Last night, my witty traveling companions and I set out to rename Santa’s Reindeer. Why? Because in our daily lecture, we learned that male reindeer shed their antlers before winter sets in and that’s when female reindeer grow them. So if the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh had antlers, Rudolph was not among them! And assuming that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and company were also guys, they weren’t pulling that sleigh either!
Accordingly, we propose that a certain well-known Christmas song begin as follows:
You know Daphne and Francie and Nancy and Kristen Charlotte and Scarlett and Heidi and Tristen. But do you recall . . . the most famous reindeer of all? (Ta da, da da)
Rhoda, the Red Nosed Reindeer . . .
Reindeer in December. Rudolph (l) and Rhoda (r)
I haven’t acted silly in a long time. Silly felt good.
This morning, as our ship pulled up to the tiny town of Finnsnes, we were greeted by about sixty schoolchildren jumping up and down, waving, smiling and cheering. They sang and danced throughout our twenty minute stay fueled by the enthusiastic response of an appreciative crowd packing both open decks of the ship. As the ship pulled away from the pier, we returned their shouts and waves until they shrank to tiny points of light and then disappeared.
Shortly after this delightful serenade, we cruised about forty miles further north to the beautiful town of Tromso which is situated on an island separated from the mainland by an inlet of the Norwegian Sea. Here is a stock photo of our ship, Midnight Sun, entering the inlet.
We decided we could experience most of what was included in the ship’s $150 guided excursion on our own for a fraction of the cost. A quick cab ride to the mainland took us to the stunning Arctic Cathedral. Then we took a delightful walk through a residential neighborhood to reach the Fjellheisen, an arial tramway up the face of a 1200 foot cliff. Just for fun, I tallied up the makes of the various vehicles parked in the driveways along the way:
Subaru 5 BMW 11 Audi 1 Honda 3 Suzuki 2 Mitubishi 4 Volkswagen 26 Hyundai 4 Toyota 9 Nissan 4 Mercedes 4 Peugot 8 Porsche 1 Mazda 2 Volvo 9 Ford (Fiesta) 7 (Who knew?) Tesla 2 Skoda 2
Not a Suburban, F- series truck, Escalade, or Hummer in sight!
Our ride up the side of the hill took just four minutes but was oh so steep. As I stepped from the gondola, I gave thanks for the yellow cable wheel that kept us from becoming human puree at the bottom of the shaft. It seemed awfully small for such a big job!
The summit offers spectacular panoramic views. Looking from the mainland back over over the inlet you see the town of Tromsø, surrounded by islands, fjords, mountains and the open sea. In the other direction lies the majestic mountain Tromsdalstinden, which rises almost 5,000 feet above sea level.
Such a lovely day!