If anyone were to ask me which vacation was the best I’ve ever had,
it would have to be my visit to Kiruna and Abisko.
It was a trip of many first-times –
first time on a dog sled, first time seeing the Northern Lights, first time in a snow fight,
first time on snow mobile, first time sleeping on a bed made of ice!
I was a little apprehensive when A said that we should try dog sledding.
Because I am a worry wart.
What if we fall. What if we fall and we cut ourselves.
What if we fall and we cut ourselves and bleed.
What if we fall and we cut ourselves and bleed to death because we are too far from any help.
But after rounds of persuasion from A, I caved.
We arrived at the dog pens area where all the dogs were at.
All of them became mad excited when they saw us approaching, it must be because they know they will be getting a good run soon!
I felt quite bad, to be honest.
Because it was like -20 degrees and these dogs look like they are FREEZING!
They looked a little fierce but they are the friendliest dogs around, really.
After a short crash course on how to control the sleds, we set off into the icy grounds!
A, being the bolder one between us, took charge of controlling the sled.
And I sat in the sled in front of her.
A’s main role is to control the speed of the sled, and both of us play a part on “balancing”
(or rather counter-balancing) the sled especially during turns.
We were also taught a few commands in Swedish so we could get the dogs to speed up, slow down, stop.
There were three sleds in total, each with 2 persons.
The guide is in the first sled with our new Taiwanese friend, Su Lin.
The second sled has our two new Japanese friends Yukari and Ayumi.
And we are in the third sled.
It turned out to be a 5 Asian girls team! :p
It was really very very cold. Look at my pretty lashes! Heh!
Thank god for the balaclava if not I will no longer have a nose now.
It’s really gross though because the balaclava is constantly wet. 😡
Our two lead dogs are Stewie and Wasabi!
I wish there were more photos but it was quite difficult to take pictures because taking pictures
involves REMOVAL OF GLOVES which means painful fingers.
You must be thinking “how come Peggy doesn’t want to get gloves that works with touch screen phones”?
Trust me, those are useless when your have to wear 2 (sometimes 3) pairs of gloves,
and the finger tips on your gloves are constantly moist.
Worst part is – you have to take pictures fast because your phone will go into a coma
if it’s out in the open for too long because of the cold!
So anyways, photos!
By this picture, we have already travelled a fair bit, in forests and over frozen lakes.
It was just SUCH A GREAT EXPERIENCE!!!
And I am very, very, very happy A managed to talk me into doing dog sledding.
This is really one of the best experiences I have had in my life!
It is just so magical to see the dogs brave the snow (which is as deep/tall as them!),
bringing us across the nothingness.
They are just SO amazing, really!
Lunch time was in a little teepee (in the middle of nowhere).
Our guide, Sebastian (quite handsome hor. haha!) brought along the wood and food for us.
Sebastian is on Facebook and you can probably find out a little more about
how it’s like in Kiruna from his profile.
He started out working as a guide and now, he owns runs his own tour company and
still personally brings tours out on dog sledding trips, etc.
You can also contact him if you would like to use his tours while you’re there!
That said, I am really amazed by how much the people I’ve met in Kiruna love their country,
their city and the nature.
They are so passionate about what they do, and I can feel that they truly enjoy sharing their love for their home and the nature with like-minded visitors.
Appetizers in the teepee!
First time eating a marshmallow on a twig which I picked up from the ground!!!!!
HAHAHAHA! But like shiok!
See. We kind of look like marshmallows too. HAHAHA!
I love Kiruna!
– – –
As I thought that was the most thrilling thing I have ever done, A and I went to look for the lights.
The Northern Lights, that is!
It felt like yesterday when we both sat by the window, discussing about what is on our bucket list.
I told A that I would like to ride in a hot air balloon someday, and also see the auroras.
But I quickly brushed it off because I am quite afraid of the cold.
The next time I know, we are in frigging Abisko!
It was quite a crazy night!
We arrived at Abisko Sky Station, totally clueless about how everything is going to be like.
And it was SOOOOOOO cold!
We were made to put on a one-piece outside of whatever we are wearing.
Yes, remember that marshmallow photo you see above?
We wore another SUPER THICK ONE PIECE OUTSIDE of that outfit.
We look like Michelin Man after we were done. Haha!
(picture taken from the web)
We took a ski lift up the hill in the dark.
To be frank, I was quite scared because it really is very scary!
The ride up took about 20 mins.
And it was in PITCH DARK! (Ok, only got moonlight)
Overtime the ski lift stops to pick up/alight people, the ski lift we were on would swwwaaayyyyyyy~
The way up was also very windy and that made the cold in worse.
I had to use my hands to cover my face while I was on the ski lift because my face felt like it was going numb.
This is a picture I found online to show how the ski lift was like.
It’s like that at night, except it’s like pitch dark la.
When we reached the top, the feeling was just… indescribable.
The view was nothing like I’ve ever seen before!
Fortunately, my little point and shoot camera worked fine in the darkness.
But with the crazy amount of correcting done on the light,
it made it look like the photos were taken in the day. Haha!
According to the forecast, the chances of seeing the lights were pretty low because of the clouds.
Groups of people shuffled in and out of the sky station to check out the sky and warm up indoors periodically.
As we needed to meet our driver to head back to our hotel at a certain time,
we started to get a little disappointed when the lights didn’t appear
as the time for us to leave draws near.
The group of people sitting on the face of the hill got smaller and smaller because of the cold.
A and I were the LAST two to give up, and as we were walking back to the warm room,
WE (THOUGHT WE) SAW GREEN LIGHTS!
It was like a hallucination, and we were not sure whether it was us imagining.
But after one photo using my camera, we were certain! Aurora has showed herself!!!
It was so surreal.
For a moment, we felt no cold and next thing I know we are scaling the hill on our knees
and one hand (another hand holding the camera)! HAHAHA!
No words can describe how it feels like lying on the snow above the world watching Aurora dance.
One more item on the Bucket List checked.