I have some catching up to do. Ever since going home for Christmas and coming back to Stockholm after, I haven’t had the time to write anything for the blog. Too busy with just being here, with starting and finishing group work, writing a thesis and enjoying the city. But all that school work is over with, at least for a little while. So, time for some throwback blogposts and stories. Starting with: Kiruna!
The day after I arrived back in Stockholm, we organised a brunch to see each other again. While we discussed going to Kiruna, one of the most Northern cities of Sweden, a few times before, the topic came up again. We asked ourselves why we didn’t just book the trip and we couldn’t come up with an answer. We ended up taking the flight that left Stockholm about 16 hours after we made the decision to just go.
We took the early flight to Kiruna, wanting to make the most of our time there. We arrived at 10AM, took the bus to the city centre and walked around a little. Sounds easy, but definitely wasn’t. There was snow everywhere and the suitcases were heavy. We also needed to get all our groceries, because the camp we would be staying at was quite far from the city. After a challenging, extremely cold, but hilarious tour through the city, a car from the camp came to get us and bring us to our cabin. We were super, super lucky and got a huge cabin with our own kitchen. We got settled in, cooked a big family dinner and toasted to the most spontaneous trip we’ve ever been on.
Today we’re going dog sledding! We wake up early, have a quick breakfast, drink a big cup of coffee, and head to the dog sledding camp around 9AM. It is cold, really cold. Like, minus seventeen degrees cold. So we get into about five layers of extra clothes to keep us somewhat warm. A little while later, we finally get to cuddle the dogs and we get some tips on how to work with the sled. The next two hours are incredible. We tour through the most amazing landscapes, see elks, and are actually dog sledding ourselves. Afterwards, we sit around a camp fire and drink some delicious ‘glögg’ to get our bodies back to normal temperature. Once back in our cabin, we nap a little, go through the pictures we took and talk about how amazing this was. When the sun starts to set, we run outside to enjoy the spectacle. You can’t compare sunsets (and sunrises) in Kiruna to anything else. They are so incredibly beautiful.
Today is actually already our final full day in Kiruna. Time is flying by. We get dressed in multiple layers of clothes once again, cause we’re going on a snow mobile tour! I’m a little nervous, cause these snow mobiles are beasts. But after a few minutes and a practice run, the adrenaline starts to kick in and before we know it we’re racing at 80 km an hour over the frozen lake. We visit the Ice Hotel (which was surprisingly cool), tour through some beautiful landscapes and race home while the sun is setting.
However, turns out that the best is yet to come. After getting back at the cabin and cooking some dinner, we hear a knock on the door and are told that the Northern lights are visible. We get dressed in a matter of seconds and run outside. At first, the lights are just white strips. But as our eyes adjust to the darkness, they slowly turn green. When I take my camera out to try and take a picture, we’re all surprised by the result. The camera is better able to capture the sky, making the lights look even greener. We’re all so excited, especially since we didn’t expect to see the lights at all. In the meanwhile, someone else from the camp started fire and we all gather around. We have some amazing conversations with people from all over the world, share our drinks, and run back to the frozen field a few times when the Northern lights appear again. What a way to end the trip to Kiruna. I feel so incredibly happy and lucky, I could cry.
It’s already time to leave again. We clean up the cabin and make our way to back to the city. We have some time to kill before the plane takes us back to Stockholm, so we sit down for some coffee and play a card game. This is turning into a proper family getaway. We talk about the trip, how time flew by and how amazing it was to get to go on this trip together. How the memory of seeing the Northern lights is now also a memory of being together, of how strong of a friendship we’ve built in the past months. An experience to never forget.
Kiruna was for sure one of the most incredible trips I’ve been on. I was able to tick some things of my bucket list I didn’t even know needed to be on there. A pretty good reminder to just book the last-minute trip.