Friday, October 7, 2011

Alta -- into the far far north

Just last month I went to the arctic circle for the first time, now I've gone nearly to the 70°N latitude line, visiting the farthest north city in the world with population greater than 10 000.

Alta is a city built on the northern lights. Home to world's only northern lights observatory, I'm told the aerial light show is visible about half the nights. Wouldn't you know it, the two days I was here it was cloudy both days... and nights.

After a three-day workshop series in Oslo, I arrived in Alta for another set of workshops. I got in at dinner time and it was already dark and cold. It's early October and the thermometer outside of the Rica hotel reads 2°C. Brrrr...

Alta is home to Finnmark College where my 2-day teacher workshop was being held. By quitting time Friday, I had spoken almost no English for the past 6-days, including 11 hours of teaching teachers in Norwegian. They were a fun and friendly group and seemed to enjoy helping me fix grammatical errors on my slides. I hope to be back next year to work with these fun people again!

Alta city center is tiny, but nice and student friendly. Nearly everywhere are names and artwork inspired by the northern lights. Here's a few I spotted:

The Rica Hotel lobby is filled with pictures of the Northern Lights
This wooden art piece in the Finnmark College cafeteria is Northern Lights inspired
Another Northern Lights sculpture in the college's hallway
The new swimming center is called "Nordlysbadet" = "Northern Lights Pool"
... and you can catch a film at the Aurora cinema

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