I explored one section of the meandering lake and returned to the Abisko River Canyon, mesmerized as I watched it cascade into the tunnel under the bridge. There were dozens of trails and excursions posted at the main tourist office, but we had a train to catch. Just as we were leaving the hostel we bumped into Kim and Bo. “I knew we’d meet, again,” I said. “You’re just following us to be sure we don’t get lost.” How we laughed.
At 12:55 P.M. we boarded the train for Boden. It was the old Connex line, but that didn’t matter, for we were glued to the window watching views of the many lakes and the forest–gnarled birches and weather-beaten pines that had survived the bitter winter of the far north. At 6:30 P.M. we transferred to another train and deposited our packs in our sleeping compartments. I was with five Swedish girls and Gullvi was with four Swedish men. Everything is very unisex here. We spent most of the evening lingering in the dining car. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the maneuvering of two energetic ladies taking orders, preparing, serving, and handling the money for the entire car. They were amazing—and so patient and friendly. I settled for a known quantity…Swedish meatballs, potatoes, and lingonberries. I thoroughly enjoyed my compartment mates and the little touches like boxes of fresh water left on each bunk. Far better than chocolates, since I had run out water. Sleep was sound despite the flashing of bright lights on the platform whenever we reached a station. At 7 A.M. Gullvi woke me with the caveat, “Hurry, Meg, we reach Stockholm in twenty minutes.” Groggy and unkempt I staggered off the train and in fifteen minutes we were walking out of the Metro onto Gotgatan.