After having no internet for eight months, i recently started posted on SP again (around the 20th). The Julbocken thread on PnP immediatly caught my attention, and while working i thought about it. My ex called me that night, and i asked her to check out available flights to Sweden. She called me back telling she had found some cheap flights from Lübeck, and returning to Hahn. i asked her to book them. This was done on the night of December 21st.
Day 1, December 24th, 2006.
After bringing my dog to Schüttorf, Germany, i got a early morning train to Lübeck, some 100 km north of Hamburg. After a short and pleasant flight to Nykoping in Southern Sweden i found out that the Swedes shut their entire country down on Christmas Eve. (which apparently means 3pm there) Fortunately, i was able to get a ride into a suburb of Stockholm that night, where i could take the subway to city center. In Stockholm i went looking for a supermarket and a youth hostel, only to find out that those were closed as well. After checking all my options, i looked at my map, and saw that i could still get a Stockholm Länstrafiken train to Märsta, some 50 km north of Stockholm, next to a motorway and to Arlanda Int'l airport, from which i though i could hitchhike further north. Corax advised me to sleep in the airport, and after 20 minutes trying to hitch out i took this advice. Arrived at the airport around 2.30 am, soon found a nice, comfy spot in the Sky City airport mall, and closed my eyes.
Day 2, December 25th, 2006. (X-mas day)
After waking up at 8.30 am, i had my breakfast at the airport Pressbyrån (some Swedish chain of convenience stores), i managed to get a local train (Uppslandtåget) and bus up to Gävle. Arrived there around 2pm, and found out everything was shut. I had figured that if i could make 2-3 Molotov cocktails, out of household items commonly found in a supermarket (Heptane or nafta, motor oil, drying towels and a few glass bottles) i would probably have something that burns at a high enough temperature (6-800 C) to burn through the impregnation and seriously fuck up that goat. By using Molotov cocktails, i would also have the opportunity to be done in 15-20 seconds.
My only problem was to find a (preferably two) supermarket in Gävle which was open...
Walking into a gas station and buying the ingredients there would certainly set off some alarmbells by the folks working there, and what i've found out later, is that apparently 70-80% of the Gävle population (especially the ones below the age of thirty) want to see that goat burn. Still, however, the remaining 20-30% made me cautious.
Walked around town for a wee bit, and decided it was not worth risking my arse in a gas station, and got on the 18.52 Norrlandståget to the North.
Day 3, December 26th 2006.
Woke up near Boden, Norrbotten. The Norrlandståget is a great train, and in Kiruna we made a 7 minute stop, enough to go outside. The sun was just below the horizon, but under a clear sky and with no wind it didn't feel too cold outside. (was around 1C/34F) which was not bad for the middle of the winter at almost 68N.
Past Kiruna i spoke with a guy working in the restaurant car. He had spent many summers as a child near Vassijaure, and told me it was really worth having a wee look in that area. I kinda figured that even during polar night, the light of almost full moon reflecting on the snow would be sufficient to provide me with enough light to do my thing.
Unless... Past Abisko the clouds rolled in, and when i got off at Vassijaure, it was windy and overcast.
Vassijaure consists of a camping ground, some summer cottages, a research station of the university of Luleå and a railway staion. Winter population: 0. I went inside to change into my cold weather gear, and went off to explore the "town" Snow was about knee-deep, and the temperatur around -3C. After around 2 pm it got completely dark, and the weather deteriorated quickly. i decided to wait for the next train back and not try my luck out there. I would soon find out that that was a good decision. Around 3 pm a blizzard moved in, and around 4 the winds were up to 50 knots, with heavy snowfall and 15m/50ft visibility. Gusts easily peaked at 70-80 knots, some even higher. When the train came in around 4.45pm, they had two people sent out in cold-weather gear to check out the railway station, which apparently was standard procedure on the Norrlandståget if they dropped people off at a remote station in the far north, and the weather went down the toilet. I stood outside flashing the train driver with my headlight, and this is the first time i was ever greeted by an incoming train. They were extremely happy to see me, and the train driver allowed me to ride up front with him until Kiruna.
Apparently it has happened a few times in the past that people would get off the train in some very remote part of Lappland, and set out for their outdoor activities in deteriorating weather conditions, only for their bodies to be found during spring melt, and to curb this, Connex keeps their waiting rooms heated and opened at remote Lappland staions where there is no other possibility of shelter, and in case they drop someone off the train at such a station, and the weather turns for the worse, they actually check that waiting room after turnaround in Narvik, and if they don't find the person in there, they'll call in a SAR. Connex Luleå deserves kudos for this approach, i believe.
Day 4-5, December 27-28th 2006
Slapt at a friends place in Luleå that night, and around 5pm i took a train back to Stockholm, after finding out that SAS does not allow cash payments anymore at airports outside Arlanda and Landvetter.(Göteborg) Got drunk that night with a lumberjack from Piteå who, i heard the next morning, was taken off the train in Ånge by the police, because he had apparently gotten very disordely on the train, and had then passed out in the middle of an aisle somewhere.
On Thursday, December 28th i got off in Södertalye Syd, and went back to Nykoping (Skavsta) airport to get my flight back. Which was delayed for 6 hours, so en landed on the 29th, around 1.20am in Hahn.