After experiencing the Northern lights already on the first night of my trip, I was ready for more adventures on the second day. Laura had efficiently planned the second day. She had gotten the license to drive a snowmobile just two days before I had arrived. So we wrapped up in the warmest outfits and went out for the new adventure. Her roommate had a snowmobile of her own which she was using instead of a car. It seemed like quite a practical choice, since you have improved mobility in the totally unpredictable weather conditions. No more road blocks, skidding or sliding and there was this winter highway formed on the frozen river-Torne.
We had the first stop at Laura’s workplace Nutti Sami Siida, where the reindeers were kept. In fact it is the only company in the region which offers Reindeer sledging. Laura explained how every reindeer in the Lapland has an owner who would be a Sami, the indigenous group of people who live there. This time of the year most of the reindeer lose their horns and hence were not in their full majesty as one would imagine from the sledges of Santa Claus. They were still adorable and I managed to take some interesting pictures with them.
After feeding the reindeer we drove further and I had my first experience driving the Snowmobile. It was amazing the rate at which they accelerated to high speeds.
Snow mobile took over the role of boats:
Next stop for the day was for lunch where I got the next first time experience – reindeer meat. I ate Suovas which is a very traditional Sami dish made from smoked and fried reindeer meat. I became an instant fan of reindeer meat and had it for most of my meals in Kiruna.
After the delicious lunch, it was time to explore a world famous man made wonder in the region – the Ice hotel. Though the guided tour was not particularly exciting, it was quite informative about how the whole thing came into existence and how it is maintained. It was the 27th edition of ice hotel. They make it and break it every year with a unique design. Works from artists all over the world were on display and provided a different experience. One can book a room in this hotel where you have the unique opportunity to sleep inside a room made of ice and snow. Naturally it comes with a price but it seemed there was quite a demand. In an attempt to provide this experience even in summer, they have constructed a new version of ice hotel named ice hotel 365 next to the traditional one. My ability to understand and appreciate art is very limited as a result of which, after a visit to a couple of suites, it all started to appear the same to me. So, I went out to have a stroll on the adjacent river Thorne which also provided all the Ice required to build this magnificent structure.
The original Ice hotel and the new version Ice hotel 365:
The chapel inside the Ice hotel which is becoming a popular location for getting married:
One of the cold suites:
There is a bar where you can enjoy cocktails ” in the rocks”