We’re fully booked, and there’s a constant flow of guests arriving, going on tours, looking for the northern lights, having breakfasts, and leaving.

Our guests may stay up all night for the chance of seeing the those tricky lights. They’re out all day exploring the landscape, and they come home late at night, flushed with enthusiasm, having driven for a couple of hours along dark roads in the snow. Then they sleep soundly and are up early for breakfast, eager to fit in more activities in the next day. We’re running to keep up with them, wishing we had as much energy.

We can’t help but notice that Kiruna, on the other hand, seems to have fallen asleep. At the weekend there’s little or no traffic on the road. There’s been heavy snowfall, but there isn’t a snow plough to be seen. The usual groups wandering up the hill into town late on Saturday must be wandering somewhere else. Where is everybody?

I usually warn guests that at the weekend they’ll need to book ahead in the restaurants, but recently booking has been unnecessary. There seem to be only other tourists eating out. What’s happened to all the locals?

Whisper it if you dare.


Sweden, and especially Kiruna, loves ‘Eurovision’. These are the days of the qualifying rounds, deciding who will represent Sweden in the song contest. Every weekend people stock up on snacks and drinks and settle down on the sofa for hours of intense viewing.

We, on the other hand, are more likely to be down the bottom of our garden, staring out at the north eastern sky where the green swirling lights are most likely to appear. It’s a surprising thing that if you’ve lived here all your life you don’t really notice the northern lights. They must wonder why we stand there, sometimes for an hour or so, staring at their house. Local behaviour can indeed be strange.