Far north in a galaxy far far away...

photos by myself: Sony NEX5n

Fellow Scanbalt travel partner in crime Veronika and I took on the ultimate challenge of hitting up the arctic circle to jump in snow, play with sled dogs, see the world famous Northern Lights... Well unfortunately the northern lights were dancing their asses off for us, but a blanket of clouds were sadly obstructing our views.

Starting from Stockholm, Veronika and I met up at central station and enjoyed a light fika before boarding the bus. There we were greeted by smiley Sigrid and the drivers who loaded our bags on board. The trip up north was comfortable and quiet until the large crowd at UmeĆ„ jumped aboard. The bus drove into the night and we made it to Kiruna in time for a lavish buffet breakfast. Later we went to the combination tour of the dog sledding and the snow scooters. What an unreal experience! I remember sitting there on the dog sled thinking, I am doing it. I am living and experiencing everything I wanted to before I left Australia. Right there as the light from the sun floated above the landscape I could only smile and reflect on how lucky I was to be there at that moment. The feeling was surreal. The smell of the dogs running/shitting wasn't entirely pleasant but you know, you cannot have everything. The snow scooters were exhilarating, I quite enjoyed the throttle and Veronika and myself were boss drivers. However Someone else decided to flip their scooter because they were rookies.

Later that day we did a Kiruna walk with sigrid where we saw the town church, the town hall and downtown which all overlooks the Iron mine which makes Kiruna such a prosperous town. I also managed to slip over onto my ass in the middle of town, in front of everyone. Winning. 

The next morning we left the hostel for the Ice Hotel and the Sami camp. The Ice Hotel is a work of art. It can only be constructed in -5 degrees and once it melts it's all over for the season. They employ artists to design the rooms, each with a special theme. It was very nice of the Ice Hotel to let us experience every room. I enjoyed the northern lights room which were minimal but had blue and green light projected onto the ceiling. It was very dreamy. I also slipped in this ice hotel and publicly.
After we visited the Sami camp where we fed reindeer and ate a small snack and drank some salty Sami broth drink which was quite nice (it tasted like a bit of beef stock in water).

Later that evening our group got drunk in a Sami tent at our hostel at Abisko national park around a campfire and I don't remember much, but I do recall our Austrian friends informing me that my rice crackers will give me cancer. With that in mind, I took my drunk ass to bed with my cancerous junk food, because I appreciate them more than they do clearly. 

The next day we went to Narvik which was in my opinion a waste of time. The city was boring and the streets were a death zone with the layers of slippery ice built upon a mountainous landscape. I don't know how people live in this cold, dark and dangerous city. Narvik played a huge part in WWII history and is home to many aircraft wreckages at the bottom of their fjords. The good news is that I didn't slip over here, probably because I was walking turtle speed. After Narvik we came back to be divided into 3 groups for the sauna/ice lake swim. This is where you sweat your ass off in a little box then run like a mad man into the freezing icy water of Abisko national park. I did this twice then decided to rest in the chill-out room where it is a heated room but not a sweat box like the Sauna. I am not much of a fan of Saunas, or lake swims in freezing temperatures, so two times were more than enough.

The next day everyone chose to do ice climbing or cross country skiing. Many of us decided to just walk around Abisko instead. Veronika, myself and 3 others took a walk through Kungsleden (the king's trail) which was more like a time and energy killer, an incredibly boring 1 hour trek in knee deep or slippery snow and we turned around and made our way back to get free wifi. This trip was over. Not without slipping over one last time of course.

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