Tromsø, evening 1

The flight to Tromsø was full, but uneventful, and arrived about 10 minutes late. It was … amusing … to see so much snow on the ground and in the mountains, since I’d thought I’d left that behind in Vermont weeks ago.

Lars Ivar was there to meet me, and then we were off to the city bus stop. Rather than $20 for a taxi, or $10 for the airport bus, we took a local bus for $4 whose second stop was “center of tromsø”, about 200m from my hotel. Sadly, “wifi” meant wifi in the dining area, at least for me, since my room was in a building across the street from the main hotel.

He’d asked that I help with a dust problem on his sensor (a d70 which I’d sent to him, sold from a colleague in boston), and it turned out to be quite the dust problem. After a fair bit of work, I think I managed to get about 80% of the dust off, and by then we were both rather hungry, so off we went for pizza.

Tromsø reminds me a lot of Reykjavík in the manner of buildings and color, and of Vermont prior to spring cleanup of the mess left by winter and snowplows (i.e. sand and gravel strewn 4-6 feet into lawns). And there was one narrow alleyway with a wall covered in graffiti where DoubleTake (panorama software) was quite helpful in stitching the shots together to get the full view.

Jonas Pizzeria and Catering had a menu with a lengthy selections of pizzas, on which I was able discern only a few words. It was just easier to take Lars Ivar’s advice: one medium pizza – half nacho and half taco. No, really. The pizza came to 200 NOK or about $33, and the two pints of Mack (a locally brewed beer) came to 120 NOK, or $20 for two. It wasn’t quite clear to me why, but Lars Ivar and his volleyball team had a photo on the wall, and for that, there was a 10% discount. So, a pint of beer for $9. Yes, prices do seem a bit high here.

The pizza was (surprisingly) good, and then we headed off to his flat so I could see his view, of which he’s taken so many amazing photos. It was … amazing. And at 11pm, there was still quite a lot of light. Met the flatmate, an astrophysicist in the making, walked back to my hotel; Lars Ivar took the bus back to his flat, and I went to bed, though not before chuckling at the sign on the bathroom door, “CAUTION: please shower with the bathroom door shut. The steam might activate the fire alarm.” I’m glad I did, as the fire alarm sounded at 7:30, but had stopped by the time I’d rolled out of bed and was nearly ready to exit.

The sun is out, the clouds are wispy, and I’m meeting Lars Ivar in the afternoon, then his girlfriend Marte, later this evening. But now, it’s time to enjoy what looks like quite a stunning “scandinavian buffet breakfast” with lots of fruit, vegetables, pig liver paté, cereals, “brown cheese” (the french do a better job), and mediocre coffee. And wifi pricing is amusing: 30 minutes for $10, four hours for $12, 12 hours for $17, or 24 hours (continuous) for $20.

Snow is forecast for tomorrow, but I’m on my south, so sadly – yes, very very very sadly, I’ll miss it.

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