The Ice Hotel

Am just recently back from the most *amazing* place… the Ice Hotel in Sweden. It’s actually in the Arctic Circle… and I bet like me you had no idea what the Arctic Circle really is? It ain’t an Arctic Roll so don’t get any smart ideas. I’ll let you google the answer (-:

So the holiday was for three nights… and I must say it was stunningly expensive. The reason is all of the trips on offer – as it’s kind of a once in a lifetime sort of trip you want to cram in as much as possible. So this meant:

  • Snowshoe walking / cross country skiing : (you get put in a sled behind a snowmobile and taken out into the countryside to fall on your ass a lot and make snow angels)
  • Snow-mobiling : Now I know what it must be like for women to drive (yeh, I went there hehe) as driving a snowmobile is like trying to steer a cat! Was amazing fun though and the trip included an awesome lunch (reindeer) in a traditional tent thingie. Most enjoyably another couple hit a tree.
  • Reindeer sledding : Now I was expecting to be put onto a sled and pulled along by a few reindeer for thirty minutes. What actually happened was that we went and fed the reindeer, lassoed them, took them to our own sled each, hooked them up and then went off into the snowy wilderness for a couple of hours!!! It was amazing and so beautiful and quiet. You could just sit/stand on your tiny sled and look at the animal tracks in the snow or the beautiful scenery. Afterwards we had a traditional lunch (reindeer) in a tent which was fab.
  • Night time visit to space centre and then dinner under the stars (via snowmobile) : I have to confess I really wanted to bring the girl who took us on this trip home with me as she was very cool. She looked timid and shy and about 7 but like most locals in this part of the world she was tough as nails. She described her wilderness school where the final test was being blind-folded and taken out into the country (in the snow) and left for a week to survive with no food and just a knife. Well I say just a knife – but she did tell us she threatened to “slit a tourists throat” once when the disobeyed her on a trip. So she gave us a tour of the space centre, took us out on snowmobiles at night then cooked us all dinner (reindeer) – very cool!
  • Night-time pony trekking : Yes, pony trekking. Yes, ponies! This evening trip was hilarious… a group of us were taken to a farm and had to brush and prepare our poniez, saddle them up and then take them out in the pitch dark for an hour in the woods to see the northern lights (more on those later). Now I ain’t very used to the company of poniez so when the girl introduced me to mine and said “you can go up to her stable now” I blurted out “what, with my pony?!”. She did well not to burst out laughing. The night ride was awesome and then A MIRACLE HAPPENED… yes, our guide made us dinner in a tent and it wasn’t reindeer!!! It was moose (-:
  • Husky Sledding : Wow this was so so cool. 11 very excited dogs took us in groups of four per sled out to the countryside (to be honest it’s ALL countryside out there) for a few hours with a break for coffee and cake half way out. It was beautiful and silent once we’d got going and the goggies were very friendly and beautiful (yeh I said that too). I learnt an amazing fact on this trip… huskies can crap at full running speed. It’s quite a hilarious sight – imagine running at full speed with your legs apart as you poo… not elegant in any way!
  • A night on a block of ice : yeh you have to actually pay to do this… the rooms and suites in the ice hotel were amazing, apart from the cheapo ones that are just an empty room with a block of ice. There are armchairs and sculptures all made out of ice and are so imaginative. One room even had an ice pinball machine in it. The mechanics of sleeping in one of these rooms is that you pee (as there are no loo’s in the cold part of the hotel), put on just a base layer of t-shirt and leggings and some thick socks and a hat. Then you collect your sleeping bag and leg it over to the ice-hotel and find your room. None of the rooms have doors by the way so make sure you go into the right one! Once in the room you dive onto your bed which is literally made entirely of ice although it does have a super thin small mattress on it then lots of reindeer furs on top. After taking lots of photos and fixing the damned sleeping bag which has just broken the bloody zip you then apparently have a great nights sleep. Everyone else said they had a good nights sleep but I woke up at 3am boiling hot but with a really cold head – the only part of me outside the sleeping bag – and each breath froze inside my throat and I thought I was going to die. I didn’t though and managed to get back to sleep (-:
  • Dinner in the hotel restaurant which was awesome but also £240 and it only included two glasses of wine!

However I could not fault it – three days of amazing activities, two goats, loads of reindeer, wild moose, huskies, poniez and ice! The weather was amazing – only -16 at night and between -10 and 0 in the day time which is fine – a couple of months before it was -42 there and apparently hell!

Oh… and I saw the Northern Lights again. I have no idea why I capitalise the words as they were once again crap. And I’m fed up of meeting people who say there were stunning! I’ve only ever seen them as green/white splodges in the sky and nothing like you’d see on National Geographic.

Here are a couple of pics to finish… first the most awesome company car ever…

Next a nice relaxing sit on a chair made from ice…