Dancing With Aurora Under The Magnificent Glow Of The Northern Lights

Northern Lights
Dancing for us in the Norwegian sky last night, Aurora Borealis. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Last night on Hurtigruten’s Trollfjord, I finally saw it: the magnificent and mystical glow of Aurora Borealis. It was a spectacle that would have been worth any journey, but Hurtigruten had made it easy for us, presenting the after-dinner show from 8:30 p.m. onward on the top deck. I’ve seen a lot of great entertainment on cruise ships during my 20 years as the avid cruiser, but last night Mother Nature trumped them all.

Contrary to what I reported yesterday in Winter Cruising In Norway: A Shore Excursion After Midnight, Chasing The Northern Lights, which was that the Aurora Borealis often appeared as a nearly opaque grayish-white to the eyes, the display last night was a gaseous, diaphanous green, alive and vivid.

Aurora literally danced across the sky, rolling with the rhythm of a belly-dancer. I stood for an hour with 100 or so others and watched as she undulated across the Norwegian heavens.

At around 11 p.m., Trollfjord began to make its way into Tromsø, where we were to enjoy a midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral. The concert had an ethereal quality that complemented the heavenly dance I had seen earlier. Performed by a trio — a sopranist, accompanied by piano and Flugelhorn — the beautiful Norwegian folk songs and the outstanding acoustics of the Arctic Cathedral clearly moved many of the 300 or so of us who filled the room. With visions of Aurora still dancing in my head, the sopranist’s Enya-like voice certainly moved me.

Arctic Cathedral, Tromso
I photographed the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø while on a Hurtigruten voyage in 2005. Last night, we enjoyed a midnight concert in the cathedral. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Aurora Borealis often appears as an arch across the Northern sky. The ancients believed the arch to be a bridge between heaven and earth.

Last night, she was more than a bridge. She was the essence of heaven itself, presented by Mother Nature and served by Hurtigruten.

Northern Lights
Last night’s display looked exactly like the photo, without the blur from a long exposure. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

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