After having spent a few weeks in school, on exchange in Sweden, I decided together with my newly made friends, to do something special. We booked train tickets to Kiruna, north of the polar circle, to do and see things we would not be able to see or do back home. We went there in March, and various studies on the internet told us that that would be a great time to see the northern lights. Fingers crossed! So, it was a 23 hour train ride to get there, and a pretty special one. We had to change trains in Gothenburg and Stockholm. We got to Gothenburg right on time, boarded the train to Stockholm and waited for it to depart. And waited, and waited… Apparently a man in our compartment carried a gun, and someone had called the police. We had to wait for the police to get there and to take this person in. This all happened rather peacefully, but still I was a bit scared by the whole thing. But, our train left Gothenburg with a 23 minute delay, and our changing time in Stockholm would only be 28 minutes.. Oh dear, how was this going to turn out?!
Well, on our way to Stockholm, the ticket collector came by and saw on her information that we had to catch a train to Kiruna. She immediately told us not to worry, she was counting everyone on the train who had to take a connecting train, told us to go to the information desk at Stockholm Central Station and it would all be sorted. We did as we were told. At the information desk they gave us meal tickets of € 10 per person, and gave us an upgrade! We originally booked just regular seats, but our new connecting train was equipped with berths and we received an upgrade: three compartments, 18 berths for 14 people, no complaining here! All we did was waiting at Stockholm station for a few hours and took the new train to Boden. We had to make an extra stop and change trains again. Once arrived in Kiruna the thermometer showed us a staggering – 18 degrees Celsius. We walked to our hotel and went to bed; after all, it was a 28 hour train ride.
The next day we went to the Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel. Had a drink in the over expensive (but we just could not resist Ice Bar, and booked a tour to see some of the hotel rooms. The rooms were gorgeous. No room was the same; they all had their own theme.
The main hallway had these amazing chandeliers out of ice. It was all so beautiful. I cannot imagine spending a night there though…! When back at our hotel we had a nice dinner.
The next day we went dog sledging. The organising firm picked us up at our hotel, gave us ultra-warm clothing and taught us how to sledge, or basically, how to brake. Once the dogs were assigned to their sleds they started barking of joy. They wanted to set off as quickly as possible, so we teamed up, two per sled, and got going. On our way to lunch break it was my time to break. The dogs’ energy was really amazing, and breaking was actually quite hard. But, fortunately nothing happened besides enjoying the moment and realizing that this was really, really special. We had lunch and changed drivers. This time it was my turn to ‘just sit’, but it was not really comfortable. Still I was able to make pretty pictures and videos. Definitely an experience I will keep with me for the rest of my life.
Later that same night we had booked a tour on snow mobile. Racing on frozen lakes and through the woods. FAN-TAS-TIC! And… we got to see the northern lights! Not as spectacular as they are on telly, but definitely amazing. They appear right out of the blue, green/blue-ish shapes twirling in the skies. And then they disappear just as quickly as they appear. Wow, this was beyond my wildest dreams and hopes. On our way back to the hotel we saw some moose, but, after having seen and done so many extraordinary things, this was rather common.
The next day it was time to go back ‘home’ to Halmstad. This time we had no delays and so no upgrades. We arrived totally exhausted. This trip gave us some awesome memories and pretty pictures.
When travelling through Sweden I would surely recommend each and every one of you to go to Kiruna. It’s far away, but the things to do are numerous. Also pass by Halmstad. It is located near Sweden’s prettiest beach, Tylösand, and has various options for a good night out on the town.