Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 30 Tromso

After the hottest day ever, yesterday in Tromso (300C), we arrived this morning to rain and a chilly 110C.  However, the rain cleared by the time we set off to see what Tromso had to offer.  Tromso is well inside the arctic circle at 700 north latitude.  It is built on a small flat island 6 miles long and was inhabited in 1252, but it suffered a scorched earth policy when the Germans retreated towards the end of World War II and had to be rebuilt.  We visited the Arctic Cathedral, a dramatic church which reminded us somewhat of the Sydney Opera House.  It is made of concrete and glass and resembles an iceberg or a mountain crest.  The interior is lit by a clever combination of indirect window sections and three large chandeliers of Czech crystal.  The one large stained glass window in yellows, oranges and browns is of Christ.  It is quite spectacular.  After this, we took the cable car up the mountain behind the church.  The views were fantastic as we looked over the town, our ship in the fjord and the snow covered mountains.  We finished our tour with a visit to the Tromso museum.  We saw th natural science section and the Sami section and best of all we saw slides of the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights which are produced by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and the earth’s magnetic field.  The green colour is produced by oxygen atoms, the red colour by nitrogen atoms and the blue colour by oxygen molecules.  Tonight we had fun listening first of all to the Rhumba Jazz Duo.  The duo consisted of a male Mexican pianist and a female Mexican singer with the most fantastic voice.  She sang in Spanish, Italian and English.  Her “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” was sung with passion.  After this we went to a show by Brad Stevens.  He played Rag Time music much of it by Scott Joplin.  He interspersed his playing with a history of rag time.  He is an interesting story teller and an excellent pianist, but he cannot sing very well.  He sang about three of his rag time songs which was a pity as this spoilt an otherwise great show.

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