Tag Archives: travel in Sweden

Travel Journal: Lapland

Do you guys get goosebumps just by remembering an amazing landscape, or simple an amazing experience? Well, this is how I feel right now. I don’t even know where to begin. This year I went on a trip to Lapland with my friends, all the way across the arctic circle, and this is definitely the best way to start the year. So let me begin by sharing with you guys what was my trip about.

Day 1: “1,700 km”

We started our journey from Gothenburg where we took a morning train to Stockholm, this was our meeting point with the rest of the group (have I mention how much I like trains in Europe? It’s the best way to move around and appreciate the landscape at the same time!). From Stockholm we got in a bus to begin the 14-ish hours journey to Kiruna. So yes, basically the first day we were trapped in a bus for 14-ish hours, but contrary to what you might be thinking, it was actually ok. We played Monopoly in the iPad (in my opinion the best 5 EU invested).

Day 2: “Northernmost town in Sweden”

After what it seemed an endless bus ride, we arrive to Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden, where we checked-in the hostel and immediately went to the breakfast buffet. After a having frukost (breakfast in Swedish) we took a walk aroun the town. Kiruna is known for being a mining town, so everything is settled around the iron mine.

At mid day we went on for the combi tour (dog sledge and snow mobile), and let me tell you… it was THE most exciting thing i’ve ever done in the past years. I didn’t wanted to think much about the dog sledge before going to the tour because I didn’t want to build a high expectation and be dissapointed after, but it was impossible not to think about it, at the end it was AMAZING, I was so excited that I wanted to buy 13 dogs and move around Gothenburg in a dog sledge (how cool would that be?). Im going off track now, so…yes…we splited into groups of 3 and each group hopped in a dog sledge to begin the tour, after 30 minutes we meet the rest of the group to swap from dog sledge to snow mobiles and viceversa.

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Zamba Husky Dog Sledge

Wait, before we swapped we obviously had FIKA! Going through the snow in a dog sledge means that you will move through the air faster, so this will make the thermal feeling way worse, and now imagine having -14 degrees air in your face. After 30 minutes I could  feel how my ears were about to fall off my head. So we drank coffee and tea and had muffins in this place.

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After the snow mobile tour we headed back to the hostel to have a couple of drinks before going to the New Year’s dinner. We had dinner in Scandic Ferrum Hotel in Kiruna and then off course we went to the club (probably the only club in Kiruna), I don’t have pictures of this part but you guys can imagine what happens if you put students in a club after a few drinks.

Day 3: “Let’s go further north

9:00 – alarm sounds *hits snooze*

9:16 – alarm sounds again, and now I know that it’s time to wake up, take a shower, pack our things and hop in the bus again. This time we were heading the ice hotel! The ice hotel is in the outskirts of Kiruna, so it was pointless removing all the layers. Just outside the town center  (like 1 km… kidding, it was more like 16 km) the ice hotel is located, in here we took a tour were the guide explained how the hotel is built, how it started, and so on. After the tour we got free time to explore the ice hotel.

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Before moving on to our next destination, we stopped by Rensjön where we visited a Sami family, in there they explained us how they live, their traditions, and everything about reindeers.

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Abisko was our next destination, where we stayed in Abisko Turistation STF Hostel, an amazing place in the middle of nature, a resort with cabins, a hotel and the hostel. A tourist meeting point for everyone interested in what Lapland has to offer. We arrive to the hostel around 17:00 so we went straight to the kitchen to cook something to dinner (we forgot the food we bought in the hostel in Kiruna, so we literally had bread with sauce for lunch).

Afterwards, we went to a tipi to have some marshmallows and glogg (hot wine with spices, popular in Sweden during the winter).

Tipi Abisko

Day 4: “Crossing the border

I’ve never considered myself a morning person, probably I will never be one. But something weird happens when I’m traveling, somehow I wake up much more easily. On the 4th day we went to Narvik, a town close to the border between Sweden and Norway, on our way to Narvik we saw even more amazing landscapes, and you know what they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words“.

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After a long day we returned to Abisko, where we had dinner and then we went to the sauna, we basically turned the sauna into a party. We got to see the auroras but I didn’t had my camera with me, they were amazing!

Day 5: “-22 degrees”

Final day. You might have heard that in Sweden there’s only a few hours of sunlight during the winter, it’s true…but It’s not as dark as you might think. Anyway, we decided to explore the area where the sauna was located, mainly because during the night we couldn’t see much. On our way to the sauna we found this spot.

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1.2 km later we reached the sauna, and behind the sauna a lake with steam coming out of the water surface, it kinda looked like one of those crime thriller scenes, the ones you can imagine when you read any Nordic thriller.

Sauna Abisko Turistation

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We packed everything on the bus and started our journey back, after 15 hours we were back in Stockholm.

This was the perfect way of ending a year and starting a new one, with a lot of new experiences and very good memories. I’m looking forward to explore more places in 2017.


#AndrésInGöteborg

This is Fårö, the most beautiful summer landscape in Sweden

Under the glistening sun, the blue sky and the calming sea breeze, I rode through the forests, the sandy beach and the vast meadows of Fårö on an Icelandic horse called Åsa.

Horse riding in Fårö

Anyone can do this!

Most of us are first-timers without any horse riding experience. There are experienced riders to guide and accompany us during our entire horse riding journey through the beautiful Swedish landscape.

Riding on Icelandic horses in Fårö

A surge of Adrenaline

When I first got up on Åsa, I panicked when I don’t know how to control her to move left or right. As we began riding, the horses obediently follow behind each other. Downhills, uphills, slow pace, fast pace … a combination of everything during the one hour of horse riding.

My pulse fluctuated dramatically. I went from eager to panic. From nervous to steady. From calm to exhilaration when Åsa began to trot on the beach.

Iceland horse on Fårö

Fårö reminds me how great it is to be outdoors, to busk at nature and to slow down

Photo by Satu

Journey through the nature, a ride to remember

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Fårö has the most beautiful summer landscape in Sweden!

Fårö, a small Baltic island which lies off the north of Gotland. Fårö translates to ‘Sheep Island’ in Swedish and there are certainly more sheep than human on this island. With a population of less than 600, there no banks, post offices, medical services or police. During summer, Fårö can expect 10,000 visitors a day! If you want to visit Fårö, remember to book your summer accommodation early.

Fårö is also where the legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman used to live and several of his films were filmed here. Here you can find Bergman Center, a museum that focuses on the life and artistic achievements of Ingmar Bergman.

Fårö, Gotland coastal landscapeFårö landscapefarm in FåröFårö, Gotland landscapeFårö, GotlandBy the beach in Fårö, GotlandSunrise in Fårö, Gotland

This is also where the horses live and roam freely

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#ThisFeeling is one of my most memorable experiences in Sweden

Iceland horse in Fårö

My Top 8 Swedish Experiences

Study in Sweden brings me so many new experiences, from trying all kinds of weird and amazing Swedish food to the love-hate relationship with Swedish weather and also the quirky Swedish traditions from crayfish party to Easter egg hunting in the woods.

Sometimes, I struggle to do activities that are out of my comfort zone – dipping in ice lake in winter, riding snow mobile, speaking Swedish etc. but then it also comes the satisfaction of conquering it. Finally able to say ‘I did it’ feels simply wonderful!

Here comes my top 8 Swedish experiences

1. Sleeping on ice-bed (without heater)

Traveled from +45°C to -35°C, first timer for a 70°C dip! The thought of sleeping overnight on an ice-bed in Ice Hotel Jukkasjärvi scares me. Thankfully, it’s only 5°C indoors and I was well-equipped with a warm sleeping bag and overalls to stay warm. No sweat.

2. Being chauffeured by 10 sleigh Dogs and a guide

These dogs are incredibly fast and they also fart a lot with the wind blows towards us, what an unforgettable experience. I couldn’t feel my legs after sitting still for over an hour on the sleigh at below -30°C but I will totally do it again.

3. Riding snowmobile in Kiruna, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle

Guaranteed adrenaline rush especially for first-timers but it was so worth it!

4. Meeting drunk moose

When the moose is more drunk than me. Quite puzzling and funny, I found out from my Swedish friend that the moose were drunk from consuming the fallen fermented apples. Both mother moose and baby moose stay put and lay there outside my friend’s house in the countryside for a few days straight in a row, by the apple tree. Such is life!

5. Swedish weather A-Z

Snow storm, hail, rainy, foggy, misty, windy, sunny, dry .. well, I experienced all here but the ones that hit me the hardest are the sunny perfect summer weather which makes me want to be out all the time and the dark, freezing, wet and snowy that sets me in hibernation mood.

6. Midsummer party and sittnings

There are many Swedish traditions but midsummer is my top favorite. Everyone is so happy, drinking and dancing around the maypole. I’m absolutely in love with those handmade floral crowns. Tip: Learn to sing ‘små grodorna‘ and join in the midsummer dance!

If you’re an international student in Sweden, then sittning is a must. It is essentially a theme student dinner party. Honestly, I would say it’s about 20% dinner and 80% party. Make new friends, get to know the Swedes, learn Swedish drinking songs and party.

7. Christmas markets and julbord

This may sound ordinary but coming from the tropics, having a ‘real Christmas’ in winter, going to Christmas markets and indulging in the julbord actually means a lot. I’m tried of fake snow bubbles and sweating over Christmas.

8. Sauna and ice dipping (on repeat)

I had strong doubts at first but once I overcome it, it’s one of the best experiences ever. Of course, my bare feet were almost numb while walking over the snow to the icy lake but the best part comes when I get to defrost in the sauna. Absolutely refreshing!

There are still so many things left to experience …

On my to-do list includes the northern lights (I went up north but sadly didn’t manage to see), tree top hotel, ice-fishing and a lot more. I’m really looking forward to checking off the list. So, what are your top Swedish experiences, do share them!