Things I learnt in Alta in Northern Norway

When I told my friends I was going to Northern Norway in January they all thought I’d gone crazy. I hate snow – and I don’t like darkness. Seemed like the worst idea in the world. But when a friend moves north and says “come and visit” – it’s one of those chances you just have to take. So; a very early winter morning we left for Alta in Northern Norway. It’s as far north from Oslo and Rome is south. I had packed the warmest clothes I’ve ever owned and an empty memory card for my camera.

Here are some of the things I learnt in Northern Norway:

Snow in Norway is different than snow in Denmark

Snow in Alta

When the temperature hits below minus 15 degrees Celsius your snot freezes…

Dog sledding in Alta
Photocredit: Alf Ove Hansen,

White reindeer like to sleep in. Sometimes they need a good poke before they get out of their snow pile

White reindeer

It’s not dark 24/7 (except for two weeks in December). During three days there in January I had more sunshine than I had the entire month of January in Denmark

Pink hour in Alta

Northern lights are cool – but it’s not the main attraction…

Northern light, Alta

The Sami do not name their reindeer. They know them from one another by pattern – white-with-brown-belly or brown-with-black-dot-on-the-back

Reindeer closeup, Alta

Reindeer meat tastes awesome

Norwegian caviar on egg is not awesome

Caviar on eggs

Brown cheese is somewhere in between….

Finnbiff is reindeer-stew. It’ll give you some credit if you said you had it – and loved it

You need a good coat when it’s cold. But you don’t need to buy the full Sirius Patrol gear. All touroperator in Alta will provide you with the cloathing you need for the specific activity.

Equipment, Alta

Northern folk are really friendly. “Ah, det går bra” (don’t worry – everything will be fine) is a very common phrase

A Sami and his reindeer

A moose is the elephant of the north. It’s huge but blends in so easily that’s it’s difficult to see….Incidentally; did you know that moose can’t sweat? Neither can elephants…

A moose in the backyard, Alta

Minus 20 degrees Celsius is very cold

It's cold in Alta

When you drive a reindeer don’t pull the harness to hard – or you’ll end up in a big pile of snow….

Ridind a reindeer, Alta

Dog-sled dogs are very strong, very eager and very loud

Dogsledding in a winter fairytale landscape makes you want to cry. Which you really shouldn’t as it would turn into icedrops really quickly

Dog sledding, Alta

3 days is not nearly enough!

Check out my fellow travelers stories here: (Norwegian) & (Danish)

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