Through Sweden to Norway

Friday 24th June

The next stage of our journey was by bus/ coach from Haparanda to Luleå. The photo below shows the double deck coach that operates the route from Haparanda to Umeå via Luleå.  

The interior of the upper deck.

Crossing one of several rivers that flow into the Gulf of Bothnia. This is the Kalix River...

.....which is seen further upstream.

Luleå cathedral.

Saturday 25th June

The Baltic Sea at Luleå.

Several ice breakers are seen tied up out of use in the summer with a Swedish cruise ship just arrived from Stockholm.

Our train to Narvik is seen before departure.

For several hours the journey is through forests and past..

....numerous small lakes. Surprisingly, no mention was made of crossing the Arctic Circle, in contrast to on the Norwegian railways.

At the iron ore town of Kiruna the whole town including the railway station is being relocated to allow more exploitation of the iron ore reserves.

Here the locomotive is seen running around its train before continuing the journey northwards.

The train's conductor who was on duty for the entire eight hour journey not only served in the buffet carbut was also responsible for coupling the locomotive to the train.

Kiruna's sole reason for existence is the iron ore mines. Enormous trains of iron ore head both north and south from Kiruna to Narvik and Luleå. Click on the photo to get an idea of the size of the trains.

As the line heads north the relatively flat forest lands give way to more mountainous country....

...with large lakes.

This is the Tornetråsk which is about 70km long and 11km wide.

It was at Abisko Östra that we realised there might be a problem further north as a southbound train was shown as delayed.

At the next station Björklden the conductor announced that we would be delayed because of safety checks due to a possible rock fall on the line.

This meant that I had plenty of time to take photographs of the lake. Click on the photo above (and then click on the new image to see a large panoramic photo).

Another panoramic photo of the mountains in the Abisko National Park. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The railway continues to climb to about 500m... it approaches Riksgränsen.

Beyond the hotel is the Vassijaure lake. The station lies just inside Sweden - the border is in a snowshed over the line and is marked by large painted flags on the rock sides.

The railway follows a tortuous path through the mountains before dropping down the sides of the Ofotfjorden..

...towards Narvik. In the centre of the photo is a suspension bridge which will travel over tomorrow.

We arrived in Narvik about an hour late and once again found the weather dull and overcasts.

Sunday 26th June

The next stage of our journey was on the Lofoten Express bus from Narvik bus station. This service runs several times a day to Svolvaer and Å i Lofoten. We were to take it as far as Tjeldsund where we would connect into a local bus to Harstad.

Crossing the Rombaksbrua bridge over the fjord east of Narvik.

Just beyond the bridge the E6 road (which runs from Trelleborg in Sweden to Kirkenes in the far north of Norway) merges with the E10 (which runs from Å i Lofoten to Lulea in  Sweden) and runs parallel to the fjord towards Bjervik (seen in the distance).

This is Harstad/ Narvik airport which is situated over an hour away from Narvik.

The road now comes down towards the Tjeldsund with the mountains on the island of Hinnoya in the background. this is the fourth largest island in Norway.

We changed buses onto a local bus to Harstad at a car park just before the Tjeldsund bridge.

Once across the bridge onto Hinnoya the road parallels the straits passing through numerous hamlets and villages with views across to the mainland and the island of Rolla.

A typical inlet by the road.

Approaching Harstad which is the onloy town on Hinnoya and is in the part of the island known as Vesterålen.

Our bus after arrival in Harstad.

We had a full afternoon in Harstad and fortunately the weather was perfect.

Behind the town lie the mountains on the island of Grytøya

Harstad quayside

Panoramic photo looking east from Harstad towards the mainland and islands of Rolla and Andorja. Click on the image to see a larger one and then click on this iamge to see a full size photo.