Snowy wonderland of Trondheim

By Malaka Rodrigo

I had just stepped out of the airport bus and started walking toward the hotel with my new-found friend from Yemen who was attending the same conference in Trondheim, Norway. It was -10oC- freezing cold, but I was thrilled to have my first experience of snow.

Keeping my luggage aside, I bent to touch the snow… and that was it! I slipped and fell. Though my finger was hurt, I quickly got up and started walking again. My friend couldn’t stop laughing, but soon it was my turn to laugh when he went rolling down with two big suitcases.

Yes, that was my first experience of snow. I learnt that snow is very slippery indeed. You need special shoes to walk on this icy surface, but everything was expensive in Norway and buying a pair of shoes for just a week wasn’t an option.

But beside the slippery part, my experience of snow, the city of Trondheim and its people this February was a pleasant one.

Receiving an invitation to participate at the 6th Trondheim Conference of Biodiversity organized by Norway in collaboration with UN Convention of Biodiversity, it was a multicultural experience for me with over 300 biodiversity experts from nearly 100 countries at Trondheim.

Trondheim was the first city of Norway and remains its third largest today. Traditional houses in Trondheim are built using timber and there are plenty of these wooden buildings in the municipality. They were painted either yellow or red and most of them stand proudly by the river that flows across the city. The harbour is located in the city’s heart reminding us that the ancient Vikings lived on this land.

Trondheim’s ancient Nidaros Cathedral built in 1070 is also an icon of the city. It has an ancient pipe organ that still works perfectly. The conference organizers had also arranged a dinner at Trondheim Archbishop’s Palace where the mayor was present. Norwegian fish was the highlight of this dinner - there were salmon, mackerel and herrings served in different ways.

We spent the day listening to biodiversity experts exploring various issues, but the cold nights belonged to us for exploring the city. Trondheim was experiencing an extended winter and was fully covered by snow which added a mystic beauty. But the freezing wind penetrated any lightly covered body parts and covering one’s face was the biggest problem.

Rizwan Irshad from Pakistan had become my buddy in exploring this unknown landscape. A wolf researcher, he would come out on our night walks clad in a light jacket. “Remember, I followed the Pakistani wolf in cold mountains. So it is not a big deal for me,” he shrugged.

There were also three delegates from Spain whom we always met somewhere on the road during our night walks. I named them the three musketeers. A group of South American delegates too joined us and we walked along the snowy roads exploring the beautiful landscapes of the city until it was very late.
There was much more to explore in Trondheim, but this snowy dream had soon to end and it was a sad goodbye to my new friends and the beautiful city of Trondheim.

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