Kiruna Travel Blog – Day 5

August 18th

7:28PM

I think the Three Musketeers heard me and Frizz doing a bit of muttering as this morning one of them stood up and announced, with the air of a man expecting applause, that he was going to do the washing up.

We had a good night too, it wasn’t too cold at all, I only had to wake up once to stoke the fire, and the group in our tepee are turning it into a proper girls sleep over. One of the German sisters is a school teacher and told us an embellished version of one of the books she teaches in school about reindeer, it was so relaxing, we all just kind of drifted off.

It was a very slow ride today as we were in a very rocky place. The whole mountain is covered in Iron, in fact, there used to be an Iron mine, but it was especially evident today.  Still, we had a beautiful weather day yet again, so what more could we ask for?

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One of my favorite sights were the reindeer stops the Swedes use corral the reindeer and separate them into families, they’re proper old fashioned wooden lean-tos. I unfortunately didn’t get a picture since the ground was so rocky I didn’t trust Birt to stay stable with me clutching an iPhone on his back.

We had what can only be described as a palaver with Frizz and Kaftain when we had to cross a stream. When we dismounted Kaftain head-butted her into the water. At first I thought he’d killed her since she fell behind someone else’s horse and he leapt after her out of my field of view. Luckily she was fine, and just found herself with a splashed leg and a boot full of water, so we managed to have a bit of a laugh about it.

We spent a lot of the day riding through a forest, but not the verdant overgrown forests which we’ve become used to so quickly. This was a very different, nearly dead, killed by a voracious worm that ravaged it about 6 years ago, eating all the leaves on all the trees. It says a lot about me reading too much fantasy that when our host told us I did not immediately think of a host of worms, but of one single giant worm – picture the earth eaters from that incredibly insulting Hobbit film if you will.

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The Dead Forest

 

Anyway it was rather an unsettling place, I imagine at night it would have been incredibly creepy.

We stopped for a lunch of reindeer (again) and what our host called Norwegian coffee, which is apparently the Swedish way of saying ‘coffee that is rubbish and weak’ and after we’d done eating found an Arctic raspberry, which are apparently quite rare, our host told us she’d only had one all season. Anyway as one of the few not taking an after lunch nap it was my pleasure to be the one to try it. The best way I can probably describe it is the taste of a raspberry, but with the additional sour tang and texture of a blackberry.

Dinner back at our camp was lovely too, we took a break from reindeer and had moose burgers (which I was allowed to help cook over the fire) and an impromptu apple crumble, made on the open fire with nothing more than cinnamon, apple, butter and crushed digestives.

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On Our Way Home

 

Now we (and by that I mean myself, Frizz and Dr Pony, because everyone else went for a walk now that it’s started drizzling) have heated the tepee as much as we can so we can wear only one jumper and no socks for a bit while we stretch and out and enjoy lounging on reindeer skins like some kind of reverse sexy calendar because we haven’t washed in about five days now.

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Birtingur was so pleased to be back, the first thing he did was lie down.

 

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