ARCTIC SWEDEN DISPATCHES
Kiruna / Jukkasjarvi, Sweden – February 2000
Greetings, Friends and Followers!
Well, folks, I did it! I can officially be dubbed a true Viking now. I braved the snow, the desolation (sort-of), the ice, and the cold of Sweden’s Ice Hotel. I even received an official Diploma for (quote) “surviving the night” in MINUS 5 degrees INSIDE our room, and MINUS 8 outdoors! And for those of you who may be skeptical about that fact, come look at the real thing – now hanging prominently on my wall.
Let it be said that this was, without question, the MOST AWESOME EXPERIENCE AND ADVENTURE IN MY LIFE (to date)! And just the thought of being 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle kinda gave me goose-bumps (literally). However, those of you who know me well, realize that I have Siberian blood and prefer winter to any other season. This was a real treat, albeit for only 3 days.
I am enclosing only a few photos of the many I took, but none of them do justice to the “real thing”. It is beyond words of description!
The beds are made of blocks of ice covered with a thick layer of sticks and two layers of reindeer hides (a few beds, including the one in the wedding suite, have thin foam pads under the hides). Then, all of us insane people who expected to actually SLEEP on them, received sub zero sleeping bags to put on top. Sleep came with difficulty. My body was actually quite toasty, but my face (which was the only exposed part) was indeed too awake. I tried covering my mouth and nose, but discovered quickly that it was NOT the right thing to do. The steam of my breath promptly got the bag wet, and yes, it froze to my face… When they instruct you to leave your face exposed – they have good reason. Live and learn… Then half-way through the night I slid off the bed, and in trying to get back up, klunked my head on the immense ice sculpture of a woman that decorated our room. I never knew that ice could resonate quite so eloquently! I ask you – “how often can one say something like that”? It was really very funny. After all that I did manage to fall asleep for a little while.
In the morning, everyone who stuck out the night (about half of the residents bailed), got a nice mug of hot lingonberry tea. Boy, was THAT good!
The rest of the day was spent on dog-sled, and then there was the late afternoon visit to a Saami (local tribe of people in Lappland) reindeer farm. I even drove my own reindeer sled! Had I been wearing red, I would have felt like
Lots more to tell, but I will stop here. Those of you who are interested in finding out details are more than welcome to call. However, I can’t promise that I won’t drool as I’m talking about this trip. I’d go back in a minute!!!!
Enjoy the photos. One of the pictures is of me INSIDE a hollow block of ice (about 6″ thick on all sides), but it’s so clear that were it not for the two cracks, you’d probably never even know… And yes, the chandelier IS indeed made of ice, too, lit with fiber-optics.
Of course, you can also check out their website for yourselves: ICEHOTEL
Moki of the North