I arrived at Gallivare airport at 21:20 having left my home at 07:20 the same morning. My friends Teres and Jenny were there to greet me and took my to the home of their parents and my friends Anki and Ingvar. They had a meal ready for me and after a brief chat with Ingvar he headed off to bed as his next shift working in the mine commenced at 4am. I went to bed just after midnight and here is the view from their window at 00:15
Next morning I was expecting to travel to my cabin but Anki had a surprise for me. Ingvar had arranged for me to visit and go down into the mine to see how they extract the most important component for steel axe and knife blades…..Iron. The visit was arranged for the following afternoon (Wednesday) and so I had an extra day to spend in Gallivare.
I decided to go for a walk in the nearby woods and soon found a fine example of True tinder fungus Inonotus obliquus, used for firelighting and to make a tea and treat some forms of cancer.
Fieldfares and Pied Flycatchers were also nesting in the trees. Ingvar finished his shift at 14:00 and we headed into town to buy some alcohol as they were planning a party for my birthday later the same week.
In Sweden the sale of alcohol is state controlled and to purchase wine and spirits you must visit a “System Bolaget”
This is from their website;
“Systembolaget, the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly, exists for one reason: To minimize alcohol-related problems by selling alcohol in a responsible way, without profit motive.
The first alcohol monopoly ever started in the mid 1800s in Sweden. It worked so well that the model was spread all over the country. In 1955, the local companies were merged to form a single, national Systembolaget company, a concept which still works.
Systembolaget’s product range is actually one of the most comprehensive in the world. It is being developed continuously to match changes in trends and in the consumers’ tastes.”
The rest of the day was spent chatting and eating and I went to bed that evening with the visit to the mine on my mind. Not only because it was happening the next day, but also between 00:00 and 04:00 explosives are set off in the mine and you can feel the ground shuddering as this takes place!!