Day 1 - Thursday 26 March
We arrived to a gloriously sunny and blue-skied day in Kiruna. Keys to our Toyota Yaris rental in hand, we set out to make our way to Kiruna centrum and find the main office for the company that ran our accommodation. As we have no SIM cards nor GPS, we received some detailed instructions to find our cabin out in the wopwops. We mostly just chilled out in the arvo, walked around the surrounding area and had a long jump competition on the frozen river. The highlight of the day would definitely have to be seeing the spectacle of the northern lights in the evening. We spent around 1.5hrs sky gazing and trying to stay warm. Enduring the cold was 100% worth it though.
Day 2 - Friday 27 March
We woke up to cloudy skies and snow so this was away going to be a fairly relaxed day. After a leisurely start, we made our way to the centrum in several missions. The toughest one was finding wifi, eventually we had to go to the library so that we could look up such things as the weather forecast, how to take photos of aurora, and such. Unfortunately, we could not find any place with wifi (of two possible options) that was open on Sunday so that we could tune into the cricket- rats! We had a spot of fika at a nice local cafe then made our way back out to the wopwops to have our lunch. Had a 2hr nap in the arvo - we reckon the last 3 months of big hours at work means that now that we have time to relax, the 'sleep' trigger in our brains is probably having a party. Good thing we came somewhere where we could relax some, before going to India!
The last activity of the day was to drive out to the ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi and have a cocktail at the ice bar. The drink, served in an ice glass, was super deelish.
Day 3 - Saturday 28 March
The main activity of the day was the ice fishing/ snowmobiling tour that Matty had organised pre-holiday. We were collected from our accommodation at 10.30 and given some sweet snowsuits and snow boots to kit up in. Then, we got a rundown on the basics of driving the snowmobile which seemed relatively straightforward. Van was first up in the driver seat and she really enjoyed hooning around, even doing a couple of doughies. We cruised across frozen lakes and through tracks made for snowmobiles through the forest and it was just epic. After a while we found the lake that we would try ice fishing in. We drilled three holes and used putty bait but the fishing was to no avail as didn't even get a nibble. That didn't take away from the experience though. We were joined by another group that were on a separate tour and had lunch with that group. The guides dug out a circle in the snow for us to make a fire to sit around. Lunch was some rather tasty salmon and cream soup, followed by a dessert of cloudberry shortcake with whipped cream and a strong black coffee to wash it down. After lunch we were going to go to try and watch the end of an antique JetSki race but unfortunately the competition had finished moments before we arrived. We rode up to the top of a small hill to get a good view and some snaps, then tried some more ice fishing with the same result as earlier. Ah well, just means we have to go ice fishing some time again to make sure we catch at least one fish with this method! We cruised home and then it was beer-o-clock, with some reindeer jerky and crisps. Helt fantastisk dag. In the evening we went out and lit a fire while trying to catch a glimpse of the aurora, but the lights unfortunately weren't out to play this night, except for a light almost-green haze.
Day 4 - Sunday 29 March
What we thought was going to be a really chilled out morning turned out to be that, but with a sudden lost hour as we realised that the daylight savings "spring forward" adjustment had happened overnight. So basically, it was just a few hours in the morning relaxing before we left the accommodation at midday and headed to the airport.
Thanks Kiruna, you were fab! Next we go to Stockholm for an overnighter before heading on to Delhi the next day.