March 31st marked the maximum snow depth measured in Tromsø this winter/spring, with 118cm. This exceeded the maximum of last year’s in April 1st 2017 of 98cm. That weekend Tromsø was on Easter holiday – a time of the year where the city essentially shuts down from the Wednesday afternoon (March 28th) preceding Good Thursday, and resuming activities on Tuesday after the actual Easter weekend (April 3rd). Grocery stores, businesses, work and barnehage are all closed during these days. Had it not been for the beautiful sunny days, the city would’ve looked like a zombie apocalypse without the zombie part.
Evan had celebrated Easter at barnehage for several days preceding the holidays and we also went egg-hunting at a small commercial center in downtown Tromsø few days before the Easter apocalypse hit Tromsø. We took Evan to the indoor playground in such center, bought ourselves a coffee, and then began our egg hunt. We got lucky – or rather we were the first ones to arrive – and found two eggs, each with a surprise prize inside: a free coffee and a free entry to the children’s playground at the center… ha. Fortunately, the awards were good for a few days and we were able to claim these at another time not too long after egg-hunt day.
During the actual Easter weekend we went to visit Kilpisjärvi, a small town in Northern Finland (aprox. 170km or 100mi from Tromsø) where daily temperatures were still ranging between -26oC (-15oF) at night/early morning, and up to 7oC (45oF) around noon. We rented a cabin by the frozen lake Kilpisjärvi with groomed ski trails, also popular also for snowmobiles (apparently in Norway one needs a special driver’s license to operate a snowmobile, whereas in Finland pretty much anyone is free to do so – hence this place was full of Norwegians). In Finland, Easter is not a holiday, and therefore stores and services were open and available. We were good tourists at the one grocery store in Kilpisjärvi, buying most everything we could find featuring the Moomins – a famous Finnish cartoon about the adventures of a family of hippo-looking, white and round trolls, and their friends (more info about the Moomins may be found here). We got Moomin coffee, Moomin tea, Moomin stickers, Moomin candy and Moomin apple juice. We also watched Moomin at the cabin. But our highlight in Kilpisjärvi was cross-country skiing, and we had a great time doing so (the picture on the left shows Greg pulling Evan during his nap time at the lake). Greg also ventured to go skiing one of those early mornings so he could experience what xc-skiing was like at -25oC (-13oF). He said it wasn’t bad and that he was rather too warm while in action. There is just no way I would’ve gone skiing that morning myself, even if paid to do so.
We returned from Finland to a beautiful spring-like Tromsø: “warm” and sunny, yet with lots of snow still around us. The picture on the right shows Greg and Evan enjoying a walk from the Telegrafbukta beach in southern Tromsø. The sun is already doing its magic and Tromsø continues to look very beautiful as we’ve now entered the spring season in full.