Last week while settling into yet another evening of lentil curry and Twin Peaks (I know, my life is pretty exciting these days) I got a text from a friend saying that Dan and I had to go outside – the Northern Lights were out!
While I had seen hints of the Northern Lights before – the sort where I would be all “See that over there, is that the Northern Lights? I thinks so! Or… is it just pollution?” – finally getting to see a proper light show in Trondheim was pretty exciting stuff.
Dan and I ran downstairs planning to head to a nearby park on a hill overlooking Trondheim, but as soon as we stepped out onto our porch and looked up we both stopped dead in our tracks.
It turns out these Northern Lights were bringing quite a few surprises with them!
The Northern Lights are so bright
Dan and I had actually just been arguing over whether or not we’d be able to see the lights from the city center. When Van from Snow in Tromsø mentioned that she could see them from her apartment I excitedly told Dan that we would be able to too, but he thought not.
Well, he was wrong! And now I realize that this may have just all been his attempt to get me to go ahead and buy a bike already. I’ll get to it eventually, I swear!
Even from our well-lit porch in the city center we could see the lights brightly swirling above us. I ran back upstairs to get my camera but didn’t bother bringing a tripod, so I’m sorry for the super blurry photos – apparently leaning back and balancing a camera on your face doesn’t steady it very much. I can’t wait to take proper photos someday, but for now this is all I have:
Our apartment is the one on the left with all the lights left on, whoops!
Seeing how bright the Northern Lights appeared from central Trondheim, I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch them in the countryside. Like, I might just take my tent now and camp out in the mountains until it gets too cold, just so I don’t miss them.
The Northern Lights cover the whole sky
Somehow I had always assumed that you could only ever see the lights in the northern part of the sky – which now that I think about it doesn’t really make any sense. I had expected to just see a glow in the distance, but that wasn’t the case at all!
They move fast!
Another embarrassing confession here: because most of my Northern Lights knowledge came from photos, I didn’t realize that they’re constantly moving until a friend here said something how magical it is to watch the lights dance across the sky. I nodded along knowingly since I don’t have many friends here and need to play it cool, but inside my head I was like “wait, whaaaat?!”
Not only do the Northern Lights move, but they move really quickly! Apparently this was a particularly impressive show, and in fact they were even visible as far south as the U.K., but I couldn’t believe how quickly the stripes of light zipped across the sky. It was like watching a Disney light show, except it was nature doing all the work.
Often the Northern Lights only appear green, but this time there were bright stripes of pink as well, which made them even more beautiful.
Watching them is an emotional experience
In this post I half joked about how travel is like a drug, and someone commented saying that at least she didn’t feel like she was constantly chasing a high. The comment made me think, because in a way I’m worried that I am chasing a high. I mean, I’m almost always incredibly (possibly overly) enthusiastic about places, but at the same time, I’m afraid I’m becoming harder to impress. Like, “Sure your lake is impressive, but Lake Ohrid is even better!” Ugh, who wants to be that person?
But the Northern Lights gave me ALL the feelings and had me welling up with tears in no time. Even watching them in the middle of a city had me utterly overwhelmed by the power of nature and enormity of our universe. And it wasn’t just me – I think all of Trondheim put down their smart phones and left their television sets to come outside to watch the lights that night.
The Northern Lights seemed so magical even though I know the science behind them, so I kept thinking how utterly insane they must have seemed to people before they understood them. I mean, it’s no wonder people have always believed in spirits and supernatural deities!
I can’t wait to see them again – I think they’ll look even more spectacular against a snowy landscape!
P.S. If you’re thinking of making a trip to Trondheim, I’ve put together a guide for the best Trondheim hotels for any budget. And of course let me know if you come up here!
Have you seen the Northern Lights? Did they surprise you?