Day 1: Entering the Arctic Circle – Lapland of Lights and Stars

After months of planning and days of excitement and sleepless nights, I finally boarded the flight to Stockholm. The departure time 17.30 was well suited for a wonderful sunset at the Frankfurt airport. As the flight departed on time, I witnessed a second sunset on the same day as we rose up above the horizon. As a nature lover who gets elated with beautiful wonders of nature, it was the perfect welcome message. I knew at that moment that more miracles were in store for this journey. The connecting flight to Kiruna was accurately timed. I realized soon that there were in fact quite a bunch of people from Germany who had decided to travel up north to have the Arctic adventure when I saw same faces in the second flight too.

Though I was not very excited about the fact that I might see Northern lights in this trip, I had chosen window seats and kept an eye open for them as suggested by friend Laura who is currently living in Kiruna. As I was about to land, shades of grey and white patches appeared in the sky which resembled the patterns of Northern lights I had seen in pictures.  A friend of mine who had also been to Kiruna couple of months back had described that they could be visible even in this form. When it appeared that almost everyone in the flight had their faces glued to the window, I was sure that those were the Northern lights. It then reassured my feeling that I would not be very excited to see the northern lights.

Kiruna had the tiniest airport I had ever been to. It was just a small room with check-in counter, baggage claim, security check and everything else crammed into the available space. Laura was waiting for me and it was evident that she knew quite a lot of people who were in that “room”. Even though she had been living there for only a couple of months, she knew majority of the people of the town. That’s the nature of the town, unlike most modern cities in India and elsewhere in the world; people knew each other in Kiruna. It is quite natural since life is not perfectly planned in the north and everyone lives in harmony with each other and nature. This positive vibe about the place was quite welcoming and I instantly fell in love with the place.

Laura told me that she saw the Northern Lights on her way to the airport and she hoped that I would be able to see them as we drove back. We were soon out of Kiruna and headed towards Jukkasjärvi which was around 20 km out of town. She was living there in a cabin in the woods. As we escaped the city lights and entered the darkness, the Aurora appeared to become more intense. I started to feel the excitement grow. We stopped in the middle of the wilderness to have a better look at the nature’s display of colours. They became more greenish and started moving around. I had done enough homework to capture them on my camera in case I would see them. I arranged the tripod and made the settings for the camera and clicked the first picture. It was perfect. I was more satisfied about the fact that I got a perfect photograph of the Northern lights than seeing them. For me it was like I had done enough preparation for this exam and all the efforts became fruitful when I did outstandingly well in it. It was a long lost familiar feeling from my school days. It was that taste of success which I was fortunate to have had experienced many times in my life, though at times I never deserved it. Once again I felt I was just lucky.

Some photographs of Northern lights that I captured near Kiruna

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