After covering Stockholm in 3 nights, Y and I made our way to another new city – Tromso with gal pals AL and GS in a bid to hopefully catch some Aurora – Northern Lights! We were also sucked into all that talk that it will be harder to see the Aurora in the Northern Hemisphere from 2017 onwards, so we decided to go see it before it’s too late. In planning our Nordic Trip, Y and I decided to try out Exsus Travel, a London-based bespoke travel agency. Given we only had around 10 days for Iceland and a second place for viewing Northern Lights, we had some discussions with many friends that had seen them, and it seemed that Abisko, Sweden and Tromso, Norway had the highest chances as compared to Iceland and Finland. We decided to go to Tromso and Exsus recommended this lovely lodge called Lyngen Lodge located above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway, with perfect views of the fjord and the Lyngen Alps.
We flew on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) from Stockholm to Tromso via a connecting stop at Oslo. Unfortunately, Y and I faced a slight hiccup with our luggage missing for the next 36 hours when it somehow didn’t make the connecting flight to Tromso. Thank God, Y and I had each other plus our very important camera and laptop with us, and we told ourselves to just be Zen till the luggage was delivered to us at the lodge – a 3 hour drive away from Tromso Airport. It finally arrived in the morning on the final day of our stay in Lyngen Lodge, but I am definitely not going to spend this post griping to you about this, because the amazing scenery, the cozy lodge and the hospitality of the people plus our gal pals lending Y clothes and toiletries more than made up for this slight horrid inconvenience.
View of Lyngen Lodge – our sanctuary for 3 nights
Chilling out and enjoying the wondrous view in the backyard
My bedroom (Room 8), super snuggly with a cosy duvet
Lyngen Lodge was started by Graham, a trained architect and his business partner Elizabeth. They were originally ski touring agents but as they found more and more clients wanted to do ski touring in the Lyngen Alps, they figured why not have a nice B&B lodge here for clients who can do more than just ski touring. So Graham designed this cozy chic 8 bedroom lodge after purchasing the land and lives next door in a separate quaint house with his wife Veronica and 2 lovely children. Together with their team of energetic and fun staff, Graham and Veronica run everything in this lodge from fun activities like hiking, ski touring, dog sledding, boating in the winter season to even yoga during the summer season.
Graham has done an amazing job with the design and space planning, with the building mainly crafted from pine, timber and stone giving it a warm yet modern feel. It even has an outdoor Jacuzzi and sauna perfect to warm up those muscles especially in this time of the year. My favourite part is definitely the living room, which they encourage guests to hang out in and mingle, it’s an inviting space with the open log fire, quirky moosehead perched on top of the fireplace, a telescope to enjoy the stars and full length glass panels for us to just look out through and admire the view of the Lyngen Alps and beyond. There are also beautifully taken images of the Lyngen Alps which decorate the walls – all taken by Graham. We noticed a coffee table book – Remote Places to Stay published by Lannoo, and no surprise Lyngen Lodge is featured in it. Us gals felt pretty stoked about that for sure, and started wondering if we should try to visit the other hotels featured in the book.
My favourite part of the lodge – living room
Small clothing shop in Lyngen Lodge
Going upstairs to more rooms
Gorgeous images decorate the walls
Lucky #8 – my room key
Peering out to the sky
On our first morning here, after breakfast we found ourselves sitting through an introduction by Andrew, one of the reliable staff on the wildlife we can expect to find in the Lyngen area and also an explanation on how the aurora is formed, pretty insightful, although somehow my fluffy brain zoned out when he started to mention atoms and what nots. Apparently the sea eagles in this area are huge, they can be as large as 3 metres! And wolverines don’t just exist in Marvel comics, we can really spot one here, with them feeding on animals like the reindeers especially during winter time. Moose is in large abundance and moose meat is quite a common meat over in this part of Europe. During this time of the season, they lose 12 minutes of sunlight per day, which explains the sun is out around maybe 9-ish in the morning and starts to set around 2 pm or even earlier. I can catch the sunrise and sunset almost within less than 6 hours.
First views of the sunrise
View of the sunset at Lyngen Lodge
A stay at Lyngen Lodge would include breakfast, lunch and dinner, helmed by head chef Alex and his team. For breakfast, they lay out bread which we can toast, plus an assortment of jams, yoghurt and cereal for us to help ourselves too. And the chef on duty is always happy to whip up some eggs your style preferred to complement the breakfast spread. Lunches are simpler usually with a simple hearty soup served with toast. A light afternoon tea is served in the late afternoons which can be cake or some biscuits with hot chocolate, or coffee/ tea. Dinners are rather Nordic centric and 3 courses, with a tantalising menu that features reindeer, cod, halibut, lamb and salmon, although the dishes themselves change regularly according to the seasonal offerings, and a dessert to finish off always. I would say the meals were pretty decent for the lodging that we stayed at, no complaints honestly. But for those of you that are used to heavy lunches then maybe just drinking soup for lunch might not be enough heh heh. I do have to commend Chef Alex for even making a birthday cake for one of the guests that stayed at our lodge, which the team surprised him with after one of the dinners.
One of my other favourite spots in the lodge – the dining room
Alex – the head chef
Given the freak weather and it still didn’t have that much snow when we were there in the first week of December, our snow sledding, and snow mobile activities unfortunately got cancelled. Graham convinced us to join him for the sea safari where he will take a few of us out onto the Lyngen Yacht and be up close and personal with nature by the sea. AL opted out as she was still a little sick, and after some persuasion that we won’t be seasick, GS, Y and I decided to spend the day out at sea with Graham and Robert who assisted him to help us get fitted out in safety super warm outfits and rubber boots for walking.
I am really glad that we were swayed by Graham into doing this as I can now tell you that this is a must go if you ever come stay at Lyngen Lodge. Their sea safari conducted by Graham is really quite an amazing experience. I got to enjoy spectacular views of the Lyngen Alps from the sea, which is really quite different from when we stood on land from the lodge. I have never seen such shades of pinks in my life in the sky except this very morning as we set out to sea and saw these pastel shades just behind the Lyngen Alps, it was just so beautiful!
Getting ready for some adventure on Lyngen Lodge’s own yacht!
Love these shades of pinks and blues.
Graham showing us on the map where he plans to bring us.
Graham explained to us that Northern Norway’s main income trade is fishing, and he was going to bring us to see the oldest fishing village later on in the day. I didn’t even know that Norway is the world’s 5th largest oil producer! It’s definitely a boost to my general knowledge sitting in Graham’s boat and learning all these new stuff about Norway. But the most spectacular experience had to be the stopover in Strupen, a valley home to an amazing waterfall and spectacular scenery which brought to my mind scenes from Antartica, though I never had been there. I couldn’t have asked for me, this was really such an amazing experience despite the cumbersome waterproof attire we had to wear to trek. After taking countless pictures outside on the deck, enjoying the cool breeze and the view of the fjord and Lyngen Alps getting smaller from us, we finally arrived at Strupen. To get onshore, Graham dropped anchor just slightly offshore from it, and threw out a dinghy into the sea to take our group in 2 turns, given it could only take a certain amount of weight at any one time. We definitely felt a little clumsy trying to hop onto the dingy in our big poofy protective hiking gear and avoid falling into the sea. But once we got onshore it was just breathtaking. The water in the bay was just crystal clear and the whole place of Strupen seemed so calm and peaceful. We walked along some rocky and icy grounds, given the glacier river runs through there and finally arrived at the gorgeous waterfall. Just look at the pictures below and they will do the talking.
Graham in the dingy.
View of spectacular Strupen, and some of the group going out on the dingy.
Leaving the boat out at sea just for a while.
I really could stare at these views forever!
Trekking forward to see the famous waterfall here.
So much distractions – even observing the grounds.
Rocks, ice, and what looks like seaweed.
Oops, clearly Y and I are lagging a lot behind with all the photo taking.
Finally, the big reveal!
Time to leave Strupen, the sun is setting!
Starving! Time for lunch!
Mucking around in Graham’s driver’s seat.
Given we had a limited amount of time considering the sun sets so early, we made our way back to the boat after we took some pictures with and of the waterfall. I think in summer, it’s possible to hike further down past the waterfall, just that we didn’t do it. Once on the yacht, Graham and Robert served us hot coffee and tea with just some simple sandwiches. And we made our way next to Havnnes, the oldest fishing village. We were told many of the houses here are the oldest in their country stemming from 1856 and are the only ones that didn’t get destroyed during World War 2 in this part of Norway, I think it’s probably because of their remote location which helped them. And interestingly, as it had so much charm, when the Germans occupied this village subsequently, they liked it so much that they put signs up not to destroy it, what a rare treat given what I have read of history during those terrible times. We were also brought to see how they prepare their salted codfish, we saw so many hang around, each batch with different aging periods.
First glimpse upon arriving at Havnnes.
Some of the oldest houses in Norway seen here in Havnnes.
The sea safari was definitely a wonderful highlight to our 3 night stay at Lyngen Lodge, but of course we couldn’t leave without checking our bucket list – seeing the Aurora or what is commonly known as Northern Lights. We saw it on our second night at the lodge just when we were going to have some dessert and coffee after our dinner. Andrew our guide started calling out that there were some signs of seeing, and everyone dashed to get their cameras. Thank goodness all the guys working in Lyngen Lodge are pretty camera savvy, and had enough tripod stands to go around (since, yes our tripod stand was still lurking somewhere in transit from Tromso Airport). Andrew helped us to set up our Canon 60D camera and we set it at ISO 800 F1.8, 20″ which are the images you see below. To be honest, when we were there, the lights aren’t visually strong through the naked eye, as some who have witnessed it have told me. A lot of the images we see on the web are really thanks to amazing cameras and setting. But still it was still a sight to behold, and as we waited out there in the cold, we could see the lights sometimes ‘dancing’ through the sky, moving from the mountain to behind the trees and even peeking out behind the lodge which was the exciting bit. And we were lucky to spot some purple hues after the predominantly green ones. What a night!
Starting from the mountains and moving to the trees!
Swirls of neon green color!
After the greens came the purples..
Me with Northern Lights!
This was probably my favourite part of my entire Nordic trip. Iceland was just as nice, but I think the great part of this stay was the chillax feel, the sea safari experience – never experienced anything like that, and spotting Northern Lights literally just at our door. A pity there was not much snow when I went otherwise I would have loved to try the ski touring with Graham and his team, given he really knows a lot about the place, is fun and is even a trained avalanche guide! I would definitely highly recommend Lyngen Lodge for anyone looking at visiting this part of the world.
Lyngen Lodge Djupvik 9146, Olderdalen, Norway
Book early via their website, as there are only 8 rooms in total, plus the rooms with double bed are even more limited. They can arrange car service to pick you up from Tromso Airport to their lodge.
Last views of Lyngen Alps and the fjord.