Wednesday, January 9, 2008

And now for part 3...and all the ice and snow you can handle...

I'm not really sure if there is much point to putting this all into segments if people aren't actually checking it. I mean, there will still end up being just as much reading in the end this way. But I am trying to work with short attention spans. So here is the third part of my trip to Sweden.
The day after Christmas we had some pretty terrible weather. There was a snow storm that dropped several inches of snow and made visibility and road conditions rather obnoxious. We'd had plans to make a long drive, but instead opted for something closer. So...we went to Finland! It was funny to drive across the border and watch the words getting longer and filled with morree and mooorrreee llleetteerrsss. In Finnish they like to add a lot of extras for some reason. We were only there for about an hour, but it was enough time to get a picture.

While we were there Malin's dad bought me some special Finnish "treats." He said they usually eat them when they go out fishing on the boat. He is really into boats. I must admit that I pretty much just wanted the flavor to go away, and passed around Ice Breakers once it was out of my mouth. I took the package home and have since shared them with all of my students so they can have the experience as well.
After Finland we came back to Haparanda Sweden and went to a massive Ikea. True to Swedish tradition, we stopped for "fika" in the middle of our shopping trip, right there at the Ikea cafeteria.
The day ended with moose roast cooked by Malin's grandma, and some amazing berries with ice cream and meringues.
On the 27th the weather was looking a little better so we got up dark and early (around 6 AM) to make the long drive up into the Arctic Circle to the Ice Hotel which is near the town of Kiruna. I was really excited to go because I had seen a documentary on how the Ice Hotel is made just a couple of weeks before. It really is a very fascinating and beautiful place. Hard to imagine that they put in all that work, just to let it melt away a few months later!

I would have taken a lot more pictures, but my camera decided it didn't like being in the very cold climate of the Ice Hotel. Fortunately Malin and her dad both had cameras as well, so hopefully I'll get a few more pictures at some point. For now you'll just have to content yourself with these two photos. The first is of the main entrance from a distance and the second is of me next to the doors which are covered in reindeer skins and have antlers for doors.
It was a fun day. After the Ice Hotel we went to a church that had some really amazing art work that was carved in wood and painted by some prince. I only have hard copies from the church unfortunately. We went out for dinner and then headed back for another four hour drive home. Naturally, both on the drive there and the return trip, we stopped by snowbanks along the side of the road for "fika"!
This was my last full day in Sweden. Malin and I hung out while I packed when we got home. We didn't want to go to bed, because in a sense, as soon as we went to bed it meant our time together was over. However, having to get up at 3AM in order for me to make my 6:30 flight meant we did need to get a little sleep. The roads were REALLY icy when she took me to the airport in Lulea, but we made it safely there and soon I was on my way to the next portion of my trip in Norway...


Malin said...

I'm VERY impressed that you can remember all the namnes of people and places, and that you spell them all right! It's interesting to read about you trip here :) Big hug!

robin smith said...

I have loved reading about your experiences. Enjoyed seeing your pictures, especially the ones with Malin as I remember her from our Hong Kong visit. Told Rachel and she is looking forward to coming to my house tomorrow so she can read all for herself.
Keep writing and I will keep reading!
Becca leaves for Nepal Friday for 3 months. She and friend are working in an orphanage for 2 months and the third month they are hiking to base camp of Everest!

Joni said...

I do check this!! Haaa!! You look like you had sooo much fun. It is always fun to follow your journey's.