I finally have internet back, so I can tell you about my favourite day in Sweden. This is going to be an image-heavy post, but it was so beautiful I have to share it all.
After a long bus ride from Kiruna we arrived at Kattilakoski, on the Torne river. We had appetisers overlooking the river – salmon tartare with cucumber, and water from the river.
The restaurant at Kattilakoski was beautiful too.
As was the food:
Mushrooms for me. Everyone else had reindeer. There had been rather a lot of reindeer by this point.
After a brief visit to a food factory, we then proceeded to Kukkolaforsen.
Kukkolaforsen (click the name for a Google map), is a place on the rapids of the Torne River. On the other side of the river you can see Finland; at least, when the morning mist rises you can.
At Kukkolaforsen they catch whitefish, still using the traditional methods. Every year a jetty is built out over the rapids, without using any nails or screws. The jetties have to be taken down and reassembled every year or they would wash away in the floods. The fish are caught off the end of the jetty in long-handled nets. The fishermen scoop them up from where they rest behind the rocks, on their slow progress up the rapids.
The sun began to set as some of our group had a go at fishing. No one caught anything, but luckily there were still some fish from earlier in the day.
Me, a jetty, the river, and that’s Finland on the other side. (That hat I’m wearing? Pattern available now)
We were then ushered into a small wooden hut where they cook the whitefish. This was one of the oldest buildings in the settlement. The whitefish are speared onto pieces of wood and cooked above an open fire. They are then dunked in salt water and eaten with your fingers off the stick.
Later on we went to the VIP sauna. The main room contained a veritable feast – apparently a traditional Swedish sauna meal. This consisted of many different fish dishes – herring, whitefish, salmon, roe – prepared in various different ways – raw, cured, salad, pickled, etc. All absolutely delicious. And the sauna was lovely – there was a choice of a normal wood fired sauna or a Finnish smoke sauna, as well as a hot tub under the stars. And I did something I never thought I would do – I went from the sauna, then ran down into the icy cold river and back again. It was such an invigorating experience I did it twice!
I really hope I’ll do it again some day. Thank you to VisitSweden for such a lovely trip.