|Alkavare kapell - with my Amundsen touring skis resting agains the outer wall.|
I started the solo winter hike on Sarek's Eastern border. After several days of skiing right through the wilderness of Sarek national park, I was coming close to the opposite border in the West. There, an exotic destination was beaconing - literally, a spiritual experience in the middle of wilderness, as remote as it gets, many miles from the nearest road or settlement.
The chapel of Alkavare (Alkavare kapell) was built 1788 in this Arctic wilderness area, abandoned a few decades later, and then was restored and open once again in 1961. It overlooks the lake of Álggajávre, overlooking the nearby mountains, valleys, and the border to Padjelanta - the next national park. There is nothing but rock, water, snow and ice here.
The chapel holds a service only once a year - last Sunday in July. The Saturday before that, there is a prayer service at 18:00, which is followed by a morning service on Sunday at 11:00. It's actually possible to get married there, when the priest is present. But that has to be arranged beforehand, and you have to be good for some serious hiking, serveral days before and after the ceremony - no honeymoon luxury and lounging around!
|The sign above the entrance. The door is never locked, only properly closed.|
|Deep snow covering the altar|
|Walls are covered with snow from the inside|
|The chandeliers on every wall, waiting to be lighted for that special service|
|One of the guest books|
|The locked box, holding the religious mystery|
|The roof chandelier, in hand-wrought iron, decorated with stones. It's deducated to Margit, buried in Alkavare at 51 years of age.|
|Outside of the chapel, you're quickly brought back to the practical world: wind, snow, slopes, and what probably is the most unaccessible privy in Sweden. Not usable in the winter though - all full of snow.|