We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. Click here to find out more. Allow cookies

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?

Pole to Pole

Day 15: Tromsų

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleIs this the same city I was in last night? This morning it seems butter wouldn't melt in its mouth. People are vertical rather than horizontal, and the chaos of the night before has been replaced by a pristine calm.

We drive across the long slim bridge that connects Tromsų Island with mainland Norway. It's a bright, beautiful Sunday morning and bells ring out from the Arctic Cathedral, a striking modern building comprising eleven interlocking triangular sections - representing every apostle apart from Judas Iscariot. Inside is as modest, well-behaved and self-effacing a congregation as you'll find anywhere. The first few rows are completely empty and the hymns are sung softly, almost apologetically.

Who are the modern Vikings - the lusty, lurching lads overthrowing the tables in the square or these sober-suited pillars of the community?

Towards evening the sun becomes obscured by cloud and a north-west wind ruffles the waters of the bay. Locals shake their heads. The weather change reminds me how near we still are to the polar ice-cap. Basil has joined us in Tromsų as official photographer, and already he has managed to find a Mongolian restaurant with a Japanese chef. Sushi and sashimi 200 miles above the Arctic Circle. Very odd. Not that Odd is unusual in Tromsų, in fact it's one of the most common surnames. Should you ever wish to stay unnoticed in a Tromsų hotel, check in as Mr and Mrs Odd.
Choose another day from Pole to Pole


  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 15
  • Country/sea: Norway
  • Place: Tromsų
  • Book page no: 32

Bookmarks will keep your place in one or more series. But you'll need to register and/or log in.