The Adventures in Arctic Summer

As we drove in our white minivan straight up north towards the arctic on E4, I took a sigh of relief that finally, this trip was happening. For the past two weeks, we were on the brink of canceling the plans many times. We had been unsuccessful in finding a rental car that could fit 6 people. Eventually, after spending a couple of afternoons calling each rental agency in Gothenburg and Stockholm we somehow found a white minivan at a fuel station in Västerås, a small town an hour away from Stockholm. At last, we had found our ride for the next ten days.

Fully aware of the anti-petroleum sentiments in the north of Norway, we started our journey in a van covered with ugly stickers of an oil company. Nevertheless, the ugly exteriors of the van were easily outdone by the vastness and comfort of the interiors. We were six, and the maximum capacity of this minivan was nine, so there was plenty of space for everyone.

After making a few quick pauses along a few lakes on the way, we made our first stop at Skuleberget at Höga Kusten. When we went to the information center at Skuleberget to know our options for hiking up the mountain, we were presented with two options, either to take the long but easy route which was 2km long or to take the short but steep route which was 600m. Of course, the word ”easy” was too hurtful for our egos and we chose to take the steep route, well, wrong choice. It was a climb of 300m in a distance of 600m, so almost a climb of 80%, most of the trail was stairs or rocks with ropes for support. All this was still doable, but, it was one of the once-in-a-year 30°C days of Swedish summer. By the time we reached the summit, all of us had our shirts dripping in sweat and had to take them off. Thankfully, there was a small cafe atop Skuleberget selling ice cream and without losing a second we headed straight to it. The cafe offered a majestic panoramic view, and it was definitely worth all the sweat.

We were calmly enjoying the view with icecream until someone noticed that the area was full of blueberries, so the next half an hour went by in plucking blueberries. For the obvious reasons, we took the ”Easy” route back to our van and proceeded on our journey up north. The warm sunny day had a perfect ending with a magical sunset worth stopping for. 1000km and 12 hours after leaving Stockholm, we entered the Arctic circle and spent the night in Jokkomokk.

A perfect sunset, somewhere near Jokkomokk

As we continued on our journey the following day, we were still 600km away from our destination in Norway. En route, there was a plan to hike to a lake called Trollsjön in Kiruna close to the Norwegian border. As we started our drive from Jokkomokk up north, we could see that the landscape has completely changed from what we had seen in the 1000km journey before entering the Arctic circle. Our drive was pleasantly interrupted several times by reindeers and arctic foxes wandering onto the roads. Not just the landscape, but a cultural change was also evident with all the places marked in Sami in addition to the usual of Swedish. I picked some words in Sami too; like Jaure is a lake and Johka is a river. The lake we were headed to also has a more popular Sami name called Rissajaure.

Continue reading “The Adventures in Arctic Summer”

Three sunny days in Lisbon

If you are living in Sweden, by March it’s obvious to feel an intense need to see the sun and absorb its warmth. So when it comes to planning an Easter trip, it’s a no-brainer, just head south to a place with 20+ degrees of temperature. Although, when everyone is thinking the same way, you can expect the high ticket prices. But I somehow managed to travel to Lisbon for 3 days, I know it’s against my “no short trips” rule. But doing a thesis makes you helpless and you have to break some rules.

This trip also gave me a chance to visit Stockholm as I was flying out from there. I didn’t miss this chance to go and see the cherry blossoms. Continue reading “Three sunny days in Lisbon”

An Evening in Gothenburg

This week I had the chance to visit Gothenburg. A beautiful city on the west coast of Sweden. I must confess, that I have traveled a lot in one year, but in Sweden, I have traveled very less. So it was the second city I was visiting after Stockholm and it turned out to be a nice experience.

Ironically, I was there on the day of winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. So I had not much choice than to wander the dark streets, which is not a problem for me as I’ve been wandering at nights all the time in Stockholm as well.

The city was beautifully decorated with all the Christmas lights and the streets were empty because of the holiday season: an Ideal situation for a photographer. Continue reading “An Evening in Gothenburg”

10 Trip suggestions for this Fall

I’ve been getting frequent queries over the past one month like “how to manage to travel”, “where to go this season”, “How to plan low budget trips”. Though I’m not an expert in travel planning, I’ll share my experience from past one year of traveling as I talk about the above questions one by one.

When to travel !!

If you look from the perspective of a KTH student, apart from the long summer holidays, there are two probable times in every study period when one can plan a trip.

The first option is to travel as soon as the classes are over, usually there is a gap of ten days between the last class and the exam week. So if you feel that you need to refresh a bit before getting in the exam mode, this is a perfect time. Continue reading “10 Trip suggestions for this Fall”

Norway #5: Sky • Sheep • Snow

The Glacier

Our initial plan was to hike up to Trolltunga, and we even completed a figment of the hike (though the toughest part), but then our preparations were not good enough for the weather and marshy conditions there, so we decided to keep it for the next trip.

Disappointed, we arrived at our cabin in Jondal. Turns out our host worked with a skiing company, so when he got to know about our failed hike, he suggested us to go to a glacier nearby where he takes people for skiing, turns out, this was Norway’s third largest Glacier – Folgefonna.

The drive towards the glacier was one of the most scenic.

Continue reading “Norway #5: Sky • Sheep • Snow”

Norway #4: Wheels • Waterfalls • Wanderlust

Estrella

If you ask me what I enjoyed most on this trip, I’d surely say Driving, who won’t enjoy driving on such scenic roads, especially when you are driving a V70, we ended up naming our car – Estrella. So here are some pictures with Estrella.

Continue reading “Norway #4: Wheels • Waterfalls • Wanderlust”

Norway #3: Routes • Rocks • Rain

Norwegian Routes

What’s the best part of a road trip, of course, ROADS! and when it’s Norway, it becomes even better, driving across Fjords, tunnels, bridges, narrow roads, valleys, it was all unforgettable. While I wasn’t driving, I was shooting 😉 here are some of the views of Norwegian routes. The most scenic was Route 5, Route 63, & Route 64.

When Norway starts resembling Iceland, somewhere on Route 63.

Continue reading “Norway #3: Routes • Rocks • Rain”

Norway #2: Cities • Cabins • Colors

Oslo

When it comes to exploring cities in Europe, I am a bit reluctant, especially when someone recommends going to the “old town” (I know there would be cobblestoned streets, a church, a town hall and a lot of expensive cafés).

However, Oslo turned out to be a pleasant surprise, a city flooded with modern architecture and music, we explored the area around the Opera House in Oslo for a couple of hours before setting off to our cabin in the countryside.

Continue reading “Norway #2: Cities • Cabins • Colors”

Norway #1: Friends • Fjords • Fun

I don’t consider myself as a person with a Bucket List, maybe, because I have a broken bucket, so whatever plans I put in there, just leak out and never happen. So as soon as I realized that it’s possible to drive around Norway with an Indian driving license, I planned a road trip with my friends. Although, when we started with the plan, we were 9 people, planning to take a big Mercedes Vito van and drive around Norway. But, by the time of the trip, it was just 5 of us. So we rented a powerful Volvo V70 and sailed on the road trip of a lifetime.

So in 5 days, we traveled a little shy of 3000 kilometers, drove through and explored over a dozen of cities, drove through hundreds of kilometers of tunnels. And saw such a heavenly country that you can never get tired of watching. I won’t bore you with this text, enjoy the pictures. Continue reading “Norway #1: Friends • Fjords • Fun”

Hike from Riva del Garda on Old Ponale road

Before leaving for Trento, one of my friends has suggested me that if you have a choice of going to just once place near Trento, it should be Riva Del Garda, then a day before leaving for Riva, my friend Federico suggested to go on a hike on the Old Ponale road. Continue reading “Hike from Riva del Garda on Old Ponale road”