Day 6: 3 Degrees South of the Arctic Circle in Holmsund, Sweden

May 8, 2013 18:36 – 18:36

Today was primarily a travel day. I left the Stockholm area at about 10 am, and arrived in Holmsund at about 6:30 pm. Today’s amusing moment was the reaction of the Swedish family as they watched me loading my car this morning… out my hotel window.

Arriving here at 6:30 meant that the day was pretty much over… right? Not quite. Sunset was officially at about 9:20 pm, and the sky was still glowing red even at 11 pm. By midnight, there was still some light showing. This—and the forecast that calls for precipitation and clouds for the next two days—does not bode well for my seeing the aurora… unless there is a large coronal mass ejection. Here’s what the northern sky looked like at midnight.

This leaves me somewhat up in the air, since I hadn’t planned on having to deal with rain or snow. If I head north to the Arctic Circle, I’ll run into falling snow. Anywhere else, I’ll see rain. If I head south west into Norway, however, the rain will end sooner. I don’t have a reservation anywhere for tomorrow night, however, and before I learned about the rain, I’d planned on getting the Holmsund hotel room for another night.

The Västerbacken Hotell was a bit of a crap shoot. First, I made a reservation WITHOUT a credit card. The registration desk closes at 4 pm, and I arrived at 6:30 pm. I’m out of luck… right? Nope. My reservation confirmation email told me there’d be an envelope with my name at it on the front desk. It contained my room key and some lovely “where’s everything” instructions, along with an invitation to make myself a sandwich in the restaurant. All this WITHOUT A CREDIT CARD yet!? My. They’re trusting. Good thing I’m trustworthy. I used my own stuff to make myself a ham and Gouda sandwich for dinner… but I did use the restaurant’s microwave to heat it up.

After dinner, I took a drive to the Umeä ICA Maxi to buy some ice, and then I drove to a spot with a northern view to see if there might be any sign of an aurora. Alas, the sky wasn’t dark enough, and the clouds are going to make it even brighter.

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