Underpants drinking in Sweden: Kungsleden aftermath

 

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So what do people do after the Kungsleden? It depends, but again, there is a definite theme.

Tormund from GOT-henburg, who I met on Day 1 and had walked for 23 days, was going to spend the week eating pizza and enjoying a real bed. “And maybe I’ll eat pizza in my bed.”

A Finnish guy meanwhile was heading to Gotland to enjoy Medieval Week, when you dress up like Vikings and drink mead.

“Then I’m going to do what we call ‘underpants drinking’. There’s even an official word for it in Finnish: ‘Kalsarikännit’.”

We also met an elderly trail runner. She had done the Fjallraven Classic in 72 hours, though the best do it in 12-13 hours…that’s more than 100 kms of running over very rough terrain.

For us, we headed to Kiruna and took the Arctic Circle night train back to Stockholm.

Obligatory train window shot
Obligatory train window shot

Kiruna train station is quite the make-do affair, and as a result there was no food to buy in advance of the journey. It’s because the town is in the process of being moved, train station included.

The massive mine that forms the centre-piece of the town has gone so far below the surface that some of the infrastructure, such as heavy rail, is no longer safe. The town has been literally undermined.

We had booked out a three-bed cabin to ourselves. Despite a week in the wilderness, it was the first time we’d had to ourselves.

The Arctic Circle train, which takes 15 hours, is one of the great train rides of Europe. You can shower onboard, sleep in comfort, and all the while take in the magical scenery which consists mainly of forests, lakes, and forests by lakes.

I woke up freshly showered and shaven, having slept 7 hours without disturbance, put on some clean clothes and sandals, and got a coffee from the dining cart.

It was just as shit as anything I’d drunken in the mountains, but fuck me it was great to be back in town.

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