Every now and then, we’re asked to build an itinerary for clients coming into northern Norway, and the travel agent or tour operator tells us, “These are very high end clients and they require 4-star accommodation”, or 4-star meals, or some other kind of 4-star thing.
That’s perfectly ok, because excellence in service and products is important to have. But here in the far north, we’re a little short on Armani suits and white gloves. You’ll find lots of Bergans coats and Ulvang wool socks, and snowmobile suits for sale pretty much everywhere, and lots of people debating whether Ski-Doo or Arctic Cat makes better snowmobiles (leave your own preferences in the comments, I’m not getting in the middle of those discussions).
And you’ll also find some delightful surprises, like a chance to eat a decidedly elegant dinner out in the middle of nowhere at a husky farm, where one of the owners happens to also have his professional kitchen. But we’ll leave the big palaces and tony hotels to the folks down south, thanks.
BUT… Continue reading “4-star Experiences in Alta”
Something about “the simple things”… a reminder about being lucky. And now in mid-November here in Alta, the fast-dwindling light is beginning to turn blue again – that’s not a trick of the camera!
Alta’s city center is just around the corner to the right – another five minutes’ walk ahead would put you right in the “bustling metropolis.” Even with 20,000 people in town, you’re never more than a few minutes from quiet roads that beckon toward the wilderness beyond.
I was out and about on Saturday – I met up with Tanja from North Adventure and her family at the Bossekop Market (a craft-and-food market with a LONG history that goes back to the old days when Sami and Norwegians would gather twice a year to trade for goods). We stopped inside the Sisa Cultural Center (http://www.sisa.no/wp/), a place that supports the multicultural population here in Alta, and also on occasion serves awesome food with flavors from around the world.
It was a great way to spend part of a day off, and a good excuse to eat cake in the middle of the day (my wife was at work, and I tend to eat things I shouldn’t when I am unsupervised). But as an extra treat, we were paid a visit by Ingunn Lyngstad with Alta Magedans (find them on Facebook here) as part of an exhibition of different kinds of dance and music from around the world.
And as usual, even when there is a belly dancer in the room, I also really enjoy watching the people around me. The reactions to the dancing are fun to see. Happy weekend!
When people ask what one can do in Alta, it’s easy to just answer “a lot”. We could be a little less snappy and say, “Northern Lights, dogsledding, snowmobiles, hiking and biking and snowshoes, ice fishing, the Igloo Hotel, museums and slate quarries and tours and eating.”
But sometimes it helps to be more specific and say THESE tours are available at THESE times. And since we like being helpful 🙂 you can take a look at the digital version of our Winter 2016 brochure – yes, in full and delightful color – and get a better view of what you can do.
You can see the pdf here: Winter 2016 Brochure, english
Need some motivation? Here’s an awesome picture of a husky dog by Stefan Dahlqvist:
If you look around in picture groups on Facebook and Instagram, you discover some amazing photographs of the nature in the area. Professional and amateur photographers alike find great success creating art from the surroundings, and it’s no surprise; this truly is a wondrous and wild environment.
But sometimes one gets a feeling of being lucky without a grand panorama. This morning, staring out my kitchen window in the middle of town, it suddenly occurred to me that even this ordinary view, without special lighting or a theme or any setup, made me feel really fortunate to be here. There’s a tremendous sense of serenity after a new snow, with the world so quiet and fresh and beautiful, and for a moment all the conflicts and problems and noise falls away and you feel, just for that instant, like everything is going to be okay.
One of the best things about the increasing darkness every winter is that the sunsets become longer and longer, and often more spectacular. This is one of my favorites from about a week ago. Photo by Niels Westphal.