So we did a thing...
Our Journey Above the Arctic Circle
We decided to head to Abisko National Park at the end of our holiday. Abisko is about 200km above the arctic circle. Apparently Stockholm isn’t cold or dark enough for us… so we had to get more extreme. While we were planning the trip, we looked at the sunrise/sunset times (as people do in this part of the world). Sunrise: 11:30am, Sunset: 12:30pm. At first I thought this was a typo. Then we literally laughed out loud. But too late, we already booked! I admit that I was a bit skeptical about the trip, and you know, frostbite (average temperature projection -20°C). But Mrs. Cinnamon Bun was eager and she usually has good travel instincts. Usually.
But I needn’t have worried. The trip was fantastic! And while the sunrise and sunset times are technically correct, there is actually a lot more light than we expected. It was usually pretty light out by 9:00am. And it started to get dark around 3:30pm. By 5:00pm it was pitch black. It also turns out that Abisko is in a valley surrounded by mountains. So you actually don’t see the sun at all until February. Luckily we didn’t know this fact prior to the trip. It might have thrown me over the edge.
We have lots of pictures below, but they really don’t do it justice. While it was daylight it was like living in a perpetual sunrise. The light is very soft and almost ethereal. Couple that with snow and amazing outdoor scenery and it was a very special place. Here are just a few pics to give you a sense of it:
Our trip started in Kiruna. This is home to the famous Ice Hotel. You have probably heard of it or seen pictures. The hotel is constructed by artists from huge ice blocks harvested from the nearby lake. The rooms are individually built and many have an artistic theme. We didn’t stay there, but started our journey with a tour and lunch at the restaurant. The Cinnamon Sticks were undaunted by the cold weather and immediately began playing in the snow despite the -10°C temp:
I would pretty much continually worry about frostbite for the next four days. I took to using the phrase “Deadly Cold” with the kids, because they insisted on running around without hats.
The Ice Hotel is impressive, and if you get the chance, you should definitely go see it:
There were a couple dozen really unique rooms. Not to mention the Ice Bar, which the girls loved:
They even had an ice slide for the kids. We spent several hours exploring the grounds and looking at all of the rooms. We ended with a lovely buffet lunch in the restaurant.
After an exciting afternoon exploring the hotel, we set out on the 2 hour drive to Abisko Park. Soon the sun had set and we were driving through pitch black darkness. It was definitely an eerie and disorienting feeling. In fact, we drove into a large valley without even knowing, and I would swear, until the next morning revealed my mistake, that the area was flat as a pancake. We were, in fact, surrounded by beautiful mountains and hills.
My editor is telling me that I have reached the end of e-mail length, so stay tuned for Part 2 of our adventure…