Swedish Lapland #1: Kiruna

After three years in Sweden, I finally managed to travel to Lapland and it was such an amazing experience! It all started with a 17-hour bus trip from Borlänge. I booked the trip Lapland Express with Scanbalt together with other students from Dalarna University and in the bus we met students from Karlstad, Falun and Umeå. The travel itself was very exhausting, who likes to sit in a bus for 17 hours, but it was absolutely worth it. We had two long stops where we were able to eat and walk a bit, watched two movies and around midnight we all fell asleep more or less.

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We arrived in a snowy Kiruna around 7.30 in the morning, where we first stored our luggage and enjoyed a great breakfast buffet. We were then divided in two groups and my group went on a city walk first, where our guide Heidi showed us the main sights and explained a bit about the history of Kiruna as a mining town and why the town has to move. Since we had an assignment about Kiruna in one of our courses me and my classmates were absolutely experts about this topic already..well at least we were a bit experienced..

After the tour we had time to discover the city on our own and check-in into the hostel. Most rooms were for 4 persons and they were tidy and quite basic but absolutely fine for us. Around noon we were collected for the first tour, which was the snow-mobile and dog sledging tour. It was really cold, so I recommend to wear a few layers even though we got some more clothes from the company that was offering the tour. We were again divided into groups, with my group being the first on the snow-mobiles. It was two persons on each snow-mobile and after half of the route we could change the driver. After about one hour we stopped at a tipi where we got hot coffee/tea and some cookies. After the coffee break we changed, so we were sitting on the dog sledges now. It was amazing and we were allowed to cuddle with the huskies as well. After the tour we went to town, to have some Fika in a really cozy café and bought some food for the next days in Abisko. In the evening most of us went out for a beer in the Irish pub which was just around the corner. Since we were all very tired from the travel we went back to the hostel around 22.30 and had a good night sleep.

The next morning started with check out from the hostel and a bus trip to the Ice hotel, which is located in Jukkasjärvi, a village close by. Our guide explained us how the idea to build an ice hotel came up, how the ice is harvested and stored and other interesting facts. Then we were allowed to have a look in most of the hotel rooms, at least the ones that were already done since there was still quite some under construction. Each room had a different topic and layout and it was absolutely fantastic to see how much you can do with ice. Of course we tested the beds which were really cozy.

The final stop on the day was a village called Rensjön were we visited the indigenous Sami people. Again, we were two groups, my group first feeding the reindeers. Since Reindeers love everyone who feeds them we were able to take some amazing pictures. After the feeding we were gathering in the Sami tent where we could taste some bread with reindeer meat and listen to stories around the fireplace. After that it was time to travel to Abisko, our home for the next two nights. I will tell you all about he days in Abisko in my next blog.

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