After a long period of plus degrees, one and a half days of light frost were enough to lay the first cover of ice onto the sheltered parts of the Baltic Sea. Two photos of Storgrundet, Skelleftehamn from this morning.
Vargavinter – “wolf winter” – that’s an especially cold and harsh winter. And that’s what the newspaper Expressen warned about yesterday:
“Long time forecast · prepare for the wolf winter · cold for several months · snow from arctic.”
As a winter maniac I would love to believe Expressen, but I have my doubts. Let’s the when Expressen warned about vargavinter the last years …
As you can see, especially extreme winters seem to be quite common in Sweden, at least in the headlines of the tabloid press.
My friend Hans has not only a Lego shop and a camping site in Bureå but also three rafts, two of them with cabins. You can hire them for an overnight stay and then can use the sauna on the third raft. I’ve been there several times, when they still floated in the bay Kågefjärden north of Skelleftehamn. Not for staying overnight but for having a sauna. This week Hans moved the rafts to the boat harbour in Bureå which is south from Skelleftehamn.
The weather is still quite boring: Some degrees plus, day and night – thick clouds, day and night – fog and drizzle – day and night. I was quite eager to have a sauna and therefore invited myself to Bureå this weekend after Hans told me, that he and two friends would be there.
First we took the motorboat to move the floating rafts a bit farther, while his friends Stefan and Kenneth helped from the rafts. Then we took fika while the sauna was heated up. Before the sauna we all took a bath in the sea. As you can see, I look less relaxed than on the photo from Monday. Hans took these photos right after I climbed into the ice cold water and I hadn’t started to relax (it always takes five or ten seconds for that.) After that we all had a sauna together (with a non-alcoholic beer and chorizo sausages grilled on the sauna oven!)
Cold bath and hot sauna – a good combination to cheer up when the weather is hardly inviting. I’m longing for snow and colder weather but I guess I have to wait a while.
(Hans made photo 3, 5, and 6)
Air: +4 °C · Water +3 °C. A winter bath at the local beach in my lunch break. Feels gorgeous!
The rain of the last days has washed winter away and all snow that had covered my backyard has melted already. When I parked my car in town two days ago the whole parking place was covered with wet ice. I was very glad about my shoe spikes that prevented me from slipping.
Today it cleared up during the morning. I took advantage of the nice weather and made a kayak tour. The tiny bay where I started was still covered with 2 cm of ice but it was so soft that I could paddle through. The rest of the Baltic Sea was open. It was quite windy and so the kayak tour was quite short, but fun anyway.
I measured the water temperature at the beach: +2.8 °C. I considered taking a bath but decided against it. It was less the water temperatures but the vivid wind that discouraged me. Perhaps tomorrow …
During the ski tour last winter I realised that I have neither strength nor condition. The ski tour was quite exhausting. During the summer I did nothing to change this fact.
Two weeks ago however I started something new: I went jogging. Me! Voluntary! The first 500 meters I felt like an elephant on a unicycle but then I started to enjoy the jogging. Not because I love training but because I love being outdoors.
My chosen trail is a nice circular route through the forest. Ten days ago (my 2nd jogging) however I had to change the route for good reasons:
I definitely do not want to jog through the forest during an ongoing moose hunt. So I returned and jogged the same distance twice.
Today (my 3rd jogging) I could go round again. Weather and terrain conditions however were a bit different:
I made a small detour to the lake Snesviken. It surprised me to see it completely covered with ice. (Sorry for the mediocre photo, just an iPhone snapshot.)
I think it’s funny to jog through the snow. It’s even snowing right now. Unfortunately it will get warmer tonight and tomorrow. The snow will turn into rain and melt the snow. I guess it will be slippery as hell the next days. Time to buy some jogging shoes with spikes.
Today we had a wonderful early winter day. The sky was clear this morning and the temperatures were around -10 °C. Some protected parts of the Baltic Sea had started to freeze over, the ground was snow covered and the river Skellefteälven was steaming in the cold.
However, one should not forget that it is still autumn. It is late October and some birch still partly leafy. Although I experienced the first ice day today (temperatures below zero all day) this weather will not last for long.
Just now the Swedish Meteorological Institute issued a snow warning (5 – 10 cm) for tomorrow afternoon, but the next day warmer weather and a lot of rain is expected. I guess the frozen streets and roads will become extremely slippery when the rain starts to fall. Time to put the broddar – the traction devices – under the shoes.
That’s how my house had looked like on Wednesday, just before I took the car to the airport.
That’s how my house looked like tonight – just four and a half days later – just after I had arrived from the airport.
When I left Skelleftehamn the temperatures were round 0 °C. When I arrived at Skellefteå airport this evening, the temperatures had dropped to -12 °C and my car was covered with 8 cm of snow. The snow was partly frozen and it took me half an hour before I could drive home. Home in Skelleftehamn it was slightly warmer (-8 °C) yet 10 cm of snow covered my backyard, too.
What a nice welcome home after I have been in a town, both beautiful and stressful (at least for my feelings) for some days: Paris!
Side note: Never ever did I see so many warm jackets as on the huge flea markets in the north. Mostly counterfeit products of The North Face, Canada Goose and others. Since I neither believe in a French ice age coming soon nor in million of French people wanting to visit “La Laponie” (French for Lapland) I guess that the Parisians just have another sense for temperature (and fashion, too).
I think many of the German blog readers know the Magazine Nordis. From today issue 6/2018 is available in many newsagent’s and bookshops. This issue is very special to me, because it contains my first printed travel report ever.
While I have written more than a thousand articles online I never tried to write for magazines. Until this year.
In January – just days before I started my six-week winter journey – I asked Nordis if they were interested in an article about the Varanger peninsula. I got a positive response and an offer to write a four-pager the very same day.
In summer I started to chose and edit pictures, planned the content and finally started writing my debut article in the world of print. It got the title “Winterliches Varanger” (wintery Varanger).
Quite a challenge when outside temperatures approach +30 °C. Anyway I had many photos and a lot of memories to cool me down.
So, if you want to read an article of mine, that’s (a) offline and (b) in German you’re welcome to buy the new Nordis and tell me what you think.
Did I read the article in the Nordis by myself? To be honest, not yet. I read it too many times while editing and proof-reading. I had the same when recording as a jazz pianist. It took some time until I could listen to the result.