As we put the luggage in our rental car, the sound of dogs barking filled the wintery air. We were directly next to the sled dog parking area and a team of huskies was eager to take off. I understood their excitement as I was also ready to check out this winter wonderland. Somewhat perversely, we had left the start of spring behind for a few days and traveled north of the Arctic Circle to Kiruna. We were back in full-on winter.
There was more than two feet of snow on the ground and more was lightly falling as we drove toward Gällivare to attend a wedding. Periodically, we passed snowmobiles alongside the highway. And we also passed several reindeer, bottoms up and head buried in the deep snow, looking for something to eat. It was all rather idyllic. And it got even better.
That night, the wedding couple–Adam and Marie-Louise–hosted a traditional Lapland style dinner for us outside in the Arctic light. A reindeer was slow cooked over an open fire in one of the teepees while we enjoyed hot glogg and punsch, traditional Swedish drinks, and some toboggoning on the ski slope. It was the perfect start to a long winter weekend.