PB Travels… Tromso – Snowshoeing in a Storm

Today we met a real life superwoman.  So post breakfast (avo on toast, how can you go wrong), yogurt and a hot cup of tea, we wandered outside the hotel to wait for our pick up.

Activity of the day: Snowshoe hill walking. Weather: heavy overnight snowfall, and it was still falling. Magda from Tromso Outdoor showed up on time, all smiles and positivity.  We drove out to Kvaloya again, seems like this is the activity island.  The weather was very cold, thankfully it had stopped (for the moment), long enough for her to give us a mini tutorial on show shoes wearing, walking – and the fact that you should definitely not walk backward in them.  We were 5 females excluding Magda – my gang of three and 2 other ladies.

The snow was up to a foot deep in places, so we definitely used our snowshoes to make our way through the snow.  It was a very enjoyable, calm walk, with enough stops and regular check-ups from Magda to ensure we were all OK.

Two thirds the way up was when everything changed.  We were basically attacked by the snow – there was a total whiteout, we couldn’t see more than five feet ahead of us, snow hitting us from all directions, the wind pushing us over.  We had to stop. That is when Magda the superwoman kicked in. She made sure we were all OK, fed us (yes, more lefse, but this time she had jammie dodgers for me – whoo!) and that hot, sweet Ribena.

Before Whiteout
After Whiteout

We basically had to stay put while the snow and wind settled down a bit – in the meantime Magda showed us all these exercises to keep warm – which was handy since one of the girls was complaining about ‘her fingers feeling funny’ arrrggghh!  We couldn’t make it up to the top of our mini mountain so Magda decided to take us back down.  But with those blizzardy conditions and it starting to get dark (it was 1pm), we took the scenic route through this mini wood to shield us from the wind and snow.

And we all made it in one piece down to the van – got in, got warm, only to discover that it was stuck in the snow! The adventure was not over yet! So once again, super Magda got out of the car, completely calm and collected, and tried to shovel our way out.  Unfortunately there had been so much snow – which meant we all had to get out and use our feet and hands and whatever else to make a path through the snow to the main road – in pitch darkness.  Fun and games – it took an hour – but we did it. Go girl power! and go Magda – one of the best guides I’ve seen!

Back at the hotel, we didn’t have much time to relax as we had an escape room to look forward to. There are a few of these in London, I’ve been to one near Bank station and it was brilliant.

This one was just as good – Arctic Escape (the northern most escape room, we were told).  We spent an hour solving the puzzle in John Winter’s room – and thanks to S, escaped with 6 minutes to spare.  Strongly recommend this if you’re in Tromso!

Suitably charged and ready for some food, we looked at our list of recommendations from the lovely Norwegian girls we met on the Vulkana, and down the road from Arctic Escape was Bardus Bistro. A beautiful, cosy space and a short menu.

Mains were approximately £30 each.  Not cheap for me, but as I’ve mentioned before, we quickly realised Tromso isn’t cheap, and decent restaurants meant shelling out a bit more.  Once again, there was nothing on the menu for me, but I was told there is a vegan risotto – so yes please!  What arrived was this beautiful plate of pearl barley, butternut squash, celery, mushrooms, lingonberries and dill. What a stunning combination – I enjoyed every mouthful, from beginning to end.

The girls ordered fish-y dishes, they enjoyed them too:

It was so filling, there was no room for dessert – but I did order an espresso – that came with a square of dark chocolate. Sorted. Seriously good coffee after the crappy coffee I’d been drinking.

A wonderful meal, couldn’t ask for a better way to end the day – the most adventurous so far!