Sometimes we are out and about over Christmas. Sometimes we are at home cozying up in cozy pants. This year the plan was to go up to my sister and husband in Umeå and celebrate a cozy Christmas with the whole la familia. I didn't have a thought that I would stand in a panic and think about that set Christmas half an hour before the taxi was supposed to take us to the train...
As I prefer not to fly within Sweden but usually take the train for environmental reasons, we had booked train tickets up to Umeå. 6 hours by express train. Smooth, comfortable and with plenty of time for the whole family to take naps and watch TV series. The price was OK. The departure time was less OK. I don't know what I was thinking when I booked the tickets. I probably thought it would be nice to be up in Umeå at lunchtime. Or I simply thought that I we would be up at midnight. Regardless, I booked a certain departure time of 06:20.
Departure at 06:20 means pick up by taxi at 05:45, fixing breakfast sandwiches at 05:30 and boarding at 05:00. You can call our family a lot, but we are NOT early risers. However, we managed to get to bed in a decent time with all packages wrapped and all bags packed, so the conditions for a stress-free travel morning looked promising. Until it was just after 2 in the morning and we slept as best as we could. Then the daughter woke up and called us. "Mom, I'm not feeling well...."
That the daughter was not feeling well was an understatement. His forehead boiled and his throat ached. Having just woken up, we tried to grasp both the position and the fever thermometer. 39 degree fever. Less than 4 hours until the taxi would arrive. Could she really have gotten sick so quickly? We shook off the worry and got the daughter back to bed with antipyretics and some soothing words. I also went to bed again. Wide awake. What was our backup plan if we didn't come by train?
I tossed and turned in bed. How would we do? Does Hemförsäkring's travel insurance also work for trips in Sweden? Or should we just ignore the train tickets and drive up? Driving up over Christmas was usually an all-day project, with lots of stressed motorists, accidents and bad road conditions. No dream. The hours passed. I turned and twisted some more. You can say a lot about the thoughts you think in the middle of the night, but they are usually neither particularly smart nor rational...
The alarm clock rang. Had I slept at all? The whole body felt numb with fatigue. I got up quickly and almost ran to the fever thermometer. The daughter was completely knocked out and asleep. Poor little thing. Ideally, they would have just wanted to let her get a good night's sleep and rest in her pajamas in front of the TV all day. In with the thermometer in the ear. One press of the button. Piiiiip. The thermometer still showed a fever. Anders and I looked at each other. What do we do now? The taxi would arrive in 30 minutes. What if she has caught that scary flu that has started circulating around here at school?
We quickly realized that if we were to miss the booked train, we probably wouldn't get up to Umeå at all. Everything was fully booked. The man checks out hotels in Umeå. There were hotel rooms available over Christmas. The daughter whispers with trembling lips that she felt a little better now. We needed to decide in a few minutes to make it. Go or stay at home? Stay at home or go? So all three of us made a trail decision. None of us wanted to stay home, we had been looking forward to seeing everyone again! Our backup plan was that IF the daughter would not recover by the 23rd, we would take her to a hotel so that we would not infect the rest of the gang. In that case, it would be quite a boring Christmas, but at least we would have tried. The daughter didn't snort, didn't cough and didn't look too tired. We took a chance.
We managed to get ready in time, the taxi didn't have to wait for us more than a few minutes. The train was on time. It was calm and quiet on the train. And we slept. And sleep. And came up to Umeå at lunchtime. The daughter got to take it super easy and snuggle with the cats, while the rest of us messed about at Christmas. The next day she was fever free. She was perhaps not quite bursting with energy, but as healthy as we would have liked.
So it was, after all, a super-duper cozy Christmas in Norrland for us, with champagne tasting and cheese on the evening of the sit-in and lots of good food among orange trees and vines on Christmas Eve. For the first time we tried making vego mustard with eggplant, which was a real hit! If you haven't tried it yet, save it for next year!
As usual, the Christmas gift game started on Christmas Eve, but this year my package was not a success. I ended up having to carry the package home with me again. I had bought packing cubes/packing bags - the kind that facilitate and organize in your suitcase - but it was not a sought-after package in this year's battle for the pats. Don't mind that I got them back though, we can never have too many packing cubes for all the little socks and bikinis and underwear and tank tops and dirty clothes and shoes and…
Now we are back home in Stockholm and resting up for the New Year. I have my phone filled with lots of snow-filled pictures from a wonderful winter-beautiful Umeå, but they are so many pictures that they deserve their own post! Even though I don't like the cold, I have to admit that there is something special about snow covered forests, isn't there?
Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.