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Aurora experiences

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Hello,
Has anyone taken the Aurora camp and dog sledding tour with Tromso Villmarkssenter?? Is it better to do that with them or the same tour provided by Lynsfjord adventure???
Would appreciate any/every feeback on that. Trying to figure out if it really worth spending $500 pp for it??
Also, is there any other company offering the same tour at a cheaper rate??

Many Thanks!

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    We just got back from Tromso and spent the night at Villmarksenter. Yes, it was worth the money. We had debated going to Lynsfjord, but it seemed a lot further away, and we later did pass by Lynsfjord and it was a much long trip to get there and the weather seemed colder and foggier.

    I'm trying to get my trip report done, but here is the bit on the dog sledding:

    We did the Aurora Camp with morning dogsledding package, which was about $500 pp. I felt we would enjoy the sledding more during the day, when we could see the scenery, and I'm glad we did. It also eliminated one night of hotel charges, and the hotel held our main bags for free.

    The center sent a bus to pick everyone up at the Radisson Blu at 6.15 PM, but somehow the tour bus had been overbooked by two people, so my husband and I, daughter and her boyfriend were put in a taxi instead. It was about a 20 minute drive to the center.

    Once there, they gave out winter jumpsuits, great boots, gloves or mittens, hats and even scarves if you needed them. The gift shop had lots of locally knitted hats, scarves and stuff for sale as well.

    It was about zero degrees the night we were there, but we were very warm. The snow was perfect; very dry and soft.

    We were fed cake and hot drinks, then had a tour of the Sami tents, firepit area, the main dog area, the "kindergarten" and met about 20 puppies born that week. they talked about the breeding, training, and operations and everyone was encouraged to interact with the dogs and take all the photos you want. The dogs are all well socialized. After that we were free to watch the dog teams heading out with the evening sled people, visit with all the big dogs or go wandering until dinner was served.

    After dinner, most people sat on reindeer skins around the firepit watching for the northern lights. Because we were the only people spending the night, we had the whole big Sami lavo (tent) to ourselves. They laid out cocoon type sleeping bags on top of piles of reindeer skins, along with clean sleepsacks and fleece blankets. There was lots of room for our 'stuff" on benches (also draped with skins), and insulated mugs and thermoses filled with tea and coffee were set out for the night, and a fire was burning in the middle of the room.

    The best part of the evening was after the rest of the tourists and the staff left around 10 or 11 PM. Before the staff left, they gave us head lamps, plastic sleds (and showed us the perfect little hill behind our tent), and showed us where the owners lived.

    We sledded, laid on our back and watched the Northern lights and stars, and did a final visit to the dogs, before we cleaned up in the big (heated) bathrooms and went to bed at about 2 am. It was quite magical out in the wilderness, but with everything provided.

    The only problem we had was that the tent was not venting properly, so we let the fire burn out to clear the air. There were electric heaters, but we couldn't figure out how to turn them on, so it was very cold in the tent. Luckily, once we got into the sleeping bags, still wearing our snowsuits, it was perfectly warm. We all slept very soundly. We'd brought earplugs, but the dogs all slept when we did so we never needed them.

    In the morning, there was a breakfast buffet set out for us in the dining tent at 7;30. We did our dog sledding for an hour at 8:30. You get the option to drive or ride, and they let you switch places half way through. When we went, there was a leader team, then our two sleds, and a final sled with another person and a musher on board. It was a lot of fun.

    Back at camp, we turned in our gear, had a hot lunch, and were taken by bus back to Tromso.

    We were lucky in that we were the only overnighters. Otherwise we might have had other people in the lavo with us. For an extra fee, you can reserve a private lavo. It has a big bed and two smaller ones, again covered in hides. There is no fire hearth, so the heating system is better and there is a wall of glass windows facing the best Aurora views. Had we thought about it, we might have just moved our sleeping bags in there, as everything was left unlocked and there was no one was around to even notice!

    All in all, it was well worth the money, and the highlight of our trip.

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