After a 10 minute bus trip that cost $30, we finally made it to the Ice Hotel. A collection of small chalets/huts, surrounding the Ice Hotel proper, it is set on the shores of a lake, which of course is pretty much frozen solid. Well, to a depth of 1 metre at least. And it’s easily 1Km wide and 5 Km long, so it’s pretty impressive.
The Ice Hotel is colder inside than out during the day. It’s been about 0C as a maximum for the past few days. And inside the hotel is -5C. We had a peek around … it’s open to the public until 6pm, when the guests can move in. Pretty spectacular let me tell you. Lots of little rooms, which are nothing more than an ice cube with a bed in it (cheapest). Then there are Ice Suites, which area themed rooms, with various ice sculptures and weird shaped beds. For example, there are Viking ship beds being pulled along by ice dogs, a MacBeth themed room, complete with ice statues of Lady MacBeth and the witches carved into the wall and a fertility room, with sperm carved into the wall, swimming around the edge of the room towards a whopping great egg above the bed. Talk about pressure.
We are in a chalet for the first two nights. Very cosy, a stereotypical swede hut. Lots of pine on the walls, pine furniture, pine sinks .. you get the picture. Thankfully there are heaps of heaters. Up to 2 per room, which is very nice when you come back inside after a night haring through the forests on a snowmobile.
Speaking of which, last night we went on a Snowmobile ride. You might think they look fun, but let me tell you they’re damn hot fun. At first they are quite tricky to get the hang of, particularly at slower speeds. But once you get to open them up a little, sweeeeet.
We rode through the forest for about 30 minutes until we arrived at some little huts where we were going to have dinner. Thankfully they had a lovely fire going inside, where the guides were cooking moose goulash and salmon sandwiches. Very tasty. Moose is pretty damn good. Along with some LingonBerry juice, which is a native wild berry from around here that the local Sami (reindeer farmers) drink. Also tasty.
After dinner, we came back to the Ice Hotel via the river, which meant we got a chance to crank up the snowmobiles. Huge fun, flying along at around 70-80kmh in the dark, along a frozen river bed. Needless to say, Caren didn’t think it was as much fun as I did, but I was the one driving, so “Hah”. I’d love to do it again, but it’s about $400 a person, so I don’t think that’s going to happen.
When we got back to the hotel, we went to the ice bar, and had a couple of drinks in ice glasses. As you could expect, this is more of a novelty than anything. Of course, if you aren’t wearing your gloves then it sticks to your hand. It’s -9C inside the bar, which either encourages you to drink faster to have more drinks, or drink faster to get out.
After a few rounds, we walked outside and saw a greenish cloud, slightly swirling. We weren’t sure if it was the Aurora or not, but all of a sudden it exploded in a blaze of greens and blues, flying all over the sky. Quite amazing. Then after a burst of activity, it seemed to spread out across the whole sky, and just slowly fade in and out.
We also had a run through of the wedding ceremony with the “Wedding Organiser” here. Should be interesting. There will be an interpreter … and apparently we have to sing a swedish hymn, which neither of us are too thrilled about.