Abisko, Kiruna, Finland

Just got back from Northern Sweden, the part within the Arctic Circle. We were lucky enough to catch the Northern Lights for both nights in Abisko. The internetworking exam is next Tuesday so a detailed post will come after that. Meanwhile, here’s a quick summary.

Our flight to Kiruna got delayed so we thought we missed the bus to Abisko. We called a cab but then another bus came so we went for it instead. It turned out that they organised another bus to cater to the delayed flight. We managed to see the aurora when the hostel owner came in and told us about it. After going for the sauna, we walked towards the lake to try finding a darker spot so we could see the aurora better.

There was a school on the way with an iced up soccer court of some kind, so we divided ourselves into 2 teams and played soccer with a large snowball. The slippery court made it a hilarious affair with everyone sliding around clumsily. Whenever the snowball became too small we got a new one. Plus we only played on half the court, so it was like half court basketball played like soccer but on a ice hockey rink with a snowball.

We went cross country skiing the next day. It was quite fun and we managed to make our way down towards the camp near the lake. It’s much easier to slide down long slopes than to walk down them. We took a break at around lunch time to go grocery shopping and have lunch before heading back out to the lake. After dinner and another sauna, we headed back out to the lake again. It was nice and dark there so we got a good view. Unfortunately the aurora faded quite a bit when we got there. It was quite cold to stand there and wait so we played very active orientation games to keep warm. Some of them tried to drink beer to get warm but it was a pretty hopeless affair since it was mostly frozen. The beer cans had been quite badly shaken too since we transported them down an icy road on a sled in pitch darkness.

We took the bus back to Kiruna the next day and bought 1000+ sek worth of groceries to stock up for the next 3 days in Camp Alta. It was like a massive shopping spree.

The second day in Kiruna consisted of the dogsled tour. Quite an interesting experience. On hindsight, snowmobile might be more fun. After the tour, we asked to be sent to Europcar and rented a van from them. We hadn’t planned to do so at first but our camp alta cabin is 2km away from the main facilities and we also wanted to go to the Ice Hotel and see other stuff.

The afternoon was spent at the Ice Hotel. They have very interesting rooms, although some of the themes were a bit naughty.

After dinner, we decided to head over to Finland. It didn’t look too far on the map, so off we went. Didn’t manage to catch the aurora there but hey we’ve been to Finland.

The next day, we visited the iron mine in Kiruna. We had expected more but the tour was still quite informative. Played Pictionary with a laptop at night. Quite a hilarious game.

We spent the final morning eating up all the food we had bought. There was a bit too much of it but we were left with quite little. The only major waste was the huge tub of Euroshopper lingonberry jam which didn’t taste too good.

Overall, it was a very fun trip full of spontaneous moments and great experiences. If anyone is thinking of going to Kiruna, do go up to Abisko, it’s worth the trouble.

Ok time to mug, more details after my exam next week.

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