After one hour and twenty minutes we arrived in Kiruna. There were quite a few people in the train, many with ski equipment.
From the railway station there is a free shuttle bus to the bus station. Jan and Alex asked a taxi driver about restaurants that might be open on a Sunday. He said it was only about 150 m and there we would find a pizzeria.
We spent some time there and also took turns to walk around town a bit. Not much to see, nothing open on a Sunday.
On our way to the pizzeria we saw a café. We phoned to find out what time it would close, 16. Then when Jan and I took a walk we found another café, open until 17, even better! It was a large café with cosy arm chairs.
Temperature outside was -7, the sun tried to get through the clouds, but didn’t quite make it.
In the evening we took the airport bus to the airport – it was really cold to stand outside to wait for it – and then flew back to Stockholm.
The whole town of Kiruna is being relocated to avoid the town being swallowed by the mine ore.
In the fall of 2022 the shops and other services will have moved to the new center.
Kiruna church will be taken down piece by piece to be re-built in a new location in 2025.
Some buildings are being taken down to be re-built in a new location. Other buildings are demolished, and new ones built in another part of town.
This morning at breakfast we were not able to see Lapporten due to clouds on the top of the mountains. Down in the valley it was clear though.
We packed up our bags and dropped them off at a drop off point outside the hotel. At 10.30 they would drive the luggage down to the railway station. We were told it would be dropped off inside the waiting area. Once we got there, however, all luggage had been dropped off in the snow next to the road at a bus stop…
Our train was to depart at 12.11, on-line up dates showed a small dealay. We stayed in our room until check out, watching Vasaloppet on TV for a bit. The last half hour we sat in the lobby enjoying the views.
The walk down hill to the railway station took about 20 min. It was a beautiful walk in the sun and snow.
In the end the train departed only 6 minutes late.
(26 February – 1 March)
The hotel is located right by the slopes. Just step outside and put on the skis.
Our view from the hotel couldn’t be better. From our room we have a view of the mountains, a frozen Torneträsk, and more mountains in the distance. When it isn’t cloudy or snowing the view of Lapporten is just gorgeous.
The view from the restaurant is best at breakfast and lunch when it’s light. I had lunch there the first day, a buffet with one course. It was ok. The other days we’ve had lunch in Snöbaren, a tiny fast food cabin by one of the lifts.
Twice we had dinner, fast food style, in the lobby bar Rallaren. The other two nights we had a nice dinner in the restaurant.
We played MIG on Alex’s phone. It’s kind of a pocket Trivial Pursuit. Fun!
(28 – 29 February)
Jan and Alex hit the slopes a bit earlier than me. Then they could go on the bigger slopes. We then met up in the blue slope near the hotel.
At lunchtime day two I was ready to cross over to another slope. We had lunch there before heading back.
The next day I even ventured to go down that slope a few times!
Since there were no lines for the lifts we got to ski a lot.
Jan and Alex hit the slopes after breakfast. We had rented all equipment yesterday.
I had a relaxing morning. Took a short walk in the sun.
After lunch I got ready for my first ever lesson in down hill skiing. My instructor was a young woman feom Uleåborg in Finland, Katarina. She understood Swedish but prefered English.
We started in the easiest kid slope. After two runs, we moved over to the second kid slope. Then Katarina decided we needed to move over to one of the blue slopes. Beginning about half way up. We were going to go all the way to the top, but I fell in the lift so we never did.
After the one and a half hour lesson I did manage to get down the lower part of the blue slope.
I met up with Jan and Alex after my lesson, but by then I needed a break. I relaxed for a bit in our room before meeting up with Jan and Alex.
Alex is really good!
In the evening we had a very nice dinner at Lapporten Restaurant. During the light hours there is a beautiful view of Torneträsk (Torne Lake), the mountains and Lapporten (the ’gap’ in the mountains). In the evening there are only a few lights to be seen.
At breakfast I received a text message that our train this afternoon would be delayed, there was a link for up-dates. During the day the delay kept changing, from 10 minutes to 45 minutes and everything in between.
It was supposed to leave at 14.51. We should have pre-booked a taxi, but didn’t.
For lunch we walked to the sapmi museum. Once we had ordered we called to book the taxi. We were told that they could help us in 15 minutes or not at all. In the afternoon they had a large booking to take people to or from a snowmobile tour.
We cancelled lunch and quickly walked back the 15 minutes to Icehotel. The taxi pulled up just as we got there, and he had to wait while we picked up our luggage.
No lunch and no kiosk at the train station. It is located roughly 3 km outside of town and is just a barrack. All we had was some chocolate candy.
The train ride to Björkliden took roughly 1 hr 15 minutes. In the end it was only 15 minutes late to depart from Kiruna.
I spoke to some ladies from the US at the station, one of them a Rotarian. They were heading for Abisko. We’re at the stop a few minutes after Abisko.
We had called the hotel ahead of time (from the railway station in Kiruna). They picked up our luggage and we then walked about 10 minutes up hill.
Just after we checked in we finally got some food in the lobby bar!
The Iron Ore Line is a 398-kilometre long railway line between Riksgränsen and Boden in Norrbotten County, Sweden. It was opened in 1907. The line contains two branches, from Kiruna to Svappavaara and from Gällivare to Koskullskulle.
It is one of the world’s oldest iron ore railways.
The distance between Torneträsk and Riksgränsen has been selected as Sweden’s most beautiful railway scenery.
We see the train pass by on the tracks in the distance below the hotel. The trains are very long.
The Kiruna mine is the largest and most modern underground iron ore mine in the world. The mine is owned by Luossavaara-Kirunavaara AB (LKAB). In 2018 the mine produced 26.9 million tonnes of iron ore. The Kiruna mine has an ore body which is 4 km (2.5 mi) long, 80 metres (260 ft) to 120 metres (390 ft) thick and reaching a depth of up to 2 km (1.2 mi). Since mining began at the site in 1898, the mine has produced over 950 million tonnes of ore.
Jukkasjärvi is a village 17 kilometers outside Kiruna. The name comes from a Sámi word that roughly translates to “meeting place by the water”. Here the Torne river is very wide and looks rather like a smaller lake, hence the Finnish word “järvi” – lake. With origins from the 17th century, Jukkasjärvi is one of the oldest villages in Norrbotten. The location at Torne river, near the lake Sautusjärvi, was a strategic starting point for fishing as well as trade.
Parts of the older farm settlement can still be found in the oldest part of the village. Here is also the Old Homestead where the oldest building is a timber cottage from 1736. For a long time, the priest- and bell families were the only residents of the village, but in the 18th century some new settlements were established. Today the village has about 800 inhabitants, but there are also more than 1,000 dogs in the village!
The church dates from 1726 with its original parts from 1607. The church is a timber, red-colored building, with a stand-alone bell tower. The church is built in a special timber construction, that is the only preserved in the country. The altar piece was painted by Bror Hjorth.