...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Waiting for spring

Tomorrow is April and spring is in the air!

This day a year and a week ago, I was a newly graduated PhD. On the first of April, my parents and my sister and I flew to northern Sweden to Kiruna and further to Abisko to get some guaranteed snow. It was yet another snow-poor year in southern Sweden last year, so at last it was a pleasure to introduce them to the joys of snow. What I love about family visits (besides getting visits!) is how I can renew the first joy of discovering things through my family's reactions, and how our experiences become memories that we talk about for years.

We did everything we could do there with snow: We built a snowman, went on a walk in a snowstorm, cooked food in the cold with a camping kitchen, rode a dog sled, went for a day trip to the Ice Hotel and moved around with a spark. On our second in day in Abisko, I also rented a couple of skis. We discovered that mom definitely has better balance than dad on skis. And we learned that if you don't dare to fall, you can't give it your best try. So, we also had to lift mom from her first fall on skis!

Mom's a natural!

This one can go into the box of wacky family photos :-)

Dad has other talents though. He was better than all three of us on the spark, which is a kick-sled with room in front for a person or other stuff.

Behind the Ice Hotel...

... there's a tough race going on!

Lea and I took a longer tour together on skis around Abisko mountain station and a just bit into where the Kungsleden trail begins. I don't think this will be the last we see of Kungsleden together, though. Right, Lei?

Just to show contrast, I talked to mom this morning and she says it was 37 degrees C in Quezon City today!


If go back to where this all started, it was this month nine years ago, on was a snowy winter in the countryside that I first set my feet on a pair of skis. It was sheer luck that the available boots were my size (and so were the winter clothes). I still remember how stiff my legs felt and how long my feet suddenly seemed to be, with these long skis extending on both ends of my shoes. Today, I own two pairs of skis; the newest pair I tried in January this year.

In contrast to my first cross country skis, my new touring skis have a metal edge and are great for making own trails, which I believe should be tested one day on a trip to a mountain station. Out in the countryside is not so bad either, nor the fact that the boots are compatible with free-heel ice skates.

I spent two days making different trails around Mats and Margareta's house. It's a bit strange how the landscape seems so flat now when I used to think that it was full of all kinds of hinders and bumps, not to mention the infamous "Joy's hill" where I repeatedly crashed for at least 5 documented years.

Margareta in the snow-covered field

Apparently, I haven't really had enough of winter before it's suddenly April and spring. But I must say I had some really nice days out in the snow and ice, judging from the season's pictures and as I remember them. I do have some winter plans bubbling in my head for next season. More downhill skiing is the dream picture I have. And in tune with the Carpenters: not a cloud in the sky; got the sun in my eyes!


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