After almost two weeks of non-stop driving and exploring, we flew into Tromso excited about the prospect of a few days of relaxing. I didn't know a lot about the city before arriving, but was soon pleased we'd given ourselves some time there.
The city itself is small and easily walkable, combining a stunning natural setting with a distinctly urban feel. Although situated within the Arctic Circle, the summer sun was bright and warm, although we struggled to adapt to the almost twenty-four hour daylight. A graceful arched bridge led over over the Arctic cathedral, its incredible stained glass window projecting a rainbow of colours across one side.
We took the cable car up to the top of Mt Storsteinen, admiring the view before choosing a hiking route following the curving water below and enjoying a few hours' fresh air.
During one of our days in the city, we walked out to the botanical gardens - a long trudge, but worth the trip - a huge collection of arctic and cold climate flora littered the compact, well-maintained gardens, and the attached cafe did fantastic fresh waffles and juice.
The highlight of our time, however, was the polar museum. Incredibly informative without becoming overwhelming, it had an excellent collection of artefacts from various polar expeditions, including a range of sadly stuffed arctic animals. Outside the hut the museum is housed in, we watched the water lap the pier, pointing out numerous large pale purple jellyfish gently moving through the underwater plants.
But after just three short days, it was time to catch another flight, leaving the sun and blue skies behind as we flew north once again, to Svalbard.