Day 13 - Björkliden (Abisko) (SE)
Without the iron-ore mine Kiruna would not have come into existence and indirectly Björkliden was also established because of the mine. Initially the village was made up of a small number of lodges to provide accommodation for the engineers working on the Narvik to Kiruna railway in the early 1900s. The iron ore could be taken to Narvik in Norway and shipped out to the rest of the world and this port was ideal because it remains ice-free most of the year.
Gradually Björkliden changed into a tourist venue in the 1930s with the addition of a hotel (Hotel Fjället) and a mountain lodge (Låktatjåkko Mountain Lodge) as well as a golf course. On 9th of April 1940, the Germans disembarked in Narvik (Norway) which brought tourism in the area to an abrupt halt and during the war, the hotel was used by the Swedish army. Along the base and summit of Njulla are many remnants from the Swedish rampart. After the war the resort started to thrive again and it now attracts large numbers of nature lovers and sports enthusiasts all year round. Its unique position also makes it the perfect place (normally!) to see breathtaking displays of northern lights and the iconic midnight sun!
Well, the blizzard and snowstorm kept going and during the night we lost all power. No coffee for breakfast!!!! What a disaster!! The hotel was candlelit for most of the morning and we felt slightly marooned but then luckily normality was restored just before midday. The blizzard continued though but we still decided to venture down the hill to see the little village and the lake but alas it was not very visible! We had to rely on photos on the internet and imagine! Maybe we will see it tomorrow when we go back to the station and we will be able to get some clearer pictures.
The iron-ore train from Kiruna on its way to Narvik!
Apparently 'at Björkliden you have a breathtaking view of Lake Torneträsk and in the distance the mighty mountain view of Lapporten with the peaks Tjuonatjåkka and Nissuntjårro, 1540 and 1721 metres above sea level respectively!' We couldn't even see out of any of the hotel windows until they tried to clear them but in vain!!! We have to remember that nature is a strong and marvellous force and that these things are beyond human control! Here are some of these photos!
We stayed at Hotel Fjället which was very cosy and normally quite an easy walk from the station. They offer rooms in the main hotel or family cabins all with beautiful views over the valley below. For dinner we chose Elk meatballs .. reindeer was also on the menu1