I didn’t expect a land of such extremes

Nicola Foleher can't quite believe she lives in a country that has endless summer nights and is so beautiful in the winter.

A land of extremes.

A land of extremes.

Foto: Visit Skellefteå

Engelska2023-07-31 09:00
Det här är en krönika. Åsikterna i texten är skribentens egna.

After a while of living in the same place I think it is fair and reasonable to say that you slowly stop noticing things that at one time stopped you in your tracks. 

It may be that you just get used to seeing breathtaking sunsets or wild moose roaming the land, or perhaps it has just always been that way for you and so it is literally nothing out of the ordinary. 

However, as someone who moved here only two and a half years ago I am still in awe of so many things; from discovering a beautiful river to watching a silent herd of reindeer making their way across a snowy landscape. 

When we were searching for places to live I was amazed to discover that it doesn't get dark in the summer here. I watched YouTube videos from our 400-year-old cottage in England, of beautiful, young people skipping through fields and swimming and splashing in lakes at 3am in a soft, golden light, and it blew my mind! 

Långnäset beach

To feel like you have so much more time in the day is amazing, as I find I don’t feel as tired in the summer. But sadly the thought of heading out for a 3am stroll and a dip in the lake with zillions of mosquitoes no longer appeals quite so much.

Otherwise, the stunning, secluded golden sandy beaches with crystal clear waters are also a source of pure joy for me and I really feel like I could be in much more tropical climes than the Bothnian Gulf. 

Now I can drive a short distance to a peaceful, picturesque beach and lay in gloriously warm sunshine with waves lapping at my toes. I love to sit and read a book, take a swim and perhaps draw or paint. I do not miss the crowded beaches of the UK (granted there are some beautifully quiet ones too) or being dive-bombed by mad squawking seagulls trying to pinch my fish and chips. 

And then we have the extreme opposite. Winter. 

Winter in Skellefteå.

The darkness of winter does not bother me at all; in fact I embrace it. As someone who is obsessed with the twinkling lights of Christmas I am delighted that houses are adorned with golden glowing lights hanging in their windows and trimming rooflines for months on end. 

To come from a country where a mere sprinkling of the white stuff brings the whole place to a sliding, crashing halt to living in a place that happily carries on with meters of snowfall is a breath of fresh, frosty air. 

I adore driving along the amazingly smooth snowy roads (such a relief after the bumpy, hole-laden country roads of summer) singing along to Christmas tunes, whizzing through my very own scene from a festive movie.

It honestly takes my breath away and has moved me to tears before now. I am proud to say I have still not had an incident with a ditch yet, and long may that continue.

Fabulous aurora.

This brings me nicely to the wonder of the aurora borealis.

This never gets boring for anyone, surely? 

I still cannot believe that I can literally stand in my garden in my pyjamas (and winter coat, boots, hat, gloves and scarf!) and gaze upwards watching them dance across the skies above my head. 

For so many years this was on my bucket-list of things to see before I die. And now I get to see it over and over again, year in, year out.