Northern Sweden 1996/97

"What? Where do you want to celebrate Christmas?
Why? It's always dark there in Winter!
And cold too! Don't go there in Winter!

This is, what people told me, when I said, where I like to go
this winter 1996/97.
At first I like to tell you, that on the shortest day of the year
Narvik, which is about 300km north of the arctic cirle, has about
5 hours Daylight. Well, not the sun is rising, but the blue light
which you can see there is really fancinating!
Some physics: at the artic circle, there on day in the year, where the
sun will not rise and one day, where the sun does not set.
So believe me, it's not always dark there.
But it may be cold a bit. In Jokkmokk, what is situated close
to the arctic circle, we had approx. -35degr. cent.
In Narvik, which is situated about 300km north in Norway,
we around zero degr. cent.. What should we learn from that?
Be careful with things, you only heard, and you never have seen.
We had been a group of 5 people and 2 Lada Niva Cars.
Well, what we did this winter? We took the ferry from Kiel (Germany) to Goeteborg (Sweden)
and drove up north, the "Kungsleden", what is the old Kings-Way through sweden.
There are some nice places to visit on this route. The Rottneros-Parken, which
we visited in the autumn 2 years ago was closed. That's a bit a pity, because this
park must be really nice in winter to. We celebrated christmas in Jokkmokk, which
is about 5 km north of the arctic circle. The dinner was pizza in a iranian restaurant
- what a combination... We went up further north and reached Kiruna, from where
we took a day's trip to Narvik. Coming from about -20degr. cent. in Kiruna we found
0degr. cent. in Narvik really hot. But imagine having about 4cm really heavy ice
on the roads there - not so easy to drive as snow does. Back to Kiruna we looked
for renting a snowmobil, which you can see below. Normally they don't have them
for rent, because every citizen has its own and tourists are not here in winter times.
After half day of search we found a Motorcycle-Shop, which rents such beautiful
"bikes" for snowriding. So we visited a snowmobil-cross-race before we decided to
rent one. Such a race is really fast and possibly faster than a motorcyclecross-race.
The "civilized" version of these snowmobils have really good heating systems, so that
you don't freeze when driving them in normal clothing. The snowmobil we had, was a 2 cylinder
2-cycle powered family model. The speed we did for most time was about 30-40km/h and top-speed
we did was about 80-90km/h. But imagine that the speedometer goes up to 180km/h, and
at 80 you have only used one third of the throttle...
You see, we had a lot of fun and so 2 of us (Rene' and me) decided to sleep out there
in the tent. We took sleepingbags, mats, our tent and a bottle of good scotch whisky and
started in the evening to find a place in the woods to sleep (at -15degr. cent.).
When we were driving around and searching for a place to sleep we arrived Jukkasjaervi,
which is very famous for its unique Ice-Hotel (Photos). This Ice-Hotel is rebuilt every winter
from the ice of the river behind the Hotel. They cut blocks of ice from the river and
"glue" them with fresh water. The complete hotel is made of Ice incl. chairs, tables,
the bar, the cups, the beds... You can stay there for a night and sleep in good sleeping
bags. They also offer an ice-made church, where you can also get married (photo below).
So we arrived at the hotel and we came so late, that we could visit it for free (normally about 8DM entrance fee).
We could have a look inside the hotel and after that we went back on our Snowmobil to
the forest. We searched quite a long time for a place to stay for a night, but we found
a real nice one. So we took a bit of our Glenfiddich and slept a beautiful night at -15 degr. cent.
Next Morning we woke up, collected our luggage, started our snowmobil and drove trough the
forests and over fields back home to the others to have a nice breakfast.
After two nice days in Kiruna we drove down the way on the east coast of Sweden
to Stockholm, where we visited some friends. And there is one more really nice thing:
Visit the Castle of Gripsholm in Winter, it's nicer than in summer or autumn, really.
The way back was the same ferry from Goeteborg to Kiel, but this ferry had a fire on board
1 week before so we were a bit worried about this ship, but everything was ok...
So a very nice trip ended and now you can see some photos...

All following photos are from my Tour to northern Sweden and Norway 96/97:
ok, lets go...
Driving in the Snow at really low temperatures is fascinating, you should try it once, really!

The window of the border control station between Kiruna (Sweden)
and Narvik (Norway)

The castle of Gripsholm in Winter...

What to do if you have a 4WD-Car, some skies, a long cable
and a frozen sea? Go Skiing there!

oops, what an action, driving up to 50-60km/h...

It's really nice to have such a snowmobil in Winter. It has
a real-good working heating system, a lot of power and is very good offroads...

There are no normal tourists coming on their snowmobil to the
Icehotel of Jukkasjaervi.

They build an Ice-Church there every year and you may get married in it...

Inside the Icehotel they have everything made of Ice incl. chairs and cups.

Beautiful lights on the heaven you may see every day there...

...a frozen sea, hope you'll not need the save-ring...

Please don't worry about pic-size, it should be a photogallery.

Any comments?