Having arrived in Abisko in the dark last night, we were excited to see it in the daylight this morning
As expected, it's quite a small place, with a handful of buildings along a main street.
The hostel we're staying in is quite small (only four rooms), but we passed a couple of bigger guesthouses as we walked along the street.
One of the attractions of Abisko is that it is situated on Lake Torneträsk and we soon found a path which led us down to the lake shore.
As you can probably tell from the photo, it was snowing lightly and so we acquired a sprinkling of snow on us as we walked along
As we approached some boat houses and covered up boats, we knew we were getting close to the lake.
Lake Torneträsk is the sixth biggest lake in Sweden, with a surface area of 130 square miles.
We saw a group of people with sticks getting ready to walk on the ice.
It didn't look 100% frozen to us though or, at least, the ice wasn't completely covered in snow like the frozen lake we have walked on in the past in Finland, so we didn't fancy standing on it.
We got close to the edge though and it was really pretty
We enjoyed the views of the lake for a while and then walked back up towards the village. In the distance we could see the tall building of the railway station, where we had arrived yesterday evening.
We were looking for a path which would take us to the settlement of Abisko Turiststation, which we passed through on the train yesterday shortly before we arrived here. There were no signs at first, but we followed a small road past these houses in what seemed like the correct general direction.
The road led us up towards the railway line, where we were just on time to see a passenger train on its way to Narvik.
Shortly after here we saw a sign pointing towards the Abisko National Park, which is what we were looking for.
It was still snowing quite heavily at this point.
We followed a snowy path, which was initially lit by normal street lamps.
As we progressed further along it, it was lit by these smaller, more tasteful lamps instead.
It's only about 2km from where we're staying to the national park.
One thing which struck us as we followed the path was how different the trees are to Finnish Lapland.
Finland is full of conifers, whereas the trees here all seemed to be deciduous.
We also realised after a while that we had a view of the frozen lake in the distance
Before too long we passed a sign which indicated that we were getting close to our destination.
There's supposed to be a big mountain here with a chairlift, but the weather was so cloudy that we could barely make out the base of it.
It had more or less stopped snowing now, but I had accumulated rather a lot of snow in my hair
Abisko is the start of the Kungsleden hiking trail, which runs from here for 440 km to a place called Hemavan.
This wooden construction marks the beginning of the trail.
We certainly weren't going to walk that far, but we did want to do a little walk to see a frozen canyon which I'd read about online.
We followed a signposted trail along the side of the canyon, at first not able to get much of a view.
Soon we were able to look down and see water below us...
...and then the view opened up and we were able to see down the length of the whole canyon.
The best views were yet to come though
As we rounded a corner, we were able to see down towards a pool of water which definitely wasn't going to freeze any time soon, because we could see fast water flowing into it from behind the rocks.
We could also see a huge block of frozen ice which a group of people were attempting to climb
Definitely not a winter activity that we'll be attempting!
We walked further along and came to another viewing platform.
From here we had an amazing view of the icy canyon...
...and of the people trying to climb the ice wall!
It was a really beautiful place
We followed the path a little further, but the walk didn't seem to be circular so in the end we had to turn around and come back.
The weather had begun to clear up a bit now though and by the time we'd retraced our steps, the cloud had moved enough for us to see the mountain which had been completely obscured when we'd arrived.
As we turned to walk back to the village of Abisko, we realised we could also now see further out across the lake...
...and it most definitely was not completely frozen
We're rather glad we didn't decide to try walking on it now
We made it back to Abisko while it was still daylight.
We decided to explore the local shop, which is situated with a petrol station beside the main highway which passes through the village. I had been a bit worried about this in advance, because when I'd googled the name of the shop (Godisfabriken) it seemed to be primarily a sweet shop. We'd brought a supply of our own pasta and cup-a-soups with us in our suitcases just in case it wasn't possible to buy any savoury food here But, luckily, that turned out not to be a problem; although half of the shop was indeed given over to an enormous display of pick and mix, the other half was fitted out more like a normal supermarket and so we were able to buy some pizza, as well as ingredients for a bolognese
Once we got back to the hostel with our provisions, we realised that the view had now cleared enough for us to be able to see the blue water of the lake from outside our door.
It's been a really fun day, and although I think it will probably be too cloudy tonight for us to see any northern lights, we're going to try going out for a walk down to (but not onto!) the lake in the dark later