Norway Day 4/5: Alta

We arrived in Alta, Norway relatively early, around 7:30 pm – you would have thought it’d be plenty of time to meet friends by 9pm, but you’d be wrong! We got a rental car so we could drive around and see the rock carvings in the morning and also get to our hotel. It took forever because they gave us a car with a flat and then Doug had to wait while the girl (who was very young and possibly very new) helped a million other customers slowly. And then felt she couldn’t just hand us another car and we had to follow her to another place so she could wash and clean out a just-returned car. It took forever. Our hotel, the Thon Alta, was like 3 minutes from there fortunately (Alta is pretty small), and we finally met up with Bjørn and Vegar for a late dinner after 9pm. We were starving! Our hotel, which was very nice, gave us a room with a nice view of the Nordlyskatedral (Northern Lights Cathedral). Here is the view out our window:


Thon Alta Hotel website (ask for a Cathedral view room! Worth it!):

And from outside it:

After a nice dinner, we got back to the room just before midnight. This is what midnight looks like in Alta in July. We are above the Arctic Circle now, so the sun won’t set!

Though we were exhausted (we’d gotten up before 6am that morning back in Sogndal), we decided we needed to take a midnight sun photo. So we ran downstairs to the lobby and Bjørn and Vegar were still there waiting for their ride home. Since we’d forgotten to take a photo at dinner, anyway, we grabbed a group “midnight sun” pic. There is no sun in it, but it was just after midnight here. We are all laughing because we tried to hold up Doug’s watch in the first pic and it worked poorly! Still it was fun, and I was really glad to get the chance to see the guys (who are friends from Abbey Road on the River and in the Norwegian Beatles) – I’d get to hang out with the other three Norwegian Beatles on our upcoming tour of Finnmark with one of their other bands (Three Men Electric Jam) over the weekend.


When we got back the room, we realized the big wardrobe contained a compact but full kitchen! (Restaurants are super pricy in Norway!)

Because one picture is not enough, here is our view the next morning:

And if that weren’t enough, we walked closer to check out the Cathedral again:



We also checked out this little church that Vegar told us is one of the few things to survive in Alta after Hitler went through Finnmark and basically razed it to the ground on his way out.



And back past the Cathedral on the way to the hotel.

Next we drove a very short distance to another UNESCO World Heritage site – the Alta Rock Carving Museum. I took enough pics there, that I will save all that for a separate post and jump to afterwards, when we met up with my friend Kjetil.

Suffice it to say the Rock Carving Museum is really cool and well worth checking out. It’s all outdoor and it is spread out so leave enough time. We didn’t. You’ll want a couple of hours at least. It also has a lovely view of Alta Fjord.

Kjetil met us at the airport, where we returned our car and then we went to hang out at his house for a bit. I was super excited to see his really nice recording studio, and meet his son, Leo, who is a little bit of a penpal.

Here’s me and Leo:

He was super sweet and we talked all about NASA and the stuff I had brought him and he asked lots of questions. So fun!

We got to see the little greenhouse Kjetil was building – wish I could have seen the final result in person, because it’s spectacular! It’s so Norwegian, I love it!

Kjetil let me play with his super expensive and high quality Neumann mic:


After hanging out for a while, Kjetil got a call from Kai that he was ready for pick-up, so we headed over to get him and then head north to Hammerfest for the band’s gig that night.