🙂 AWESOME Northern Lights. Driving dogs. Stunning scenery.
🙁 Everything to love.
We were up at 8am for breakfast and then took headed east on the only road Marknadsvägen towards the oldest church in Lapland and which dates to 1607 in its oldest parts.The brightly coloured triptych depicts the coming together of Christian and Sami traditions. The organ is made from reindeer horn and birch and is decorated with Sami mythology. The mummified bodies of locals who died in the 18th century are still buried beneath the church floor. The sun only started rising at 10h50!
Next stop was the Sami cultural centre where there are boards describing their culture and way of life – extremely interesting. The traditional song of the Sami is called Jojking and many consider it to be the oldest form of music in Europe. The song is sung without lyrics and is a way of expressing feelings. In the past all Sami people had their own Jojk describing their personality. It is also used to calm reindeer. After feeding the reindeer who were rather exuberant to get their share we headed indoors for traditional Kaffeost – a Scandinavian combination of coffee with cubes cheese made from reindeer milk and served in a guksi (a hand carved wooden mug made from a birch burl). Tradition dictates that the coffee is always boiled and never brewed and is prepared over an open fire. It squeaks a bit when you bite it and is rather pleasant!
We strolled back to the Ice Hotel. The light was stunning.
Finally it was time for us to be collected and taken to the kennels to choose our dogs for our next adventure: Dog Sledding! They use a company called Fjellborg Arctic Journeys. We had the delightful daughter called Anna who assisted us. We were each given four dogs and taught how to harness them and how to use the brake on the sled – hard brake and soft brake … and then we were off!! The dogs are highly excitable and barked like crazy when we stopped. They love it and can apparently run at full speed for 3 hours at a time! There are two skidoos who are also travelling with your convoy in case anyone gets into any trouble, so very safe. I cannot describe the peaceful tranquility if driving your dogs through the snowy wilderness for a few hours. It was a meditative experience with the soft wooshing of snow through the forest and then open terrain, only disturbed by the occasional the sound of the brake against the snow when we had to slow down. Exhilarating and peaceful, at the same time. Just a wonderful experience.
We arrived at the log cabins in the forest to a welcome fire and hot drink. Dinner was served which was delicious reindeer washed down with red wine. The log cabins were really warm and cosy with wood burners adding to the ambiance. Just lovely.
After dinner we headed to the sauna and did some snow rolling in -30C!! When in Sweden…!!
When we left the sauna we were greeted by the most incredible Northern Lights – MAGICAL! We stood on the lake and could hear the loud cracking of ice in an otherwise silent wilderness. DIVINE.
Just WOW. We fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow with green swirls filling our dream….zzzzzzz