Friday, August 05, 2005

DAY 06 - rain, small world and hello fjällen!

rain. rain. rain. more rain. and i mean rain, not a light drizzle or some such. soooo - we are not sure what to do. strike the tent in the rain and move on, or wait for the rain to stop? for a while we hang around, have a cup of tea, but it keeps pouring down. still, we pack up our stuff, in order to be ready to leave once the rain stops or lets up.

once the rain does stop, but begins again even before we are out of the tent! but then ... it looks like an interval, and i decide to get our stuff into the car while sepp's making us some tea. just as i close the car doors, a woman comes out of the mobile home from my hometown and i say "so you are from spittal?" and she looks surprised and replies: "yes! you too?" she asks my surname, and immediately knows who my parents are, and where we live. she tells me her name - she is from my hometown, not some other place in the district. she calls to her husband that "the girly is from the gabriel family in tirolerstrasse!" ("vom gabriel in da tirolastråßn ståmmts diandle", for those of you who speak carinthian! *G*)

a little later, i speak to her husband too, and he asks me whether i went to high school in spittal. i did. he asks whether i know a professor gröchenig - and i certainly do. he was my physics teacher when i started high school! i still remember the sneezing powder experiment - we put some of it between the pages of the class register, but he discovered it, and was soooo furious! anyway, mr moser tells me that i just missed mr gröchenig who's travelling with them for a while and who's about to give them a tour at esrange, europe's civil space station near kiruna. well, there you go - it is a small world after all.

we strike the tent and pack everything into our car, then leave kiruna for the northwest. the scenery is alpine, apart from the crippled birch trees which are so typical of the area. swampy territory, perfect moose country; cotton grass dotting the green; small ponds and creeks in front of rugged mountains, some of them snow-covered; snowfields even quite close to the road. then we drive along the torneträsk, its deep blue water accompanying us into abisko. oh - and we have escaped the rain! :)

the area around abisko is the driest in sweden, i am surprised to learn. and it is certainly beautiful. we visit the fjäll station and decide to stay. pitching the tent is rather difficult because the ground is hard, lots of stones and rock, but eventually it's done. a german couple sells us soups and some other stuff really cheap, because they have too much to carry. :)

we watch a slide show that evening, about abisko national park, then join a guided tour around the fjäll station which is informative and nice. the weather gets better all the time, and the sky is incredible at night. the walk starts at 9 pm - that's so cool about the north, there is plenty of time for all sorts of outdoor activities, because the sun doesn't set! we get to see the waterfall, hear stories about how the well-known railway to narvik was built to transport iron ore to the coast, and other interesting historic bits and pieces.

evening sky at abisko

it's past ten when we get back to the main building, and the setting sun transforms the sky into the most fascinating display of colours, clouds and light. we watch the sun from indoors over a nice cup of hot chocolate, then go back to the campground. i cannot sleep very well that night, because i am so cold, even though i am wearing several layers of clothes. :(

day 06 photos

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