Travels with V

Swedish Lapland

Mountains, rapids, and wild walks

Part two, Kaalasjärvi - Björkliden - Abisko

We head west towards the mining city of Kiruna and the mountains. We have reserved a table for dinner and overnight stay at a place called Arctic Gourmet Cabin in the tiny village of Kaalasjärvi. The restaurant is also tiny, just four people and the place is full. Johan Löfgren runs the place with his wife Malin. 

OUTDOOR COOKING STOVE
JOHAN LÖFGREN

We are the only guests tonight so we have Johan all to ourselves. He has a way of making us feel like old and dear friends while he’s preparing the most delicious courses for us. Rösti from the local “mandel” potato, kalix roe, grilled reindeer fillet and sorbet with wild berries. Next morning a generous breakfast awaits us in the little restaurant. We leave Johan with blissful smiles on our faces. 

THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT
GRILLED REINDEER FILLET

By now the high mountains are towering ahead. We drive along the southern shore of  lake Torneträsk, The largest mountain lake in Scandinavia, and the second deepest lake in Sweden. Here we find famous winter ski resorts like Björkliden and Abisko that in summer are havens for mountain hiking. There’s lots of people milling about here, all dressed up in the latest outdoor fashion, most of them young people from the Stockholm area, judging by their accent.

Our journey’s most westerly point is Riksgränsen, on the Norwegian border. In wintertime an exclusive ski resort, but now remarkably desolate. It’s actually hard to imagine a ski paradise among these grey and unfriendly slabs of rock. Everything is closed for the season, including the border, Norway doesn’t allow Swedes to visit because of the covid pandemic.

TORNETRÄSK UNDER HEAVY CLOUDS
RIKSGRÄNSEN UNCOVERED

In nearby Björkliden we have booked a stay in a small cabin and some fine walks await us. Starting soft we follow  Rakkasjokk, a lively little water throwing itself down steep mountain sides right next to the now green ski slopes. The water is crystal clear and just before entering into lake Torneträsk it throws itself out in the beautiful Silver Falls.

The sun shines in the morning when we start our first real hike. Our first stop is “Rallarkyrkogården”, a small cemetery in a mountain forest near Tornehamn. Workers building the railway line betwen Luleå and Narvik 120 years ago who died of accidents or diseases were buried here, many with just a first name and date of death. 

A legendary woman also lies here. She was a Norwegian cook for the railway workers, and was commonly called “Svarta Björn” (Black Bear) because of her bravery. What her real name was is a bit of a mystery, Most often it’s supposed to be “Anna”. She is said to have died after a fight with another woman over a man. More recently other people have also been buried here, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the very remote location. 

The railway line is called “Malmbanan”, “the Ore line”, since that’s what it was built for, transporting iron ore from the mines to the coast. About 20 trains a day rattle by with their long tail of cargo containers. Three passenger trains also run here each day.

Leaving the cemetery our path turns sharply leading straight up the steep hillside. The sun disappeares and now it’s raining. The paths are soon transferred to slippery creeks. V takes a wrong step and her shoe is filled with water. There’s an ominous swishing sound when she walks.  But when we reach the so called Crater Lake the rest of the walk gets more horizontal. We had hoped to be able to sit down inside the cabin by the lake, but it’s already occupied by a bunch of young men throwing food around, so we keep on walking.

When at last we’re back in Björkliden the rain stops and the sun shines again. We have walked 12 kilometers and our legs hurt.

The weather is mostly cloudy and the rain comes and goes. But on one relatively clear day we head over to Abisko where they have an open ski lift up to the top of  mount Nuolja, 900 meters above sea level.  At the top we have the most amazing overview of lake Torneträsk and the surrounding mountains. Abisko village lies some 600 meters below us. And there’s hot coffee served in the top café.

Jag som gör den här resebloggen heter Lars Aldman och jag har tidigare jobbat som journalist mm på SR och SVT. Och "V" som jag reser med är min älskade hustru Veronica, journalist och fotograf.

Vår favoritsysselsättning är att resa runt i världen och se andra kulturer och samhällen. I flera år har vi äventyrat i Asien, Afrika och Latinamerika, och även naturligtvis i Europa. Och vi vill gärna dela med oss av våra erfarenheter och glädjeämnen, och hoppas att ni vill följa med oss!

PS. På sajten aldmangallery.com hittar ni mina bilder från både när och (mest) fjärran. Djur, natur, samhällen och människor.
Resebloggar finns det gott om men vi har en lite annan tanke med våra berättelser. Vi vill främst beskriva våra upplevelser av udda platser, människorna vi möter och miljöer som är rätt annorlunda mot vad vi möter hemma.

Därför hamnar vi ibland i avlägsna indianbyar i Guatemalas berg eller bland andetroende bybor på en ö i Indonesien. Men också på mer kända platser som Machu Picchu i Peru eller sandstränderna i Goa. Allt sett genom våra ögon och kameror.

Den som vill ha restips får också sitt - varje resmål har en avdelning med sånt vi kan rekommendera. Eller undvika. Vårt fokus är framför allt att sporra er läsare att göra som vi - resa rätt ut i den vida världen.

Jag heter Lars Aldman och har bl a jobbat som journalist mm på SR och SVT.  Och "V" som jag reser med är min älskade hustru Veronica, som också är journalist och fotograf. Vi älskar att resa och uppleva andra kulturer. I flera år har vi rest omkring i världens fyra hörn och vi vill gärna dela med oss av våra erfarenheter och glädjeämnen på dessa upptäcktsfärder. Hoppas ni vill följa med!

Hej!

Vår senaste resa gick till Albanien där vi under tre veckor upplevde detta okända men så spännande och vackra land. Från de hisnande höga bergen i norr, de gamla städerna och de djupa floddalarna i landets mitt, till de långa stränderna med sitt klara vatten i söder. Klicka på Albanien och läs om landets dramatiska historia och dess vänliga och gästfria invånare.

NYTT!

There's now a new addition to the blog, about our trip to Albania. During three weeks we traveled up and down this unknown but beautiful country. From the high mountains in the north to the ancient towns and the deep valleys inland, to the sandy beaches and the clear green water in the south. Click on Albania in the map and read about its dramatic history and kind and hospitable people.

NEW!
I'm Lars Aldman from Sweden. I worked for many years at the Swedish National TV and Radio, but now my main interest is traveling around the world with "V", my lovely wife Veronica, who is a freelance journalist and photographer.
For the last ten years we have traveled through Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. We love to experience different cultures and societies and we hope you'll join us!