Sunday, October 2, 2016

Canoeing Down the Skellefte River

As I wrote this, my arms were sore, my feet were throbbing, and my clothes reeked of river water and dirt. I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel, trying to soak up the little bit of WiFi it offers, checking my Instagram and catching up on the day. Yet, it was such a good day. Okay, now rewinding to July 17, when I actually wrote this.

Today was my first day in the Swedish Lapland region, more specifically Skellefteå (pronounced shell-EFF-tay-oh), with a lovely group of five other bloggers.

The weather was beautiful when we flew in, but it started pouring as soon as we began our hike through the Bjuröklubb nature reserve. That meant that we couldn't get as great of a view from the lighthouse, but it was pretty in its own way.

Boy were we in luck for the rest of the day, though. The sun peeked out after lunch, practically inviting us to take a leisurely canoe ride down the Skellefte River. Did you know that many Swedish cities end in å, indicating the presence of a river? In this case, Skellefteå is named after the Skellefte River.

A middle-school version of myself emerged during that ride. About 10 years ago, I went to a summer camp where we would do days-long hiking and canoeing trips, yet I had not stepped foot in a canoe since. I was nostalgic as the boat wobbled beneath my feet, water danced from the paddle onto my face, and the only sounds were those of nature. The beautiful flowers floating on the water made the trip even more serene, and it was such a treat when they happened to join my paddle out of the water.

In true Swedish fashion, we stopped on the Kyrksholmen island to take fika, or have a coffee break. Peter, our guide, effortlessly started a fire, over which he boiled water for the coffee, which we sipped out of traditional Sami mugs. The Sami people are indigenous to the Arctic region, and have a great presence in Swedish Lapland. Peter also brought vanilla buns that his daughter made from scratch! Sure, you could get that sort of pastry anywhere, but how many travelers can say that they tried a homemade one?

As if the flocks of ducks and their ducklings, gulls, and flora didn't give us a beautiful enough scene of nature, a rainbow appeared! I've seen a few rainbows in my life, but never one in such a perfect arc form.

If that couldn't excite my inner child, I don't know what could.

Check out everyone else's blogs below!

Thank you to Visit Skellefteå for providing me with this opportunity! All content and opinions are my own.

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