The Long Drive to Swedish Lapland – Day 1&2

Date: 14th/15th February 2015

What We Did: Today was the day we were flying to Swedish Lapland. I was so excited as I had been to Finish Lapland back in 2007 and it was so much fun. In this trip we were also taking my Mum and Sister along for the ride. It was a very long ride, we drove down to London to catch our flight from Stanstead with EasyJet. It was a late flight where we arrived into Stockholm at around 10pm. We picked up our rental car and it was so cold outside.

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When we booked this trip we got a really good deal with flights so decided to drive up to Lapland (1338km away) to where we would be staying Bjorkliden. It was fun and games trying to get out of Stockholm as we had no Sat Nav and just a map of Sweden. The map only showed the main roads in Sweden and not the smaller roads in each city. We eventually found the correct road that we would be on for hours. We were around 2 hours into our journey when disaster happened. Mike hit a deer and it made us all jump a mile. We carried on going until the next petrol station which was miles away.

Once we had stopped we notice that the indicator lights were not working. Once out of the car we saw that there was quite a lot of damage with the lights and bumper. We didn’t know what to do as by now it was 1am and we were in the middle of no where in the freezing cold. We decided we would have to drive onwards until morning and things were open again. By this point we were all shaking with a mix of adrenaline and cold. From there on out we were paranoid about hitting something else as the deer jumped out of nowhere.

At around 6am we saw the sunrise and the snow was getting thicker, the scenery was beautiful and so magical. The sunrise was amazing, we decided to stop to watch it and have a nap in the car as Mike was struggling to stay awake by now. We slept for just over 1 hour and felt better. We moved on to Umea where we stopped at a service station, phoned the car rental company to try and sort this out. It took a long time and a lot of work from the person behind the counter at the shop to translate for us. Eventually we were picked up and taken to the closest car rental place.

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It took a long time to sort the car out and were told that we had written it off as the whole radiator had gone along with lights and bumper. As we had insurance through a third party we had to pay £600 excess which we would get back from the third party. We learned our lesson and will always book all cover through the company in future. After a few hours we were in our new car and on the road again, heading for Kiruna.

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When we got to Kiruna it was dark and around 6pm we needed to go to the supermarket and pick up food for out lodge. It was so windy and the snow was so deep here. We made a quick stop and filled the car up with petrol for the last part of the drive. By now we couldn’t wait to get to the apartment as it was getting dark and we were starting to panic about hitting something else again.

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We passed signs for Avalanche Zone which was a little scary and of course the best sign which said ‘arctic circle’. Finally we got to the resort and checked in at the main reception. We were given a key and lodge number. We walked to the lodge on the way we were wondering how people got to the door as the snow was touching the balconies. We noticed there were shovels out for people to dig to their front door, luckily we had neighbours and therefore didn’t have to dig.

We were so happy to arrive at our lodge and it was so nice and had its own private sauna. We were so tired we all went straight to bed ready for fun in the snow tomorrow.

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Food and Drink: For the last 2 days we have lived off hot dogs and snacks from the service stations. The hot dogs were really cheap at 50p each. The snacks on the other hand such as crisps and chocolate were so expensive from the service station.

The Highs: The magical look and feel of a place covered in snow. WOW! Even though it is cold I loved dressing up in loads of layers and exploring in the snow.

The Lows: Obviously hitting the deer was the lowest moment and trying to sort all that out with the car rental company. It was rather stressful and lucky my mum was there to help us pay the excess.

Another low was before we left we researched service stations so we could stop to get some snacks and drinks and they said they were 24hrs. Well when we turned up to the first service station the petrol pumps were the only thing open, the shop was shut. This made the first 8 hours of driving interesting.

Up Next: Walking through a winter wonderland

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