||Stop #10 from Aug 21 - 24, 2000|
Our Travel Experience
We never planned on going to Lulea. We had planned on taking an overnight train to Trondheim and making our way North through Norway to Tromso. However, the train was full when we tried to buy tickets. So, we looked at our Eurorail pass map and decided we'd take the other overnight train North from Stockholm that went to Bodo. As we were buying our tickets, Seth asked if Bodo was nice. The guy selling us our tickets recommended that we stay on the train for another 1/2 hour and go to Lulea instead. So, we went to Lulea.
We liked the overnight train! We had a cabin all to ourselves with three bunks and a shower and toilet just down the hall. Our cabin had a window and Seth let Tara sleep on the middle bunk which had the view out the window. The ride was comfortable and we were only woken up a few times during the night by the train noise. In the morning we walked down a few cars for breakfast and enjoyed a hot waffle with Northern berries on it in the "moose car". The moose car was special since the ceiling was made all of glass. Too bad it was rainy out.
When we arrived at Lulea, the end of the line, we were two of only about five people who got off the train. Our first surprise was at tourist information. We were informed that it was not the winter season, so prices for a place to stay would be higher and it would be harder to find a place since the students were back in school. So, it is August 21st and it is winter! All the tourist cruises and other events had just ended the previous weekend. Even though it was "winter", we had no trouble finding a cheap, nice place to stay.
We enjoyed two very lazy days in Lulea. Our room was a 10 minute walk from the city center, so we typically only went into town once a day. It was in town that we discovered Max Burger. Yum. Yum. We ate there three times in three days! We also discovered a small cafe in a mall that was an Internet Cafe with ONE computer. But, even better than this Internet Cafe was the local library that had unlimited, free Internet access on three computers. We spent one whole night in the Library: surfing the web and reading English magazines. We were staying very close to the water and Tara had seen a nearby beach marked on the map. She wanted to see what a beach consisted of, so we took a walking trail to the beach one afternoon.
We planned to stay only two nights, but Tara wanted to stay one more so that we could see the nearby Gammelstad Church Town. The Church Town was neat since it was where people from all over Northern Sweden had second small homes. These so-called Church Houses were used when the families traveled into Lulea to attend church and spent the night since the journey was so long. We were pleasantly surprised to be given a personal tour of the church by a volunteer. He then pointed us towards the church house that was open to the public. After walking through the town for a bit, we came to a big field filled with little yellow flowers. We found a spot in the field to sit and ate the carrot cake we had bought from a Bakery that morning. Yum Yum. Then, we both took a nap in the field. When we boarded the bus back to Lulea, our bus driver told us how he envied us since he'd seen us in the field about two hours ago when he had driven past. How neat!
The next morning, it was time to move North. We took the all day train across Sweden and into Norway. This train line was pretty as it traveled through Sweden: lots of evergreens and rolling hills with the occasional lake. Ahh, but once we passed Kirkuna and got closer to Norway, the train ride became extremely scenic. First, there were little, brightly colored houses perched ontop of rolling rock hills. We couldn't figure out if there were primary or holiday homes. They were awfully cute and amazing since they were built right ontop of the rock. Then we started seeing the Fjords. We were traveling high up on a steep hill side overlooking bodies of water carved out between two steep hills. Just gorgeous! The railway we were on was a single track and its main use was for hauling iron ore mined in Kirkuna to the port in Narvik. We're glad that passenger trains also ran on that track!
At some point along the route, we said "Bye Bye Sweden and Hello Norway".
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|Overall Experience||7||This was a fine stopping point after our overnight train journey from Stockholm|
|Ease of Journey||8||We boarded the train in Stockholm at night and woke up in Lulea.|
|Accommodation||7||Pensionat Wagavan was clean and had a view of the lake. We especially liked the locker-room style showers!|
|Activities||6||We didn't do anything touristy except visit the nearby Church Town called Gammelstad. We did enjoy free Internet surfing in the library and the good fast food at MaxBurger.|
|Coolness||5||It was neat to be in a typical, small Swedish town and that's exactly what Lulea felt like.|