Menu:

Travel

2009 Kiruna, Sapmi (Northern Sweden)


Every year we try to write "Holiday" and the year in the sand, dirt  or snow in honour of my late father who used to do the same when we were kids.
6125


Husky ride to the hotel


We were taken to the hotel from the airport on a Husky sledge. It was really enjoyable (if a little smelly sometimes) and it was fun to watch them biting lumps of snow to eat as they ran along.
0003
Eight huskies pulled four people, this was their second 19km trip of the day !


Restaurant

The main road outside the Ice Hotel
6099
There was a restaurant over the road, although some of the food was good quality it was nouvelle cuisine so extremely small portions for very high prices, we did get a complimentary mushroom soup and I thought the size was small ...
0009
... until I saw the size of my starter. One small potato cut into three and a crisp with some butter sauce. It was about 120SEK or 10 ! We can get a huge bag of chips at our local takeaway for 1.60. We vowed not to go there again ... There's a buffet place called "The Homestead" that is only 1km walk away. It's about 32 a head for an eat as much as you like buffet of good quality food.
0010
Steph's main course was a bit more filling for her
0011


Snowmobiles/Moose safari

We hired three snowmobiles so that Di and Steph could drive their own even though they don't (yet) even have driving licenses in the UK.
5960
Our instructor had this one, much faster than ours and more manoueverable. He could drive it over fresh snow as if he was on a jet ski.
0018
In the 3 hour drive we saw a few Mooses (meece ?) but mostly they just lay in the snow behind trees, we were given lunch at a Swedish home along with other people who had been horse riding.
5971

Sami Reindeer Excursion


We went on a Sami and reindeer excursion - I had to drive a snowmobile to pull some of the other guests along. Here our guide explains the safety to my and the other driver
5261
It started off OK over a frozen lake (nothing much to hit) ...
5263
... but soon we were in little winding passages between trees that seemed scarred from collisions with snowmobiles
5265
The reindeer are semi domesticated and are being fed lichen.  It looked like how we imagined Narnia to be
5266
We could have a go at racing them, here's Steph starting off by the Sami guide
6058
Off she goes into the distance. The reindeer came back alone, she'd crashed into two other sledges and fallen off and limped home with a bruised knee
6061
The guide told us all about Sami culture (that's their real name, the word Lapp isn't liked very much) and cooked a reindeer stew and a coffee over a fire in a tent. For the vegetarian (me !) he cooked some vegetable soup
5267


Around the Ice Hotel

You can spend warm nights in little log cabins at the ice hotel if you don't fancy the cold - we did 2 warm nights then one in the ice room6006
Someone appears to have got married there
61370107
Apparently this means "finished"
5303
An ice sculpture in the reception area
5302
Sami art
6138
Many ice sculptures outside the hotel
5988
A lot of the blocks of ice pulled from the river contain plant material
0105
One day had brilliant blue skies but it was still -4C/.
0081

0100


Ice Hotel - the cold parts


The main entrance to the Ice Hotel
5259
There are reindeer skins on the door " to keep the heat in"
6011
This is the reception desk
5270
and a receptionist
00800078 0088
The main hallway has pillars of ice supporting the ceiling
6012
Almost everything is made of snow and ice, even the chandeliers which had little LEDs and optical fibre lights !
6121
The corridors are very long
6015
This was a semi circular ice settee
6042

The Church

There was a church where they have regular services, Apparently it's popular for weddings.
6007

0083

The snowflakes were much bigger and more powdery than at home
5289
Blocks of ice had been cut ...
5295
... and any broken ones were discarded in a pile.
6132

The Rooms


You could pay extra and get a designer room ... we made do with a cheaper room (see later). The hotel rooms were open from 10:00 to 18:00 for any visitor to look at, though there was one "secret" room we couldn't get into. 5236
52486033
6019
60266107
60390072007161056018

The Ice Bar

Even the cups at the ice bar were made of ice, see the 2nd picture below this one
0067
We met a lot of nice people again and again, this is Santi (who drove another snowmobile) and his parents
Hola Santi y sus padres ! Mandenme un e-mail si quieren Uds un foto original
6077
The main settee in the Ice bar

5269 


Sleeping in the Ice room

Our room in the Ice Hotel. It was -17C outside and a toasty warm -5C inside. It wasn't cold inside the sleeping bag, just our faces at -5C and my eyes felt frozen shut in the morning. You weren't supposed to leave any clothes out of the bag as they'd freeze solid overnight.
6089
0038

Northern lights.

  One of the main reasons we came here was to see this, it didn't get dark enough when we were in Iceland, Finland or Spitzbergen in 2007 and 2008.
The first signs - I couldn't see it by eye so took a long exposure then upped the light levels to see some of the lights
6075
The view from the Coop. It moved slowly and kept brightening and darkening every ten seconds or so
6071
Then it got brighter - here most of the dark or missing patches are clouds
6078
Lights illuminating clouds (orange, left) over the city of Kiruna and Northern Lights (green, right). The blue lights are from the ice hotel.
6083
Every few minutes it would change and the stars shone brightly too as there was no moon.
6085
We saw a few of the "curtains" of light (bottom centre) but no other colours apart from green.
6088

The flight home

There were only a handful of flights a day from the Airport and two took off 5 minutes apart.
6142
The view from the plane over northern Sweden
6143
It was an exhausting holiday
6145

Kiruna Ice Hotel

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict