, with the advantage of having an f1.4 lens, which means he could take good pictures with much less exposure time than me ;-) and this means a lot when you got a Dancing Aurora like we did ;-) Will have to wait till I get back home to see how my pics look like… got the feeling that some were faded or unclear, cause of movement!

Also the thrill of that moment didn’t let me get much attention on weather ;-) although temperature went as low as negative 16 or 18ºC, I didn’t care… I was so excited that I didn’t close my jacket around my neck and was breathing with my mouth open instead of using the nose, as it should be done to keep warm inside!!! So, I wasn’t surprised when I got some of my asthma cutting my breath :-D but it was enough to remind me to close my coat all the way up and start breathing with my mouth shut ;-D although this was harder to do as I was always turning the camera from one position to another… so I had to do some extra effort, which made me breath faster and open my mouth… nevertheless the temperature didn’t bother at all, me or the other people there ;-) when I wasn’t taking photos I was enjoying the live show… and that’s very, very important when you’re in the middle of such delightful event, you need to take pics to remind you later but, most of all, you got to see it live and enjoy those moments as much as you can, something that you don’t entirely achieve when you’re behind the camera ;-D

Also got the time to make a phone call to Portugal to FS, whom I knew was going to be happy that I got so many pics with his camera ;-) also decided not to call CR, I think he’s going to regret not coming when he knows what he missed!!! FS didn’t answer… after a while he call back and I try to ”show” him what’s going on… he couldn’t believe!!! :-D he also wanted to know if I could record something on the camcorder… no way, apart the fact that my camcorder didn’t capture nothing on a distance at night, it also freeze (literally), as it showed on screen when I turn it on: “temperature to low �" can’t access hard drive”, who had thought :-D also had to tell him the bad news… his camera also freeze, as I couldn’t chance the lens on the camera because it was sealed to it :-D and took so many lens with me and I couldn’t use then because that one was stuck to the body of the camera (and I try to release it using some strength :-) also let him know how difficult it was to get the ice out of the lens, as I was always cleaning it an it always coming back after a few shots (fortunately it had a filter, so I could clean it without the risk of damaging the lens glass ;-)

The N-Lights were really crazy dancing above our heads… and I just felt GREAT!!!! Delighted and Excited :-) thinking how worth it was to play it all in a single match… all the money I spent, all the time I spent in studying how it should be done, all the trouble I get for being so persistent about some crazy idea… and all worth it… in any penny and any minute!!! I’m not used to this kind of pay off :-D even when I put so much effort on it - generally it just turn out to be ok… not great �" this must be my lucky day… yes that’s it… I declare this to be my O.

L.D. - Official Lucky Day :-D

In the group of tourist that came with KS, we found the British couple, from Gibraltar, that went in search of the N-Lights on our first night in Tromsø… the big fellow was radiant and when we said goodbye he gave us a big hug :-) before I heard someone saying to the wife “darling, after this, I will always love you” (JV says that she had a lot of trouble to convince him to go on another ride with KS on this night ;-) hum... another happy ending :-D LOL

The show lasted for hours… I think we arrived around 10pm and KS left the “scene” around 12,30pm!!! KS and his clients said goodbye in a cheerful way :-) some minutes later we also leave the place… sad but we still had to drive for more then 3 hours and I was starting to feel my cold hands and cold, cold feet!!!! Although I wouldn’t mind waiting there for the show to end…

We spent our way back to Tromsø speaking, cheerfully and excited, about our journey in Norway, the planning that I had done on the previous 3 months and the way things turn just right!!! This time I got a lot of compliments and greetings from the mates ;-) for the idea and work done :-) Yes it went just perfect… i know I'm a little stubborn sometimes, but this time it turns into perseverance and that's really useful, whenever one needs to achieve something.

.. like this time ;-)

On our way back to Tromso we even got the chance to see a moose (it's true, it was not a reindeer) crossing the road in front of us, glad I wasn’t speeding ;-) I brake… he stopped on the side of the road… I tried to do some driving on reverse speed but he got scared with the noise of the car and runaway into the vegetation and the dark of this night (remember it was a new moon the night before ;-)

For another hour on our way to Tromsø we still could appreciate the displays above… I think it didn’t end before 1,40am!!! Once I even stop to appreciate another wonderful sight, as we were passing in the middle of the hills (at least I believe we were) and the lights above shaped a cone just like if we were inside it (like a Sami tent ;-) or inside a big circus tent, but instead of a roof we have a veil of lights moving around!!!! This time I also felt like I was in the center of the scene, like if I was the main watcher for whom it all went on, standing there watching the sky with the lights “falling” from “my” zenith to me and the hills around me… this time I also felt more the cold temperature outside the car so, after a couple of minutes we move on :-)

We arrive to the same gas station, we already been before.

By this time the display was already over… my first action here wasn’t related with eating, no sir, the first thing I did when I get to the gas station was to find a private and put another pair of socks, cause my toes where still frozen… even after more than 1 hour and a half inside the car with the heat directed to them, but what should one expect after more then 2 hours with both feet on ice?! The hands where ok by then, but the feet only got better with 2 pairs of socks!!!

Then I get myself a nice cappuccino (at least it seamed, but anything would taste fine by this time ;-) and with my feet already warming up we get in the car and head to Tromsø… where we arrive around 4am…

This trip had some really inconvenient stuff, some that i really don't want to write about, and most of all, the costs (the trip, the eyeglasses i lost, etc ;-) but, fortunately, in the end it all pay off quit well!!! Believe it or not, no words can describe this experience, you just got to live it.

.. then you treasure nature even more and learn that life is also about getting to know your world even better, specially this way ;-) and the more one gives to achieve such great experiences, the more you get in return... at least in fulfillment ;-) Like i did on this day!!!

This night I fell asleep in a very good, good mood!!!!!!!

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

Note: this are just a few of the hundreds of photos that i took that night! as I've had the opportunity to check, it's hard to see these pics on a CRT monitor, so if you don't have a TFT/LCD you might not get the full picture!

IceTea says:
Oh my god I love the pictures. They are amazing Manuel. I wish to see this with my own eyes as well. This whole story is a very special experience and seeing the lights is a moment that remains for etenity. Thank you for planting this wish inside of me. Cause I tend to make my wishes comes true :D
Posted on: Apr 08, 2008
mogollon says:
que fotos tan bonitas
Posted on: Mar 04, 2008
X_Drive says:
I loved reading your blog on this. And the pictures are wonderful. I had never heard that the colors are from the exposure and not what you see.
Posted on: Feb 12, 2008
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