The sights of that night will be forever imprinted on my mind…. I don’t think I could forget it if I tried….
After the excitement of dog sledding, my friends and I wandered down to the local store to have a look around at what we could find. In among gloves, hats, hardware tools and all kinds of other strange objects, we found a glorious plastic dish that was to serve as our entertainment for the afternoon.
So off we went, sliding down anything that looked even remotely hill-like, including giant piles of snow that the locals had removed from the roads with the excavator. No surface on an incline was left untouched as we tried to make our way down these slopes on our makeshift sled. At one point we even managed to become airborne and slam our buts into the ground of one giant pile of snow.
It left us fairly tired so we went in for our afternoon nap in anticipation of some more northern lights hunting and then heading down to the pub where a band was playing… the one night a month when they get live entertainment to Abisko and all of the locals come out in force.
Post nap, I was in the kitchen eating my usual northern meal of brown cheese and crispbread when somebody runs inside and says ‘you totally have to go outside right now!!’ Hurriedly the snowsuit goes on and I burst out of the door to be standing underneath a sky so vibrantly bright with green waves dancing across it that it was unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. We had struck gold, and timed our visit with an electromagnetic storm which was heightening the activity of the aurora. The lights were so bright that I managed to take a few pictures of them with my point and shoot camera, a feat almost unheard of when it comes to taking pictures of the northern lights.
We stood outside and ‘ooh’ed and ‘aah’ed for hours. At one point I lay down in the snow making snow angels while the purple and green hazes danced over the top of me. We then tried to take some group pictures of the amazing night sky with a professional camera, writing our names and other words like ‘Abisko’ with a red head torch in the sky below us. I never did wind up with copies of the pictures, but what my eyes saw that night will be forever etched into my mind and I am almost glad that I didn’t have a proper camera as it allowed me to experience it in life without feeling the need to be constantly behind a lens to catch it.
After what seemed like hours outside, and not being able to feel our toes or half of our bodies anymore, we decided to make our way down to the pub to see the band. I learned many things from my experience at the pub. Firstly, the international symbol for ‘you’re hot’ in northern Sweden is a raised eyebrow and a thumbs up. Secondly, you should not accept the strange man’s offer of four doubles of spiced whiskey shared among three because between that, the minus twenty degrees and the passionfruit-flavoured sparkling wine I consumed, I was incredibly drunk. The band played and we danced with some local boys before making our way back up the hill to the hostel for more consumption of Bailey’s and the attempted making of snow angels on the kitchen floor. After a laughing fit, where my friends tried to convince me to get up to mischief and I was sensible enough to not succumb to the peer pressure of annoying others for amusements purposes, I finally went to bed.
The morning was a somber and sorry day for all. We had to leave. And not a single one of us wanted to. Noon rolled around, we said goodbye to Abisko and we made our way to Kiruna on the train where we had a couple of hours to kill before our flight back to London. So of course, we went to visit the famous ice hotel.
The ice hotel was unlike anything I had ever seen. There were so many different sculptures and elements to the building it was amazing. I had a minor nap on the reindeer pelt in the makeshift ice chapel on one of the pews before running around the place with Indy taking silly pictures of us with the ice sculptures. Before we knew it was time to get back in a taxi and head to the airport. My adventure in the Arctic Circle was over…. for now.
All I know is that I love this place. It is one of the most amazing places I have been in the world. There is no way on this planet that I will not get back there. It is just a matter of when… and I will of course take my place on the Ice Throne, become the Abisko Ice Queen, and never leave!