I am heading to Sweden for a week and St Petersburg for a week. Luck was on my side on my first travel day which consisted of a flight to Newark, a flight to Stockholm, a flight to Kiruna, a taxi ride, and then a train ride to Bjorkliden. On my flight from the states to Stockholm there was no one sitting next to me and my seat on the flight to Kiruna was an exit row seat without a seat in front of it, double win. When we landed in Kiruna the pilot announced that we were in Kiruna and we landed “exactly on time”, like he expected people to know when we were suppose to land to tell what time it was. Swedish efficiency.
I then met up with my parents in the train station, about the size of a train car, and we caught the train to Bjorkliden which is a ski resort in northern Sweden about 300 miles north of the Arctic circle. Upon checkin we were told that they were overbooked and we were being downgraded to a cabin with bunk beds and a single bed instead of double beds and they were going to give us the room for free. I think that they had tried to downgrade several people and we were their last option.
We grabbed dinner, then went on a night time dog sled ride. This was not one where you drive your own sled and the aurora borealis was not super visible. There were 2 teams of dogs, each carrying a sledge with 3 passengers and the musher. After the ride we got back, picked up our camera gear and started trudging up the ski hill to an aurora viewing point. The aurora was pretty cool, it wasn’t the bright green that the pictures show, but more of a muted green.
We then trudged back down the hill and I ate it over a large block of snow which I swear wasn’t there on the way up. It was then bedtime, 11:30, capping my 32 hour day with about 3 hours of sleep.
The next day I went cross country skiing. Never have I been the worse at an endurance physical activity, but Thor past me multiple times and so did Mrs Thor. I think I was going at about half speed compared to everyone else on the 12km ski track which I only managed to ruin once when I fell going close to a million miles an hour down a 100+ meter hill with TURNS.
We then went and played settlers and drank some beers. It started to snow for real and when we left dinner around 930 it was still snowing, windy, and we couldn’t see the aurora. I check a few hours later (read I fell asleep and looked when I woke up so I wouldn’t feel guilty about missing the aurora), but it still wasn’t visible.