Recovering in Kiruna
I stopped 3 days in Kiruna… resting and recovering since I felt a bit ill when I first reached Kiruna. I guess the incident that I fell inside the frozen river made me felt a bit sick since I was cold for the night. My body was feeling weak and I spent most of my time lying on the comfortable bed. This is the first time I paid full price for a dorm since Im in Sweden. Sadly, the hostel was fully booked and they gave me a bed in the basement with the same price as the normal bed in the dormitory. But I feel really comfortable, I was alone in the basement and its quiet down here, which I always like. Always feel good when Im lying on a bed and the heater is just next to me so I kept warmed at all times.
On my 3 days staying in Kiruna, I met many exchanged students mostly studying in Stockholm who are now on a short semester break. Most of them are from Europe and I also met a girl from China, Wen, who is studying in Berlin. Its good sometimes to meet some other tourists as well. Theyre doing short trips around northern Sweden and they had totally different experience than what I had. It made me think, from the experience that they shared with me, surely they look at things at totally different perspective from me. They experienced things that I never had. During their 3 days staying in Kiruna, some went for horse riding trip, some went for dog sledding trip and made a visit to the famous Ice Hotel nearby Kiruna, which is really famous tourist attraction here in northern Sweden. I couldn’t experience any of these since it is so expensive for me. Theres no way I can spend thousands of Swedish krona a day like most normal tourists… so I just enjoyed looking at their photos and videos of doing dog sledding and stuff.
Surely there are advantages and disadvantages living the life on the road for a very long time. Traveling for a long time, I really have to be careful with my financial, the less I spend the longer I can travel… which means I can go further and see more. But to have the same experience on what normal tourists have is something difficult to have. I just live my life on the road and took myself really close to nature, as close as I can. Tourist attraction places, I can just look at it from far… from outside the fence. When I first started my journey on a bicycle years ago, I always have a target on how many kilometres I should go, places that I should visit, starting and ending point etc. But now after being long on the road, I realized none of those matters. Theres no difference if I cycled 20 000km or 200km. The most important is the experience I gain from it, what I see and what I learn and how it changes me. I usually don’t go to cities or even tourist places. But here in Kiruna, it’s a tourist place. So it feels weird when other guys who stayed in the hostel are busy with their activities doing horse riding, dog sledding and stuff for the whole day while Im taking a good rest on my bed reading books. At first I was thinking to visit the famous Ice Hotel here near Kiruna but since I heard they said its expensive even to go in to snap photos, I decided not to go. I can always look at the photos on google. I don’t consider myself as a tourist but when Im traveling, I consider the road as my home, the forest and mountainside as my bedroom… the stars as my ceiling and the moon as my bedroom lamp. Many people that I met along the way asked me how long it took me to save up the money to do this long trip. They really thought that I spend a lot of money to do this. Shockingly, I spent more when I went backpacking a month around Thailand Laos and Myanmar 5 years ago compared to a month here in Sweden. Back then, I took train, bus and van to move from places to places. I sleep in guesthouses everynight and eat in shops every meal. Here, even its much more expensive in Scandinavia, I sleep in the forest or hosted by kind people, I cook myself, drink the boiled water from the snow in the forest and move slowly with my bicycle from village to village, hills after hills.
I never let even a single panadol to get inside my body since my school days whenever Im sick, to train my body to use its own power to fight the sickness. So I drink a lot of hot water and a good enough rest is the key to feel better again. Once in a while I walked around town and the nearby hill to film a timelapse video of the beautiful sunset. Its really getting warmer now, sometimes the temperature can go above 0 degrees and the sun is really shining now. It is already spring now, it feels sooo good! But each night when the sky is dark, I went to hunt some Aurora Borealis with the guys in my hostel. We were really lucky, for 3 nights we hunt the northern lights, we were successful for 2 nights. Actually we saw the magic lights every night here but we saw really strong northern lights for 2 nights. The first night was the strongest. It was all over above our heads for many hours and for 2-3 minutes, it gets really strong and it was the combination of green and pink color above our heads. It was the most beautiful thing ever. Sadly I missed the strong green and pink color lights on my camera since my camera was filming the same lights on the horizon. It was all over and moves really fast, very hard to predict where the lights dance.
On the second night we went again to another location, with much better views but not so good place to enjoy the lights since it was too bright there. We stayed for less than 2 hours and went back earlier since the guys were feeling cold. On the last night I was there, we went to another place which is dark and we managed to see it again. This year is actually the peak of the northern lights, something like the solar activity is most active for every 12 years cycle. So the next time where the maximum activity of the northern lights will be is the year 2025. This is one of the main reason why I choose to bike in the Scandinavian Arctic on winter this year. To see the magical Aurora Borealis has long been my dream. But we didn’t stay too late on the last night I was there, since I need to sleep early and wake up early the next day for a long ride towards the Norwegian border.
Its good to see the landscape dramatically change from forest to mountains. I see less trees after Kiruna, it looks like tundra up here. This is good, since Ive been cycling through forests for a month now. And now the landscapes slowly change into tundra and will slowly change to mountains and finally the grand legendary Norwegian fjords! Spring is really here already, I don’t feel so cold anymore, riding between 0c to -5c is really comfortable. And the sun… ahh… it feels… sexy!!.. to ride under the bright sunshine! Now I just hope that the wind will blow me forward, fighting strong headwind is really tough. And they said that the Aurora Borealis will still show up for another week or two up here, hope that I will get lucky to see it few more times before it disappear until the next coming winter.