"bLog means boring-Log"
sweden, day 10 (0 comments)
since we didn't get a guided cave tour we decided to at least have some fun with ski-doos (or snowmobiles as they're sometimes called) today
. so we booked two ski-doos at "camp alta"[01-19] in kiruna. it turned out that there's a frozen lake we were riding our snowmobiles over and then had a track through the woods. we slowly increased the speed each time we had a long straight trail. we soon ended at 90km/h. pretty fast, pretty shaky, and... pretty cold. sonja and me had a little bit of our noses uncovered. we ended up with frostbites and dark red areas on our noses. actually i only uncovered my nose once for about five minutes. seems this was enough. sonja's burns were a little worse. poor her. ulli had no problems at all, her face was covered all the time it seems.
after having a lot of fun with the snowmobiles we got back on the car again to get closer to lulea. we decided to return our car there and take the night-train to stockholm. this would on the one hand save a lot of gasoline (thus money) and time. since it would have been a long way to lulea we decided to spend the night in gallivare. on the way there we saw two moose[37-42], and had again a nice sunset[47-68].
a few hours later we finally arrived in gallivare[70-77].
sweden, day 09 (0 comments)
we decided to go back to abisko once again. first of all because they had a free room for us, secondly because we still hadn't seen any northern lights so far, and thirdly we still wanted to take the ski-doo tour. abisko seemed the perfect place for that.
also there were caves and frozen waterfalls around the place. we wanted to go there. so the first thing of this day
was to drive back again for three hours. unfortunately no guided tour was offered for the caves, so we decided to see the frozen waterfalls[01-30].
afterwards we drove back to the hostel, had again the very unique sauna-experience they offer there at abisko, when suddenly... we saw them! at 21:44 some chinese guy rushed into our room and said that there are northern lights outside. at first we didn't believe it, because a few days ago a chinese said he spotted them, but it turned out to be only a cloud in the sky. actually there were a lot of chinese people there. one said that's because there seems to be a very popular blog on a trip through north-sweden. it also mentions this hostel we stayed at we were told.
additionally asian people believe that seeing northern lights gives a long life and loads of luck for the future. that's why we saw asian people quite often in sweden. but this time there really were northern lights. unfortunately not very bright and strong, but hey, at least there were some.
yippieh, we finally saw northern lights! again all my equipment froze including the tripod. i only took it with me to take northern lights pictures with it, and then some joints and turning handles just froze - weird. since, once more, also the battery pack stopped working, i couldn't take more pictures of this beautiful phenomenon.
sweden, day 08 (0 comments)
we went around with thommy and nadine[050-051]. they brought us to some nice spots near fjelldal (yop, an IKEA bed is called like this too). first one was a nice place where there were reindeer[005-019], then a beautiful beach[030-053] with frozen sand and the sea.
next stop was thommy's relatives, having a farm-house right next to the sea. there we had coffee (or tea as some of us preferred), delicious cakes, a nice talk, a cat[055-060,128], a baby[125-126], and a nice walk around the house down to the beach[061-091]. later we got a guided tour through the cow barn[095-122].
when we got out of the barn it already was dark again. so we drove back again to stay another night at thommy's place. once more we had awesome food like salmon and prawns with a very tasty sauce and white bread. nomnom.
the nights up in the north were so very bright and full of stars. this is so incredible and quite often breathtaking. i've never seen that many stars in the sky.
my camera really suffers a lot. the temperatures once more made it freeze, so focusing makes a really painful sound. also the battery did not last long again. warming up the cells helped though. and once more condensate fills the body and the lenses. poor canon. me on the other side by now enjoy the temperatures outside. yippieh.
sweden, day 07 (0 comments)
turned out to become a day of relaxing, talking and doing research and planning stuff since we had no car key yet.
thommy brought us to the airport near narvik where a bus was leaving for the town center. ulli and me drove to get the key from thommy's friend in narvik. sonja was doing the laundry in the meantime.
the bus ride took us more than one hour, but after that the guy with our key was already waiting at the parking lot and handed it over. we finally got access to our car again - yippieh!
driving back by car took us again more than one hour. losing car keys is pretty time consuming we found out. since we lost so much time, all plans had to be changed. currently we think about not going back to stockholm by car, but rather stay in the north of sweden (and maybe norway too) and drive back by a night train at the end of our trip.
this saves a lot of time and is less exhausting than driving by car on icy roads and in total darkness (since we want to use the few hours of daylight for our activities).
still no northern lights, but norway is so much warmer, due to the sea. temperatures range from -15 to -5 degrees. pretty warm compared to the -32 degrees we had in north sweden.
sweden, day 06 (0 comments)
we didn't do quite much since sonja lost the keys to our car somewhere in narvik, norway. so all we did on day 06 was taking pictures of the hostel's cat, going to narvik by car, planning our next steps on the tour to finally, after hours of planning, finding out that the key is gone.
the next few hours we spent searching in narvik for our key, walking again all the streets and places we've been to since we left the car. but no way, no key. luckily thommy, the guy we first met on new year's eve providing the people at the hostel with totally delicious salmon and crabs, gave us a call, since we said we are going to meet him today in norway.
so, instead of having a coffee with him, he helped us out a lot by doing all kind of mysterious phone calls to the local police and many other friends of him to get things arranged for us. so in the evening we had a promise of our car rental company to send the key to narvik train station by handing it over to some conductor where a friend of thommy would fetch it then from the station (our car rental company offered to bring the key in the same night to norway for around 500EUR).
thommy said there's only someone at the station a few minutes before and after a train has arrived. additionally he asked the local police guy (yes, guy - there was just one police man on duty at the police station for a rather big town on a saturday night) to have an eye on the parking lot where we parked our car before losing the key.
then thommy took us with him back to his house. a ride of a little longer than one hour. there we had a nice chat with him and his wife until late in the night. again we had absolutely delicious food like shrimps, salmon and other stuff they cooked for us. nomnom. hope the key will arrive tomorrow and everything will turn out fine...
sweden, day 05 (0 comments)
after getting up at around 09:30 and not much sleep due to the new year's eve celebrations the night before we were heading to the meeting point for the dog sledge tour we booked for this day
. again we met thomas, the guy we had much fun with since we arrived here at the hostel.
he was giving instructions on how to put on the dog's harnesses and how to tie the dogs to the sledge. all people were divided into two groups. the first group started with the dogs while the other group was brought to some other meeting point with some ski-doo where the groups were switching then. i was in the group to start with the sledge.
so there are four dogs keeping on running all the time, only stopped by a break you can step on with one foot while the other one resides on the sledge so you don't fall off. branches of trees and huge bumps on the trail made it quite hard in the beginning to stay on the sledge, but after a while one got used to it and felt quite comfortable riding the sledge. since there were more sledges for each group than people i could stay on the sledge when the groups shifted. i really enjoyed it and it was great fun.
the girls also had a lot of fun, but more with the ski-doo ride over bumpy trails rather than with going with the sledge.
the pretty interesting thing was the fact that the dogs ate feces from other dogs. the guys told us it's because there's still a lot of useful thing in the turds the dogs can digest. but only the first poop after having eaten. the second round they leave untouched.
i didn't bring my camera to the tour since i thought it's too dangerous for the equipment. i thought it would break if i fall off the sledge. but actually i never did. sonja took some pictures with her camera. i will try to put them online as soon as possible.
sweden, day 04 (0 comments)
of our sweden trip - new year's eve. we started it by going to a nearby lake. the lack of daylight is really hard to get used to. there's a little daylight from 09:00 to around 13:00, then it starts to get dark again. the surface of the lake was totally frozen and there were some people ice-skating or walking on the ice in the distance. so we dared to step on the ice too and walked around a little. sonja did some drawings in the snow too.
next we tried to find the tourist information in abisko but at first we found some exhibition centre (or whatever it was, we're still not sure) providing us with an exhibition about wild life in north sweden and some multimedia show about the stars and the galaxy. due to that the local people put up some telescopes and people were invited to participate in watching the stars. so we did participate and had a nice view on some stars and the moon.
after getting back to our hostel we enjoyed the sauna there. sauna at this hostel means that the old man running this place tells you a certain time when you have to be at the sauna with the maximum of other eight people. so, the group of people go in there and get instructions from the old man. going to the sauna here also doubles as taking a shower (they are very keen on saving warm water here, i don't know why).
once you were given water to shower and had taken your seat in the sauna, the old man leaves again and comes back 1.5 hours later. during this time you are free to do as you - and the other people - like in the sauna.
in the evening we gathered with lots of people of the hostel at the local helicopter landing place around a fire they lit there. there was also a friend of the people who run the hostel from norway here. he had absolutely delicious salmon with him which he gave away to all the people in the hostel that wanted to taste it.
this guy turned out to be quite fun actually so we ended up with him and some other guys in the kitchen of the hostel being a little drunk and having fun. also one of the two sons who run this place together with their father was at the celebration. he will be our guide for tomorrow's dog sledge tour and he's quite fun too.
sweden, day 03 (0 comments)
the night on day 03
in our art-suite was awesome. i slept very good, the girls unfortunately did not that well. inside the room it had 5 degrees below zero, outside less than 30 degrees below zero. our suite had some howling wolves and moon theme, but the wolves resembled cats actually, at least they did to me.
after having a really great breakfast we had a look at the rest of the hotel rooms. then we went on to some local sami museum.
there we had a delicious reindeer soup and coffee. next to the museum is a very old wooden church.
after a final visit to the ice hotel and a visit to the sauna there we went on to abisko to get to our hostel. there we saw the first cat on our trip. ulli won a beer, since i said i pay a beer to the first one who sees a living cat. meow. at least a cat, but no northern lights so far. too bad.
sweden, day 02 (0 comments)
we left stockholm[001-003] quite early in the morning today
, heading back again to the airport. our plane then left on time bringing us up northwards to kiruna[013-053]. loads of snow, a nice sun- set in the early afternoon and a really small airport is what we were facing after landing.
then we got our car, a ford focus. it was preheated, a thing pretty common here in sweden. you plug your car to some power-outlet and the engine gets warmed up and so does the cabin if you have some heating device in there. pretty weird but at least we didn't have to get on to a totally freezing cold car. additionally the windows are not frozen or covered with ice or snow. so we started driving to kiruna city to get some supplies (as in alcohol from a system-bolagen, a liquor-store with a monopoly on selling alcohol) and a little food.
later we had some strange food at some fast-food restaurant[047-050] (as we guessed), namely a cut sausage with mashed potatoes and sauces. pretty weird and not as tasty as we had one in stockholm.
after doing some PEBKAC on the tomtom GPS (really totally my fault) and thus having two hours additional driving to the wrong village we finally arrived at the ice-hotel[054-165] in kiruna. a totally awesome place. the hotel offers warm and cold rooms. cold rooms are totally made of snow and ice, with reindeer fur and lights and some ice furniture as chairs and tables. additionally there are carved sculptures and other artworks all around the places. each room also has its own theme. there is also a bar totally made out of snow and ice selling "absolute vodka" exclusively in ice glasses - very environment friendly.
i then took a walk outside alone with my camera to take some pictures while the girls were enjoying some hot berry juices they offered at the reception. it had around 32 degrees below zero but it was absolutely great outside. after around 60 minutes outside my camera froze and stopped working properly. focus adjusting, zooming and the battery pack stopped working. additionally my tripod was getting very very hard to adjust the position of the head. so i decided to go in again. very interesting experience - man and machine versus nature, 0:1.
sweden, day 01 (0 comments)
so, first day
for us - ulli, sonja, nostromo - in sweden on the hunt for polar lights. first step to get there was taking the train[01-08] where sonja was cutting (some of) her hair[03-06], then the bus[09-11] to the airport[12-16] in vienna and the airport in stockholm[17-24]. at the airport we decided to leave our big luggage pieces at the airport since we have to get back to the airport tomorrow again anyway to get our flight to kiruna.
so we locked it away[21-24] at the airport. then we walked around in stockholm[25-52] seeing various buildings and "gamla stan" (old town). we had hot chocolate at a very nice cafe[43-47]. afterwards we went to our couchsurfer-host named per-marten (thanks once more to him for hosting).
tomorrow we will get back to the airport and take our plane to kiruna. there we get our car. hopefully.