Fire and Ice 2017: Arrival in Abisko, Sweden

Hello from 68 Degrees North!

After 45 hours of almost continuous travel, we arrived in Abisko midday. Going directly from the plane to a sleeper train reminded us how civilized train travel is. The extra space and ability to walk about was much appreciated for the last 15 hours! Not to mention the bright blue sky and increasing snow as we rolled northward.

We had a spectacular lunch
once we arrived with an even more spectacular view of the lake.

The lake, Torneträsk, is the 7th largest & 2nd deepest in Sweden. It is the largest mountain lake in all of Scandinavia and is 70 kilometres long. It provides a blanket of introduction to the mountains behind. Marian walked down to its shores and ventured out on the ice a bit. A hole cut into the ice to provide access to drinking water showed that the ice was about 9 inches or 22 cm thick. We learned that Torneträsk has ice from January to June most years. We saw people skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.

This panorama was taken from the ice. We also hiked around and saw some of the sights around Abisko including a replica of a Sami camp, a river canyon, and Abisko National Park visitor centre. There we learned about the importance of reindeer to Sami culture.

Reindeer are domesticated caribou. Today we learned that he only species of caribou to be domesticated is the Mountain Caribou. Reindeer forms an important part of eating here as we’ve already had two dinners with reindeer meat in them.

We also learned that Abisko National Park is one of eight in Northern Sweden. We might have to come back to visit the others. Swedes have the right to travel across most lands in Sweden if they do so with great care. There were several posters educating visitors about how to do this well. I was impressed that they had the posters in seven different languages.

It’s been a rich and full day so I’m going to hit the hay. I’m going to miss the swaying of the train rocking me to sleep. More tomorrow.

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