Last night was our final night in Kiruna, so we decided to go out for an evening walk to see the Christmas lights in the town centre.
The big Christmas tree looked pretty in the dark...
...and Tim looked quite regal in the ice throne
We walked past the display of snow sculptures.
It was actually a bit easier to make our some of the shapes in the dark.
Once we'd done a circuit of the town centre, we headed back to our apartment for the night.
We're flying back home from Narvik tomorrow, so the main aim of today was to travel back from Sweden to Norway. Our train wasn't until the afternoon though, so we were able to have a leisurely start to the morning. We'd just finished breakfast and were considering starting to pack, when I looked out the window of our apartment in Kiruna and was amazed to get a glimpse of some polar stratospheric clouds, just like the ones we'd seen in Abisko earlier in the week!
We didn't have to check out of the apartment until 11, so we quickly pulled on our warm clothes and boots and ran outside to have a look.
We walked along the main road from our apartment, trying to find a place from which we would have an unobstructed view.
The clouds were the most amazing colours. Tim managed to capture them more accurately by making his camera darker.
We walked down a rather slippery pavement, towards the park we'd discovered yesterday.
From there we had the clearest views, without any buildings in the way...
...and the clouds looked beautiful above the snowy landscape.
I could have stayed and stared at them all day
Unfortunately, however, we had to return to the apartment to pack up our things and check out. Our train to Narvik wasn't departing until 14.51, so once we'd successfully checked out we had some time to kill in Kiruna. As we walked back into the town centre, the sun was rising and there were some beautiful pink colours in the sky
There's a small indoor shopping centre in Kiruna, so that was our first stop. It had a cafe, where we got two rather strong Americanos
From there we moved on to Kiruna's English pub (bizarrely, Kiruna has an English pub called The Bishop's Arms!!), where we were able to get lunch. I had a burger, while Tim had fish and chips.
It was really dark in the pub (loads of places in Sweden seem to be really badly lit!) so we then moved back to the slightly brighter cafe for another coffee and some cake
It was while we were having the coffee and cake that I got a rather disturbing text from Swedish Railways about our train
When Google-translated, this informed us that due to a "nature incident" the train line to Narvik was closed. Oh dear We made our way towards the station, hoping for the best.
It was still really snowy everywhere but the snow was flattened down and much easier to pull our cases on than it had been the day when we arrived
It was much easier walking downhill from the town to the station, as opposed to uphill from the station to the town As we got close to the station, we passed a hill with an illuminated ski run which I hadn't even noticed on the day we arrived.
When we got to the station the train to Narvik was sitting on the platform, so we boarded it and hoped for the best. It departed promptly, without any announcements about the line being closed. In the absence of announcements, I checked the Swedish trains website and found a message said that the "nature incident" had now been resolved and the line was opened again. Phew!!
It was a big relief that we were going to make it to our destination; I don't know whether they would have put on a rail replacement bus if the train couldn't run, but if they didn't I think it would have cost more than our life savings to take a taxi
We eventually made it to Narvik only 15 minutes or so behind schedule.
It looked like it had been snowing quite heavily here and there was lots of fresh snow everywhere.
Pulling our suitcases up Narvik's steep streets in the fresh snow was not the most fun we've ever had!
Everywhere did look beautiful in the snow though
And it was actually easier to walk on this snow than on the ice which had been here when we caught the train on Sunday.
As we're just staying one night in Narvik this time and departing for the airport first thing tomorrow morning, I'd booked us into a small hotel rather than re-book the Airbnb apartment we stayed in at the start of the holiday. 895 Norwegian Krone (around £78) got us this tiny room which just about has enough space for both of us and our suitcases
We do have free breakfast included in the morning though (which we intend to eat as much of as possible to get our money's worth!) and from our window we can see out across the whole of Narvik.
Tomorrow will be a very long day of travelling, with two flights and about 9 hours to kill in Oslo airport, which I don't think will be worthy of a blog! But we've had a fantastic holiday, exploring a completely different part of Lapland and seeing some really amazing clouds, and I think it's definitely been worth the journey