We wanted to do some horse riding activities, but unfortunately everything were fully booked for the whole weekend.. So, lesson learned! We should have booked it in advance =P Anyway, we decided to check out the Ice Hotel, in the Jukkasjärvi area which was around 15 - 20 minutes away by car. By this time of the year, the main ice hotel is no longer there, the Ice Hotel's surrounding area is still open and operating during summer.
I've never been here during winter, and wish we had made the journey before summer.. Ahh well.. Guess, it will be sometime in the distant future, now =(
A little history about the Ice Hotel - The ice hotel is only available from December - March every year. Every spring, around March, the Ice Hotel harvests tons of ice from the frozen Torne River and stores them in a nearby production hall. There, they store tons of ice and snow to create the ice hotel. The ice is used to create the Icebar designs and ice glasses. These are used for ice sculpting classes, events and product launches all over the world. The snow is used to build the structure of the hotel. What is left is then used to construct the next Ice Hotel.
Once completed, the hotel features an ice bar, church (I remembered how S wanted to get married here and I protested as it was too far out. How I am regretting that now!), main hall, reception area and rooms and suites for over 100 guests. Everything here is made from ice. Right down to the beds and decorations. Every room is unique as no two room are the same. You could sleep in the rooms here as each bed is lined with reindeer furs and guests are given special equipment to use while sleeping in the hotel. There is no heating in the room and the room's temp is constantly at 23F (-5c). Funnily enough, due to Sweden's OH&S law, they are now required to install fire alarms. Not sure for what.. When the reindeer skin catch on fire?
For those needing to use the bathroom constantly at night, best to use their warm accommodation which is available next to the hotel as the ice hotel has no plumbing and you will need to use the bathrooms in a warm building close by ;) But.. There is a sauna that is run on the premises of the Icehotel with hot tub outdoors. Quite interesting, no?
|This is what's left of the ice hotel.. A teepee and a little shed covering a block of ice that is slowly melting away|
|The famous Torne river is to the right|
|Ice block under a shed. Inside were some pictures showing how the ice hotel is constructed|
|I love how crazy clouds makes a photo look more dramatic|
|You could stay in these cabins|
|Walking about 15 minutes or so for lunch... to the Nutti Sami Siida|
|I was actually quite impressed with lunch.. As they actually cooked all our meat in the open fire compared to the usual bain marie|
|Our yummy reindeer lunch! Freshly cooked!|
|Though the clouds look fierce in the days we were there, we didn't get caught in any rain.. Which was quite a blessing =)|
|Checking out on S who was taking a nap at the pier...|
|My baby is all class ;)|
We got picked up from Camp Ripan back to the Ice Hotel area and got decked in wetsuits, boots, life jacket and helmet. Then it was about 30 minutes drive or so before we all disembarked and hopped into our raft! Cost was 950SEK/person and it's supposed to be for around 6 hours and includes a couple of small sandwiches and a cup (to scoop the water from the river and drank from it direct). We also got a small drink box when we arrived back
|I was too scared of getting my camera wet, but we put our camera into a bin bag and into a dry bag to keep it doubly safe!|
|Only managed to snapped a few pictures before hiding my camera for safe keeping. I was too scared I might fall from the raft as well =P|
|We even got a tour to find a rare orchid which was teeeeny.. Apparently it's one of the rarest species of orchid which they thought was extinct... We had to trek into some jungle for a few minutes..|
|Part of our group.. Was 2 French couples and our guide and S & me... This is where the freaking mosquitoes were having their supper... on us!!|
|We actually finished a lot earlier than expected. Around 10.30 - 11pm. I got thoroughly wet, from top to bottom! Was quite fun, riding the rapids =)|
Our last day and we fly out of Kiruna that evening, so, we decided to make full use of our day by going fishing. We rented a guide and his boat for 650SEK/person (for half a day) which includes rental of his fishing rods and him taking us out to different spots of the Torne River to get a good catch or two.
Unfortunately for me, I got bored after the first hour or so, as the task of throwing the rod out and winding it back with seaweed or nothing caught in my hook didn't quite appeal to me. But, S was going for his life and caught 3 fishes, one was returned to sea eventhough it was the biggest catch. Unfortunately it was a Pike and our guide advised us they don't usually eat Pike =P We were out there for at least 3 hours or so
It was quite cold when the boat is moving, but when we sat still, it was gloriously warm as the sun was shining and there was just a gentle breeze throughout the day...
|Love how blue and gorgeous the Torne River looks...|
|S was so proud of his catch... with our guide|
|His 2nd catch of the day! Quick! Quick! Take a photo!|
|Our lunch on the way back in the car!|
|Our guide gutted both fish and beheaded them in the river|
|Cloudy but still sunny!|
|Setting our fishes up for cooking! We cooked both in the open fire. One in just foil and smoked the 2nd fish.|
|Our lunch cooking away!|
|My slightly swollen left eye... After taking 2 anti-histamines.. Actually looked a lot better =D|
|Our lunch for just S and myself...|
Until next time!