Apollo 1 - European Incursion

Notes as I travel

Waiting for a train
Dog sledding over a frozen lake

In Search of Santa

18 hours on a bus is something no man should endure.  Although once I had arrived at Kiruna, a mining town north of the Arctic Circle, with an irreversibly deformed spine, 37 minutes of broken sleep and a hunger that would put to shame a pack of ravenous wolves, this fact seemed completely irrelevant.  As soon as I had stepped off the bus, we almost immediately started on a 3 hour snowmobile and dog sledding adventure (please be assured that these two events occurred independently of one another).  Despite an incident where Ani fed Titan (the prized and invaluable leader of the husky pack) his glove, the experience was simply breathtaking.

This was a place that did not see the sun.  There was 30mins of sunlight but at no point did the sun rise above the horizon.  It is one thing to read about this, to imagine it, but quite another to actually be there.  My preconceptions were preoccupied with the idea of only having 30mins of daylight, which ignored the rather depressing fact that this would correspond with 23.5hours of darkness.

The Ice Hotel is impractical.  And a disappointment.  A patron will pay an inordinate sum of money for a room with no en suite, no TV, no mini bar and no sink.  Also the room is made of ice.  It is perfect for the person who enjoys nothing but sitting on a bed of ice.  But for no one else.

You would assume that climbing a frozen waterfall with two ice-picks and boots with metal claws attached would be beyond cool.  In this case, your assumption would be entirely vindicated.  I myself came to this realisation as I dangled from the ice wall by one pick, recovery only possible by means of a last-ditch effort to swing my entire body sideways and smash my other pick high above my head.  What a rush!

In a similar vein to the whole 23 hours of darkness scenario - the Northern Lights. Pictures can only say so much.  And no amount of written explanation could ever fully articulate the insanity of the Northern Lights.  For more information, please attend Northern Lights.

My trip to Lapland was undoubtedly one of the greatest things I’ve ever done with my life (except for the Ice Hotel bit).  But I didn’t enjoy it solely due to it’s outrageous other-worldliness.  The people I went with were a deliciously vibrant and vivacious icing on top of  an already particularly delicious cake.  Few words, but much love.

Uppsala as seen from class today

An Explained Absence

It was a matter of months ago that I last posted an update.  But that’s not to say that nothing has happened.  The lack of update is probably due to the fact that I’ve settled into a rhythm here - I’m still experiencing a whole bunch of new and fantastic things but because I have become accustomed to having my mind blown on a regular basis it just doesn’t occur to me that I should write it down.

I mean, I went to Copenhagen for the weekend.  In Sydney, you drive up the F3 on Friday night, stay at Terrigal for the weekend, maybe have some Thai on the beach or go to the RSL for dinner and you’ve had an amazing weekend.  I took a train to Denmark and didn’t even feel the need to inform people.  Oh yeah there was also the little matter of the hurricane that hit whilst I was there.  Sure, no big deal…

How about going to see Sweden and Portugal play for a spot in the World Cup?  That’s the kind of thing you would write about yeah? Nah.  The two best players in the world played, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and they scored five goals between them.  The stadium was filled to the brim with overly patriotic Swedes.  Although admittedly I’m not a huge football fan (I genuinely thought Zlatan and Ibrahimovic were two different people and had to ask one of the guys as to why they never appeared on the field together), the whole experience was absolutely sensational and something I’ll never forget.  Something that you would definitely write down, right?

However looking at my calendar, I can tell that the next month will not go undocumented. In fact, the activities that are in store actually demand updates.  See in about a week I go dogsledding in Lapland, surely the first snow of the season will warrant a post, Christmas is only around the corner and don’t get me started on New Year’s Eve in Geneva.  At this late stage of the game, updates are crucial.

Stay tuned.

Got to the game a little early - and got a little lost…