Our original plan was to head to the north of Scotland to catch the northern lights, but we’ve learned a lot in just the few months we’ve been mulling over the 12 Adventures series. I like to over simplify things. Makes it easier to leap, but the truth is the northern lights are not all that easy to catch.
Thanks to a guy named Tony who’s a fellow geek (but a far higher level), we came to realize that although we were pretty keen to be in Scotland we were not going to meet Meredith’s bday goal; “See the northern lights.” His highly detailed website/aurora forecasting system called Service Aurora made it clear from the latest check on the 3 day forecast, we’d have to go much farther north than the Orkney Islands of Scotland if we really want to see the lights.
We did a quick search and found a great article on Lapland, the northern territory between Finland/Sweden, According to legend (and the Lapland tourist division), this is where Santa lives. I have to admit, the idea of visiting Santa was really appealing. I totally pictured telling him about the song I wrote for him (Dear Santa,) and imagined him chuckling at the line about cutting back on the beer. I reveled at the thought of coming back home for the holidays, looking my brother Eddy square in the eye and saying “Ha, you lied (when I was all but 8), he does too exist!” We also had several requests from friends to pass on that they’ve been “exceptionally good” this year. So much excitement for sure until I met up with a local friend who asked if we’d be disappointed if Santa turned out to be a 24 year old British student, because that’s what he was when she went to visit him at Santa’s village in Rovaniemi (our intended location).
We decided to wait until the last minute to book our flights to better our odds. We checked out several locations in Europe and found that the prices had jumped up quite a bit. Then, I remembered a moment…flashback to me sitting in a room with a group of scientists and researchers back in San Diego. We had been previewing the show My Human Case and were chatting afterwards. They asked me what my plans were next? I said “Go to Scotland and see the Aurora Borealis (northern lights). In that moment, they all looked at me with puzzled expressions, then looked toward one particular woman at the table who turned to me and said something like “Hello…Oslo!” Professor Rigmor Solberg was in San Diego on loan from University of Oslo, Norway…connecting the dots? Before saying our goodbyes, Rigmor offered her calling card in the off chance that I ever do make it Norway with the invitation to look her up.
I did a search on Kayak for flights from Dublin to Tromso, one of the most northern towns in Norway, where you are “practically guaranteed to see the lights.” There it was…a great deal, easy 2 flights with brief layover in Oslo. Pretty much felt like an aha/worlds colliding moment. We even got a great deal on a stay at a 4 star hotel on the waterfront.
So, here we are in a land of the soft spoken…sitting at the desk by the window, looking out over the town typing this update, with 2 tickets for the Tromso Aurora Safari tonite in hand, a 6 hour trip in total. I’ll even be staying up past midnight tonite. If you don’t know about the little guy. He is a bobble head doggie that my dad (AKA Pop) used to keep on the dashboard of his car. Pop passed away in September. “Pop’s Pup” will be coming along tonite and on the premier episode which will be dedicated to my Pop.)
We are not “guaranteed” to see the northern lights, but we are promised winter wear, yummy cake and a taste of traditional norwegian black current hot toddy of some sort. We shall see, and share with you tomorrow~