I am currently visiting Luleå University of Technology, the northermost university in Scandanavia. I am thankful to my supervisor to giving me this opportunity to visit Sweden, esp. Luleå. It is one of the most peaceful and inspiring place for a research student and even more so if you love being close to nature. Not to forget that LTU has the best researchers in the field of Science and Technology. Living in the northernmost part of Scandanavia is an experience that will always remain close to my heart. During the course of my stay I met some lovely people and made a few friends.
Luleå is a “Winter Wonderland”. The winters are really cold with temperatures dropping to -20 and -30 between December and March. I was told that they have been measured to be as low as -43 as well in countryside Luleå. The place turns white and there is a lot of snow and I mean a lot of snow :). Luleå city is considerably warmer in winter to other parts in the region due to the warm gulf stream. But, as the Swedes say it is as warm as the clothing you wear :), it infact is a great experience to live in such weather. I will try and put a picture of me with all the gear I am wearing. I also got the chance to see the Aurora Borealis or the “Northern Lights” during my stay a number of times. While people pay a lot of money to go for tours to watch the northern lights, I was lucky to see them through the window of my home in Vänortsvägen where I lived in student accommodation. The sea freezes and a walkway/skating path created by compacting the ice. This is open to public usually in Jan/Feb onwards during the winter months. It is a lot of fun to skate and go around the path in the day. The sun is exceptionally bright during Feb/March/April though the days are extremely short.
The summer lasts for four months nearly and temperatures reached to 30 degrees this time in 2011. All the lakes and the sea melt in summer and you can see vast expanses of green. There are a lot of activities you can do in Luleå in the summer, though most of the Swedes usually go on a long summer break and you find the city/university is quite deserted during this time. The 24 hour daylight is an experience in itself. Luleå is never the same, each day is different and getting used to these changes can take a while for those visiting for the first time. Sleeping at night with the sun shining brightly in the middle of the sky is very strange :). By far the most strange experience for me.
The flora and fauna are unique in this part of the world. I happened to see many creatures and animals during my visit. There are a lot of rabbits and red squirrels which live around the campus and Vänortsvägen and you can easily site them during summer, autumn and spring. There are a number of bird species which can be easily sighted. The other animals I saw were moose/elk and the reindeers. These were sighted while driving around Luleå. One day in winter, we also had 2 elks visit Vänortsvägen very close to where I lived. There are supposed to be a large number of bears in that part of Scandanavia but thankfully I did not meet one :).
I will try to update this page with my experience and keep you posted on my adventures in Luleå. I will post some pictures here soon, I have uploaded most on Flickr. You can add me on Flickr if you like, my userID is saguna872.