We spent most of yesterday in the apartment in Katterjokk, doing exciting stuff like washing clothes, catching up on what’s happening on the interwebz and cooking a delicious dinner of pulled pork and vegetables. We tried to buy more pulled pork at the supermarket today but they have sold out. Now we’ll be looking for it every time we go into a Swedish supermarket. We ventured out last night to do some aurora-watching, but even though it was a very clear (and cold, down to -7C!) night, there wasn’t much solar activity and the aurora weren’t all that exciting.
So today we were ready to do some exploring and decided to drive to Narvik, which is 45kms away. It still amuses me that we can do a day trip to another country, which probably just means I’m easily amused. As soon as we got across into Norway, the countryside changed – it became more mountainous, and where this part of Sweden is mostly unpopulated outside the towns and villages, in Norway there are houses, huts and holiday cottages dotted all over the place. The sky was full of pink clouds that look like sunrise/sunset clouds, even though it was 11am and at the moment the sun doesn’t rise or set at all. I did find out that the sun will rise in Narvik on Tuesday for the first time in a month … and then it will set 30 minutes later. We’ll be watching for it on Tuesday, but I’m not sure when it actually rises here. We’ll let you know.
We drove to Narvik and on the way I remembered that Greg had really enjoyed Lefse, a Norwegian pastry, when we were here 6 months ago, so we made it our mission to find some for him. Except that all the shops are closed on a Sunday and we had both completely forgotten that. So we walked around the city centre for a few blocks, trying to walk on grit and not to slip on the icy footpaths. It’s warmer in Narvik than in Katterjokk, and not as snowy, probably because it’s located on a huge fjord which gets warm(ish) water from the Gulf Stream. As we walked, it started getting dark and we loved looking at all the houses and lights perched along the sides of the fjord. Very pretty. There is a ski slope just above the town and we saw people skiing, but the real ski season doesn’t start for another month or so when there is more snow. The checkout operator at the little supermarket here told us that it can get down to -40C, and Greg has just read that the snow around here can last from late September to May!
We drove back to the apartment with the 63 Norwegian kronor ($12) in coins that I had brought from Australia, so I guess we can regard it as possibly the cheapest trip to Norway ever! We’re planning the next part of our trip, and the choices were to go to Norway or Finland. Just those few hours in Narvik reminded us of how expensive Norway is …so we’re heading east to Finland. We want to stay inside the Arctic Circle, in the hope of seeing more Lights, and have booked a cottage just across the border for a few nights.