How to Forge Tasty International Relations

The day had arrived when I would be moving on from Abisko, back to the less frigid and infinitely more cosmopolitan destination of Stockholm.  I'd be making only a short stop in Stockholm - not quite two full days before flying back to Berlin which would be my home base for a week.  I had booked a sleeper car on the overnight train but wasn't leaving until well after lunch so I put the finishing touches on my packing and then made one last nostalgic walk down to the grocery store for a few ingredients to fashion a mop-up lunch with all the ingredients I had left.  In the bountiful Asian aisle of the store, I spied a kit that would, along with my leftovers, provide everything I needed to fashion a tasty Thai red curry, everything except some protein.  I eyed the selections in the fresh meat department and decided it wasn't really worth mortgaging my home and then it dawned on me: meatballs!  Mark and I frequently make Thai curry at home with chunks of TVP - a Swedish meatball wouldn't be all that different - and much more affordable than a pallid chicken breast or a glistening lump of reindeer.

I have to say, my international mash up curry was pretty damn tasty. I could only eat about a third of what I'd made but just as I sat down to eat, a gang of French visitors entered the dining area and began preparing their lunch. I offered up the remainder of my dish for anyone that was interested and was tickled when I looked up and saw that they'd boiled a mountain of pasta and then divided up all the remaining meatballs so that each person had two or three atop the pile of noodles on their plate. Talk about forging international relations!

After lunch, I hauled my burgeoning bags down the hill to the station one last time, and as I stood on the platform and turned to look back at the hostel (at far left in the photo below) I was greeted by the sight of the glorious polar moon rising over the beautiful landscape of Lapporten.  

Lapporten is Swedish for "The Lapponian Gate" and it is the U shaped valley between the mountains called Tjuonatjåkka (on the left) and Nissuntjårro (on the right). It is one of the most iconic and familiar views in all of northern Sweden and I think you can see why - very distinct and very beautiful.

My train arrived shortly after 2:30 and by the time we were passing back through Kiruna (one last photo of the rail cars and iron ore mine!) it was already the dark of night.

I spent the next 20 hours secreted away in my tiny train car cabinet, nesting like a pink haired squirrel.  When I found I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, I climbed the little ladder to the top berth, buckled the retaining sling and nestled down under the duvet with the clattering racket of the rails to sing me gently to sleep.

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