I have been up since 04:45, yesterday was busy but not so much that I didn’t have a chance to post the story on The Northern Lights Chase, which actually took over 3 hour to compose, blogging isn’t easy, believe me! I got up at a sensible hour after landing in my pit at after 02:15, the chase had been cold, exhilarating and mesmerising all at the same time, the results were worth it and I guess that’s another bucket list item done. The different colours that you saw in the pictures are based on what gases are in the high atmosphere that charges particles from the sun energy, just like how a florescent tube works, different gases create different colours.
Science lesson over, today is going to be a bit more relaxing due to last night. I had planned a couple of museums but my back starts to really create if I overwork it, so I postponed one visit to the next time I am here, hopefully with the family and we can all enjoy Tromsø together. In fact as I sit in Bodø airport waiting for my plane to Leknes (Lofoten Islands) on Thursday, exactly that happened today, my back started to moan at me so I had breakfast at a local artisan establishment, visited the aircraft museum and then back to the airport to relax and be creative, well as much as I can!
I would describe Full Steam as ‘quirky’, in that it serves as a local museum of Sami culture and history, Whaling, and various maritime subjects covering the great wars and also the development of the early fishing industry to today, it’s actually fascinating. The fun part is that I had lunch first, more of that in a minute, I mentioned the museum, the staff added the cost to the bill and almost like Mr Ben, took me behind the bar to a curtain on the right and directed me up the stairs!
I was so relieved, almost to the point of having the sweats which then dissipated in seconds! I had picked Full Steam for one reason…….Whale. It was on a previous menu that I had seen and I was mentally torn as to the morality of eating such animals, luckily it wasn’t on the menu so I opted for the Reindeer Stew instead. Hey, before you start saying that is just as bad, Reindeer in Norway (and Finland) is no different to Beef in the UK, except they are treated better, not locked away in cages for months because of the cold, and they are typically organic and not fed artificial feed to ‘beef’ them up. I have since discovered it’s an evening starter option!
Jeez it was really good, the Reindeer Stew, served with an ultra smooth pomme purée (mash), and some lingonberries it was tasty, filling and certainly hit the spot. I had a nice glass of Tomassi Ripasso to accompany and finished with a typically excellent Latte.
The restaurant is quirky, but with it comes charm and character as the building is old, and filled with all sorts of memorabilia and ‘nick naks’ to add some ancient atmosphere. I paid for the food, which is extremely reasonable and also the ticket for the museum and was shown to the door behind the bar, and up 3 flights off stairs to the starting block.
The museum/exhibition is on several levels, sort of open plan and showing Sami life as it was a long time ago through a combination of exhibits, pictures, stories and objects used in everyday life, some would say it was like an antique jumble sale but that would not be fair, a lot of trouble has gone into creating a natural time-line, taking you through the ages covering different aspects of life.
It was fascinating to wander round and soak in the daily life of Sami People, not those herding the Reindeer which is what a lot of them do. We met some in Finish Lapland many years, this covered the other aspects of Sami life, fisherman, farmers etc. it was really educational and not something I was familiar with.
The collection is huge and must have taken years to collect, order and work out how best to present to a multinational customer base, visitors from all over the world visit Tromsø. I heard accents from the UK, US, Germany and Japan and I suspect some people miss this really important record of history. It took me about 2 hours to cover the 2 or 3 floors and soak in the plethora of objects and mass of historic record.
Tonight’s ‘last night supper’, was to be at Emmas Drømmekjøkken (dream kitchen). It was one of the places I had researched and decided I wanted to experience, it looked pretty good and they did tasting menus, I pre-ordered the 7 course option which is, in fact 10 dishes, and a matching wine flight to accompany what I hoped would be a fantastic dinner, it was beyond all expectations, and some.
So, I asked not to see the menu up front (the lovely Ukrainian waitress asked me), I wanted surprise and wonderment (I think that geezer Heston Bluthmenthal uses that word). I certainly got both in buckets, what a stunning, delicious, tasty, thoughtful, inspiring menu. Its easier to show you the menu, they gave me a copy after, along with a description of the cheese course.
The little cheese course was really good, a small selection of quite young cheese, each with their own character. The marmalade was carrot and worked really well indeed.
The wine flight produced some very interesting, unusual and well matched wines for each course and then measures were generous enough to have some left over after each dish to savour before the next course.
I have to say I have eaten in a fair few restaurants in my years, up to 2 Michelin Star, boutique, a variety of cuisines and this was the best meal I have ever had, particularly mind-blowing good, was the Cod and Mussels, the cook was off the planet awesome and will stick in my mind for ever. There were 3 waitresses that took it in turns to serve both food and wine, describing each dish with clarity and passion. I love good food, this was beyond exceptional and deserves being recognised as such. If you ever visit Tromsø take some extra cash and treat yourself, you will be glad you did.
…………………..Until next time……………L8ers…………….