Sunday, May 16, 2010

FROM KIRUNA TO NARVIK, NORWAY

Rule number one: keep warm! Monika knew it too well, when with motherly care she equipped us with the indispensables: warm hats, scarves, gloves, sweaters and ....long johns for Victor and Pippi Långstrumps long stockings! Here we are exposing proudly our kalsonger och långa stumpor!


Our magical mistery tour´s final destination was Narvik, in Norway, almost 170 km one way! Our guides and guardian angels were Gröta och Tore. They appeared in our Lombolo house att 10 am, as arranged. It was snowing like on any winter day, and we were a bit apprehensive about the sense of the trip. Tore however, experienced Lapland inhabitant, assured us, that we might have all sorts of wheather during the day. The snowy beginning was very attractive too!



They promised us reindeers and moose - and here we are: the first reindeer mom with two fouls appeared during the first hour of drive!

Soon reindeer and moose spoting became our favourite game while in the car.


We arrived to our first stop: Abisko. It was snowing when we left Kiruna, but it was blowing our heads off when we reached Abisko! How exotic... but not to stay outside for more than a couple of minutes... Our guides, however, converted it in an adventure. We had lunch in their caravan ( husvagn), thus having a real Northern Swedish experience ( many people up here have a caravan or two in interesting nature spots, instead of the summer cottages)


It was much more confortable to admire the views on a frozen lake surrounded by snowy mountains, with plenty of snow scooters parked on the surfice, from a cosy inside of a caravane, sitting on a reindeer skins and drinking hot coffe.



We only got out again to take this foto with the tipical northern hats:



Coffe never smelled better and the food was never that tasty as that cold day. Besides- for the first time we had coffee cheese for our coffe and delicous berry cakes made by Göte. Smoked salmon was not missing either! We had a pantagruelique lunch!
Tore was telling us about his fishing experiences and Götta about clowdberry gathering (hjotron). This are our plans for the next time in Kiruna! Now, when I know how to bake tunnbröd, I will learn to pick up hjotron!


When we finished the lunch ( or second breakfast), the weather changed again and it was quite nice to walk around and explore the frozen nature around the lake. Victor was trying the snow scooter. It fits him, does´nt it?


We drove on untill our next attractive spot:Bjorkliden ski resort, by Hotel Fjälle, with extraordinary views on mountains and lake. The season was over, so the hotel was closed and we only saw a couple of snow scooters passing us by.



The completely frozen lake Torneträsk, one of the biggest in Sweden, was a scenery for another interesting view. Ice fishing!


We asked to stop the car and we approached the fisheman. Victor has some doubts about walking on the ice, but Tore assured him, that at least 1 m thickness of ice would not only support him, but a car or even a train!



It was so great to have Götta and Tore with us. We did not feel like bloody tourists, but friends that they were accompanying to explore their region. We found out that Lapland commune has 6000 lakes and it has the biggest area in Sweden and it used to be the biggest in the world!

The fisheman has just arrived so he did not manage to fish anything yet. we could however look into the whole in the ice...

I could not resist to have myself photographed in this winter fishing scenery, with a driller in hand and a tough fisheman - I am sure he had an Absolute bottle somewhere hidden...

Amazing to walk on frozen, snow covered lake, in the middle of May and see houses literally burried in snow... some had only their roofs sticking out..

... and we arrived to the last train station in Sweden-Riksgransen. Next train stop would be Norway, Narvik!

The landscape was turning whiter and whiter and the road was the only black path winding in this desert of whitness... We felt we were going back towards the winter!

And finally we reached the Swedish-Norweagean border!

The ´border´was only simbolical- nobody was there to stop us, check our passports etc. Perfect snow silence was a welcome to a new country. Our satisfaction about the quantity of snow around was complete!

I loved the single houses scattered arournd the white ocean of snow. It looked like Christmas postcards we get from our European students in the middle of our Summer ( Christmas time in Argentina) and we are sure they are photoshopped!


Welcome to Norway! Fairy tale while landscape and sun made it look otherworldly...



Our need for winter was generously satisfied! I could not stop photographing those fairy tale houses...


The presence of wind mills made us think about the strong winds blowing out there, in open, empty spaces..


Tore was an excellent driver and soon we reached our final destination:


NARVIK! The town welcomed us with blowing enthusiasm.


We could not go for a longer walk in the city, and the fjords looked best from the cosy warm car...




The best idea our guides had, was to drive up and see Narvik and the fjords from above.

We were thinking about Monikas Norweagin origins and her first meeting place with Anders. We cant´imagine though, how they walked up the town, as they told us. They must have been young and madly in love. The roads in Narvik are steeper than in San Francisco! We felt sorry for Tore´s car...


But the view were ABSOLUTLY rewarding! Not for a long time though... The wind was blowing and when it stopped, it started to rain, only to scare us, since it got sunny again and the visibility was good enough to admire the silhouette of a sleeping princess - Sovande Drottningen( mountain shape)
We hit the road again, as Tore´s stomach needed fuel and they had a special place planned for... lunch/dinner/pre dinner snack? As we have learnt- you eat to keep warm and to keep others company...


No photo of the fjord can give them justice. You have to go and see with own eyes. Ever changing weather gave us possibility to see this amazing end of the world in all its beauty.


The bridge we crossed to go to and from Narvik. Sleeping Princess was acompanying us, showing proudly her white breasts...
Sun makes incredible things playing with the snow:
The dinner was postponed for many stops on the way. Victor and Tore were discussing the weather, meanwhile....
....I was taking one of my favourite photographs with a reindeer sign. But what a surrounding?! Who knows, when I will have winter next time...

I was wishing to see real reindeers...
We triumphaly and accompanied by sun entered to Lapland again!



FINALLY the well deserved snack for the driver's efford! Sorry- we should have a PROPER MEAL, Tore ordered. My reindeer in pittabread and Victor's moose bullar were SO DELICIOUS! I could not help taking photographs of our Swedish guides
eating their proper meal and... DRINKING A GLASS OF MILK EACH.... It' s so SWEDISHLY SWEET...


As we drove, another thing drew my attention: the biliguial road signs with those LOOOOONG NAMES of the places that only Tore could pronounce fluently...
Frozen lakes are such an attration for us. BUT...

TORE had another BIG SURPRISE WAITING FOR US: A SPLENDID LAPISH GATES, LAPPORTEN, just showed up in front of us!

This mountain shape bears a legend of a Sami folk coming through it with their reindeers. Till today only this Lapish tribe has an inherited right to own reindeer herds.


But in stead of a reineer, we had another moose crossing the street in front of our car.

It's incredible to see those magnificent animals in the wild and so close...






Swedish are crazy about their husvagn ( camping wagons). They put them everywhere, including... a frozen lake!


.... and the last surprise of this MAGICAL TOUR! Tore, have you prepared it all for us??!!!
A little hord of REINDEERS WALKING ON THE ICE, on the frozen lake. Even Tore and Gotte has never seen a sight like that!

When we observed them closely, they were actually licking ice!

Two foules with them; they looked really magnificently unreal with the background of the blue ice!


After some minutes of observing them ( 15 minutes! Tore said), when the time actually stopped- they started to move in a line towards the shore of the lake. It was just incredible to see. A LINE DANCE!!!


We rushed to the car and drove along the lake following them. And when we got off the car- there there stood, by the shore, gazing at us!!!! IT WAS A PERFECT LAPLAND GIFT TO US!

After some endless minutes of this tete a tete with raindeers, they suddenly started to walk away. Slowly and with the determined elegance.

No photo can reflect a mix of emotions when you see those polar reindeers. Reindeers on the ice.

It it the longest blog chapter I have ever written....Those tiny black points in the middle of the lake are the our reindeers. We waited till they almost vanished from the view.


Can I say it was almost a spiritual experience? A meditation?
Victor would probably make a sarcastic comment about my sentimental soul, but YES, I had tears in my eys when I first stood face to face with a magnificent moose, inNorrland, and Yes, I was moved by watching this hord of reindeers on the icy lake in Lapland.

1 comment:

oscar said...

Hola Flaca, cómo va? digo, no faltan epígrafes en las fotos? o el espacio se amplió de más???