Exploring deeper inside the Arctic Region
I left Jokkmokk very late at around 2pm since I slept so late the night before hunting the northern lights. I knew that I wont make it so far that day. The road is hilly after Jokkmokk and the headwind was blowing fiercely. The next village is Porjus which is only 45km away but I don’t expect to reach it on the same day. The wind was really slowing me down by a lot and I was struggling on each climb even though it is not so steep. I had my usual problem, I was thirsty but all my drinks were completely frozen. But at least the sun is shining more fiercely now, well, most of the time… I went slower and slower after each climb, I was hoping to reach Porjus on the same day but its getting darker and I still have some 20km to go. While I was climbing one of the hills, a car from the opposite direction stopped at the roadside. And a guy came out from the car shouting and laughing at me. I was shocked, it was Adrian, a Swiss traveller that I met in a café in Jokkmokk. He was actually hoping to see me again on the road. He is a very talkative and fun guy, always smiling and has a good characteristic. So I stopped there, had a good conversation with him and decided to camp there for the night. The ground was a paved road so it was impossible to pitch my tent there and since I was lazy to camp in the snow that day, I decided to sleep in his car. So we cook dinner together and have a long conversation before went to sleep early. It was surprising that it is also cold to sleep in the car, almost as cold as sleeping inside a tent and he had a very good sleeping bag as well. He is currently traveling all around northern Europe with his car from his home in Switzerland, mostly sleeping inside his car.
The next morning, after cooking our breakfast, we finally said goodbye to each other and I proceed a few more kilometres towards Porjus and he drove back south towards Jokkmokk. It was only some 13km left to Porjus so I took my time taking photos of the beautiful landscape in the Swedish Lapland. I arrived Porjus somewhere at noon, a very small village but there is one supermarket so that I can get some food and drinks. There was a hotel at the end of the village owned by a lady from the UK. Surprising, she let me to stay in the hotel for free for as long as I want. I guess she knows that I’ve been camping in the cold in the forest and really need a warm shower and a good bed to sleep. The rate for the room there is very expensive especially for me, who travel with very limited resource, but I was so lucky that she let me in for free. I had a big room complete with fast wifi connection, private kitchen and living room all by myself. I felt so thankful, traveling alone on a bicycle especially in the Arctic during winter is not something easily done, especially without much money. But here the local people are helping me everywhere!!… and this tough journey seems easy for me somehow, because of all the help.
The hotel owner, Patricia, is actually an expert in photographing northern lights and has been living here for more than 15 years. She has webcam cameras everywhere near her house to detect the northern lights. Shes been photographing the northern lights for many years and had published a book on it called “Arctic Light – The Eyes of My Heart”. Please have a visit at her website, http://www.arctic-color.com/ . I’m promoting her now because she has saved me from the harsh -20 celcius for 2 nights and sleep so nicely with soft pillows hehe. Too bad I didn’t see any strong northern lights during my stay in Porjus. Only some very weak green aurora in the sky for a few minutes before it disappears again. The Aurora Borealis is very difficult to predict.