From ’68 degrees’ we have a view out over town, over the road to Narvik, to an edge of town development of housing – Lombolo – and, beyond that, to the hills, and the sky. Standing rather too proudly in the foreground, a flagpole erected by a nearby neighbour, flying the blue and yellow pennant, just in case we forget this is Sweden.
During these midsummer days when the sun shines in the night, it always shines on Lombolo, the buildings glowing orange against a backdrop of fresh green birch bushes. We are always reluctant to go to bed, seeing the distant sunshine.
Our house is in the lee of the hill that Kiruna is built on, and so at midnight the sun disappears behind it, which is indeed a blessing if you want some sleep. For most of Kiruna the sun at night is hidden by another hill – Luossavaara. It is part of the genius of the original town plan of 1910.
But we do like to see the midnight sun glistening on Lombolo. Even when the weather is cloudy, it seems to shine down there. As if Lombolo is the chosen one, the heavenly city of sunshine, floating on hills of green.
It must drive the people there nuts. Not only do they have to live with 24 hours of daylight, but their homes are sunniest at midnight. Perhaps there’s a topsy turvy world down there, people sleeping in the day and breakfasting at night. As we head off for bed, perhaps the people on the edge of Lombolo are out sunbathing on their balconies, sipping cool drinks through a straw.