Tromso Part III: Blitzen bites it

dogWatching the lights play tag over and around the mountains and fjords put paid to any residual wisps of cynicism. To have watched Aurora’s dance a thousand years ago, how could one not have been religious?

Dog-sledding, that’s how. If my atheism was shaken by the celestial show, staring at the wrong end of a pack of huskies the next night thoroughly restored it. While the Corona resembles a sphincter to heaven…well you know where I’m going with this. I had my misgivings (mainly to do with ‘dog-sledding’ being an ugly verb, like ‘spread-sheeting’) but it was great, silly, icy fun. I felt a teensy bit guilty parking my 14 and a half stone + another 14 and a half layers on a sled to be dragged across the snow by dogs with catwalk physiques. Still, at least they were keeping warm.

The idea was to squeeze two local activities into one: being hauled around by hyperactive dogs while gazing up at the Northern lights. In the end, Aurora didn’t show up that night and in hindsight (pun fully intended) this was probably a good thing. Given how much concentration was needed to avoid crashing the sled (unsuccessfully) I wondered how anyone made it round unscathed with the lights there to distract.

At the end of the last day, after getting back to base and thawing out under the warm, smug glare of the concierge, I headed out in search of somewhere that would be kind enough to relieve me of the last pesky money I’d held on to. Luckily such an establishment was everywhere.

They don’t do veggie in these parts. Something about the locals suggested that if I brought up the ‘V’ word they would rediscover their ‘V’ word (‘Viking’ in case you’re wondering) and run me out of town on a longship. I’m not exactly vegetarian, though I’ve never regretted meals or even months when I have been. When I do have a meat meal, however, I don’t have any qualms about what species I’m tucking into. I have the same issues about eating another sliver of cow as I do tucking into panda, polar bear or Pinta Island tortoise.

On the last night all that remained on my very short list of to-dos was to offend all the world’s gullible children with one last meaty meal. The last supper was a rare (as in lightly cooked, not endangered) portion of reindeer before a late flight away from civilisation. It was delicious but I found it hard to place: tender, slightly sweet and quite unlike any other meat I could recall. Accompanied by a cranberry & mistletoe jelly, it was juuuust Tromso.

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