Day 7 – our last real day
Our last full day in Sweden was spent much like the previous day with relaxation, beer and an open fire. We had a late breakfast and did some packing before heading out for some cross country skiing around lunch time.
I had never been cross country skiing – or normal downhill skiing for that matter – so I was a little apprehensive to say the least. I shouldn’t have worried too much as it was so enjoyable.
The guide we had was great, after kitting up he took us to a flat patch of ground so we could get used to being on the skis. They are different to downhill ski’s as only your toe’s are connected, which I quite liked but I imagine it’s odd if you’re used to normal skiing.
Our next two days in Sweden were pretty low key. We spent most of our time curled up in the hotel lounge by the fire with books, hot chocolate and more beer. It was pure bliss if I’m honest. Sure I am up for seeing as much as possible while you’re away but sometimes it is just as good and rewarding to sit down, look out of the window and just while the hours away.
The hotel lounge was also super cosy which made it very difficult to pull yourself away. We did however decide it was a good idea to take the short walk up to the hotel’s Aurora viewing platform. It was a struggle to get there to say the least. The “walk” took us up a very steep path to the top of the hill in deep snow.
As our tour was a Great Rail Journey it was about time we boarded another (and our final) train taking us from Kiruna even further north to Bjorkliden. A fairly leisurely morning we made it to the station about 20 minutes before the train was due to leave however it was unfortunately delayed. By an hour. As mainland European trains go it was unusual for it to be late and we were informed it didn’t happen often. Which in some ways was a little annoying. We spent the hour in the waiting room reading before finding our seats once the trained pulled into the station.
On our way to the seat we had to walk through the dog compartment….a place on the train where you’re dogs can roam free and sit on the seats. Not really my cup of tea but I can see the benefit.
As with our train from Lulea to Kiruna this train was nothing to write home amount. It was a much shorter trip but we had a window to gaze out of. Not that you could see much more than lots of snow!
Our next day in Sweden began with what became an almost constant, beautiful light, a big positive for the short daylight hours at this time of year. When there is light is wonderful.
Today was our first train ride of the trip taking us from Lulea to Kiruna. Kiruna is the biggest town in the Lapland area and is essentially a mining town as it’s home to one of the biggest iron ore mines in Europe.
The interesting thing about Kiruna is that the town is actually sinking into the mine. They are having to relocate the whole town a few kilometres away to prevent the mine giving way. The whole move (as you would expect) is being paid for by the mining companies which just goes to show the amount of money they must be making!
After travelling today was our first real day in Sweden was filled with excitement, not knowing how cold it was going to be and with the prospect of sailing out into a frozen sea. After breakfast (nothing to write home about, just your typical European mix of fruit, meat, cheese, yogurt and cooked eggs) we layered up and headed out on the bus.
After a short drive to Piteå we glimpsed the first site of the Piteålven River which is the gateway onto the Bothnian Sea…which is we were lucky would be frozen! After a rather long way wait for a (one of the reasons I don’t normally opt for large group tours) we had the single most hilarious safety briefing I’ve ever had. The two youngish guys who I don’t think spoke fluent English muddled their way through the things they needed to tell us which really in the end was “don’t fall off the boat”!
Forward apology for lack of pictures on this post – I must get better at documenting the journey and not just the destination!
Most people would consider it a little
crazy odd to opt to go on holiday with their in laws but when my Mother in Law suggested a trip to Swedish Lapland for her birthday I found myself agreeing and booking pretty quickly. As a group of 6 (joined by some family friends) I didn’t feel too daunted by the fact and in reality it was wonderful. I am very lucky with the family I married into and as a result of that we had a great time!!
Our holiday started with a drive to Gatwick airport, a quick coffee before meeting our “tour manager” and checking in. We had booked on a Great Rail Journeys trip and our guide was Chris. It was a large group of 32 so a brand new experience for us who had only been on a 6 person trip to Uzbekistan.
So we are back from our week long trip to Swedish Lapland and it was amazing! As someone who has never been anywhere with any amount of snow before it was a little overwhelming being near so much of the fluffy white stuff!!
We were treated not only to the snow but also the NORTHERN LIGHTS!!! Not on just 1 day but 4 days!!! There aren’t really any words to explain how thankful I was to actually see them and for them to be so vivid! Bucket list item ticked!!!
Here is a sneak peek of 5 of my favourite shots while I type up the weeks worth of adventures.