Day 7: The Circle of Arctic—From Holmsund to Kiruna

May 10, 2013 03:48 – 03:48

Yesterday was a travel day, spent entirely in getting from Holmsund to Kiruna, Sweden. The significant milestone was, of course, arriving in the Arctic Circle for the first time in my life.

Yes… that does appear to be Santa Claus behind me. Odd… I didn’t notice him until right now.

I snapped that picture about 200km or so south of Kiruna. The hotel is nothing to look at from the outside, but is very nice on the inside. The room is modern, spacious, and very comfortable. My only complaint would be the high chair and table. I really like my feet to be on the floor, but you can’t have everything, I suppose.

Abisko National Park is only about an hour from here, and I plan to spend a good portion of today there. A half hour to the west of Abisko is Norway. So, I’ll probably bop over the border just in case I run out of time to visit Norway later… just to see if it’s any different.

So, I decided to extend the hotel through tomorrow morning. When I just did that, I was told that a small party was to arrive late tonight and leave early (4 am) tomorrow morning, and because of that, would it be alright if they served me breakfast in my room? I didn’t fully grasp the logic, but said that breakfast in my room would be fine, and asked that it be brought around at 9 am. So, I guess I won’t be sleeping in tomorrow morning.

I also ate at a real Swedish restaurant last night for the first time, if you don’t count burger joints, and I don’t. I ate at the Artic Eden Restaurang adjacent to the hotel. I had Arctic char with king crab, wheat berries, and roasted carrots. It was excellent, albeit pricy—about 430SEK with tip (roughly $65).

For the most part, I’ve been self-catering on the trip, buying picnic supplies, roasted chicken, etc. from supermarkets and eating on picnic tables (lunch) or my hotel room (dinner). Breakfast, of course, comes with just about every hotel room in Sweden as far as I can tell. The layout sometimes includes scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage—as did the Comfort Hotels my first three nights and the Arctic Eden. More often, I gather, the layout includes a variety of breads, ham, cheese, sliced turkey, various cereals, coffee, tea, OJ, apple juice, hard boiled eggs (sometimes 10-minute eggs, but occasionally 3-minute as well, for variety). Oh… and the Arctic Eden breakfast also included Swedish meatballs. Well, they must be Swedish, right? This is Sweden, and they were little balls of meat. No sauce, though. They were good, but not quite the right thing for breakfast. The bacon and eggs were superb, though.

Well, that’s enough blogging for this morning. More tonight, perhaps. I’ve been so exhausted at the end of the day the past three days that I’ve collapsed into bed and immediately fell asleep wishing that the day were about 5 hours longer, and uttering a string of familiar curse words when the alarm clock sounded the next morning (a carefully-crafted copyrighted blend of the s and f words). I really could do with a 10 hour sleep, I guess. But, I’ll settle for 7 to 8 hours for now. There are things to do, and places to go. Abisko awaits.

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