I’m back in San Francisco after a very long trip home (around 20 hours over three flights) from Tromsø, Norway. It was great doing the workshop and playing at Insomnia; I really appreciate everyone coming out. Unfortunately I was sick almost the whole time so I didn’t get to see and do as much as I’d have liked while in this amazing place. But thanks to my gracious hosts — Annette and Simen, who went out of their way to show me around — I was able to get out and experience some of what Tromsø has to offer. I honestly had no idea what to expect from this place; I’d been so busy that I never had the chance to do any research before I left. Saying I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement to say the least — Tromsø is absolutely one of the most interesting and beautiful places I’ve ever had the good fortune to visit. It’s the sort of alpine paradise that conjures up idealized notions of northern Europe in the 60′s. In fact, Röyksopp hail from Tromsø and it certainly shows in their Epel video (below). I felt like I was living it when I took the gondola up the mountain.
For starters, it’s a city rich in quality design and typography, thanks in part to Tank (pronounced “Tonk”), an Oslo-based design shop founded by Tromsø natives who have now returned and formed a satellite office in their home town. They’ve designed everything from packaging for the locally brewed Mack beer to the beautifully executed branding for local cafe Kaffebønna (which now sits squarely in my top 5 worldwide list for best coffee shops — worth a visit for the awesome pricing signage alone). Incidentally, Tank’s Tromsø office sits directly above another excellent cafe, Circa, which serves up some of the best sandwiches and tea I’ve had in a while. And by the way, all that amazing furniture we have to pay and arm and a leg for here in the states? It’s everywhere in Norway… Even the smallest cafe will have some incredible couch chilling in the corner that only rich art director types have over here.
But beyond all of the man-made fare, the real attraction is the natural beauty. Tromsø is situated right above the arctic circle and, as a result, the scenery is nothing short of stunning. Sharp, snow-covered mountain peaks jutting out from sea-level make for some of the most dramatic and breathtaking scenery I’ve ever laid eyes or lens on. Sadly, the days are very short at this time of the year. That, coupled with the fact that I spent most of my time sweating out a fever in bed, means I only got a couple hours of shooting in. But that’s all the more reason for a return trip, which I’ve already begun planning.
So thanks again to everyone from Tromsø for showing me a great time. And if you have the chance, I highly recommend a visit — I feel very lucky to have stumbled into this incredible place. Oh, and if you don’t have time to visit, you can live the experience vicariously through one of my all time favorite music videos:
P.S. Anyone know where I can buy these Fribol Herbal Drops in the US? I got them in Norway, they’re amazing and I can’t find a similar alternative here. Although I assume since they actually work and contain neither sugar nor drugs, they’re most certainly illegal in the states.