The place where the sun never sets

When going to the Arctic, most of the people are interested in seeing the Aurora Borealis. I won’t debate the idea that it is an amazing experience and one of the most beautiful phenomena we can see on Earth. Nonetheless, since I was young I’ve always been interested in another feature of the territories north of the Arctic Circle. Every kid grows up with the notion that the sun rises and sets every day, with no exceptions. The only element that changes with seasons is how late or how early the sun sets and rises, that’s all. It wasn’t up until I was a teenager that I learned that during some months the sun never sets in the North Pole. Ever since I’ve been dying to witness it by myself, but money and time did not allow it. A boring week in May I decided that to look for an exciting trip for the end of the month, it was then when I found exactly what I had been looking for for the last ten years. With only two weeks of preparation and no Winter clothes I packed my things and left for Northern Norway.

How did I find the flights for the Arctic? It wasn’t easy, but a crazy combination allowed me to fly in just one day to Eveness, a small town close to Narvik, above the Norwegian Arctic Circle. I first flew from Barcelona to Billund, Denmark, where I had a five hour layover which I spent exploring the bizarre Danish town. Then, I took a short flight to Gdansk, in Northern Poland. For some reason, WizzAir operated flights from Gdansk to two of Norway’s northern most towns: Eveness and Tromso. Gdansk Airport was the only one in the world with low-cost flights to that part of Norway, and a perfect combination of flights allowed me to be on time for the twice-a-week route. After a two-hour flight I landed in Norway. The total cost of the three flights? 30€. This is what I call a once in a lifetime opportunity. As the plane landed at 23:30, I managed to see exactly what I had come for — the eternal sunset. The sun seemed to be stuck in the horizon, with no plans on hiding — just curiously peeking while tainting the fjords with golden reflects. I was overwhelmed. Like a moth to a lamp, I rushed out of the airport to take a look at the snowy mountains and the mysterious light that stemmed from their backs.

I was lucky enough to take the last bus to a nearby village called Bogen. I reckon it has no more than 150 residents, but you can search that up. I had no car and no money, so my visit to Northern Norway was going to be very limited, as I was relying on the unreliable public transportation and my own hiking skills to get to the places I wanted. I ended up sleeping at the region’s cheapest hostel — a small house in the middle of a fjord, far from the village. The hostel was owned by a Thai, and most of the signs inside were written in the Southeast Asian language. To my surprise, no one was staying at the house. I had the entire hostel for myself. I reached my room and I stayed roughly one hour taking pictures for my Instagram of the beautiful eternal sunset, still not believing it was actually real and that I was there after a thirty-hour flight.

The next day I went to Tromso, the main town of Northern Norway. It lies on a small island in the middle of a fjord. It has everything one would need, but the prices are not low. I spent my days feeding myself with supermarket bread and cheese and chocolate, which was surprisingly cheap. I still wanted to explore some remote places in the region so I decided to take the public bus to the furthest point it could take me and walk my way to a nearby village. I did not regret the decision. Although it was late, I did not matter at all — the fact that the sun never sets allows everyone to do the things one wouldn’t do in the dark of night. The outside temperature doesn’t drop and there is enough visibility to walk around at “midnight”. After walking for three hours across a lonely road parallel to a fjord, I reached Ersfjordbotn, a village known for having a waterfall that freezes in Winter. I will not attempt to describe the beauty of the place. Seeing a group of kids having fun with their skateboards near the small harbor made me think how lucky they must be to have been born in this part of the world.

Throughout my trips and hikes across nature I’ve learned not to trust the environment, as a silly hike can turn into a nightmare if conditions change or one is not prepared. I decided to climb Tromso’s most iconic mountain — Tromsdalen, as going to the top via the cablecar was too expensive. As I started the hike, I found myself with a big problem — the beginning of the train was completely frozen, and didn’t allow take one step up the slope without falling down. “This can’t be that hard” I thought, and slowly managed to go through the icy part to an area with several meters of snowfall , where the train was not clear anymore and I had to follow different signals such as footsteps or small sticks that showed the way.

The hike became harder and harder, and looking back was getting scary. I could see all the town from there. As I was admiring the views, a group of hikers that were descending were surprised to see me. In short, they told me that they did not know how I made it that far up without professional equipment (I was wearing my running trainers and a ski jacket) and that if I attempted to go down I would probably die. Yes, they used that word. Fortunately and after panicking for a while, I arrived to the top. Enjoy the view!

Thanks for reading!

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