We went out for a walk to the lake in the dark last night, but it was so cloudy that we couldn't even see any stars, never mind the northern lights We were outside for about an hour or so, during which time we walked down to the lakeside and then along part of the path towards Abisko Turiststation. It was snowing all the time, and the snowflakes looked really pretty in the darkness.
The unusual street lights which we'd seen earlier in the day were actually really good at night, projecting light downwards so that we could see the path, and not causing lots of light pollution.
We might not have seen the northern lights last night, but when we stepped outside our apartment this morning we saw something even rarer in the sky.
These, we later learned, were polar stratospheric clouds, and we'd never seen anything quite like them before. Our phone cameras weren't able to capture all the colours, but they were really beautiful; all the colours of the rainbow
We were really lucky to have seen them, because the rest of the sky was quite overcast today.
As we walked towards Abisko Turiststation, the top of the mountain was obscured by the clouds again.
Although, when we turned around once more, we did get another glimpse of the special clouds
You can perhaps get a slightly better impression of the rainbow colours in this photo
We didn't have a firm plan for the day, but we were hoping to explore a bit more of the national park.
We headed off through the wooden walkway again...
...and this time followed a different trail, which we hoped would give us a view of the canyon from the opposite direction.
When we'd been at the canyon viewpoint yesterday, we'd seen a bridge across the canyon lower down but hadn't been able to figure out how to get to it. Today we found it and were able to stand in the middle, looking down the length of the canyon.
The views were really beautiful
There weren't many other people around today either, so we had them pretty much to ourselves
We did meet two other people as we were on our way back up from the bridge to the viewpoint we visited yesterday though. The woman started speaking to us in Swedish, before explaining to us in English that there were two moose up ahead!
They were quite a distance away and camouflaged by trees, so you're going to have to play spot the moose with the photos
It was really cool to see them and they were absolutely huge animals!
Once the moose had moved on, we made a quick stop at the viewpoint where we'd taken photos yesterday, to have another look at the ice.
Then we followed a track which took us under the main road, then alongside the river which flows through into the canyon.
The views of the canyon were really impressive on this side too...
...and we could see the power of the water beneath the ice.
The wind was really strong by this point and it was snowing quite heavily.
We didn't want to walk too far, so we decided to follow one of the marked trails through the woods for a while, and then turn back.
There does seem to be quite a good system of marked walking trails here, although I haven't been able to figure out where to get a proper map that shows where they all go.
They are numbered and colour-coded though, with strips of colour wrapped around the trees so that you know you're going in the right direction.
We couldn't exactly see polar clouds at this point...
...but there were still some pretty colours in the sky.
The trees were really pretty too...
...although it's still surprising me how different the trees are here to in Finnish Lapland.
Once we'd walked for half an hour or so, we turned around and headed back the way we'd come.
On the way back, there was just time for a final look at the canyon
It was already starting to look like twilight as we walked back towards our apartment.
When we got as far as the station, we were passed by another one of the iron ore trains to Narvik.
From there it wasn't far to walk to Abisko's shop, where we wanted to stock up on supplies. We're travelling to Kiruna tomorrow, but with it being New Year's Day we're not sure whether any shops will be open when we get there.
One of the things we needed to stock up on was chocolate; luckily we managed to find some Ritter Sport among all these sweets
Then it was back to the apartment for some much-needed food and a rest before we head out again this evening for another attempt to see the northern lights. Not sure we're going to have any success, as I think it's still going to be overcast, but we can't complain when we have seen such beautiful clouds today