Ice Hotel is so Cool!!!

We arrived in Kiruna and took a quick 15 minute bus ride to Jukkasjarvi, home of the famous Ice Hotel in Sweden, the original and largest in the world.   When we arrived, they showed us our warm locker space to keep our luggage during our stay in the cold accommodations.   We are booked for one night in the  cold rooms made entirely of ice and one night in the warm rooms.   There is an area called the dressing room where you get changed for the night and can shower and warm up in the sauna and then when you are ready to go to bed, they give you warm sleeping bags which you lay on the reindeer skin on your bed.  There are briefings throughout the day and they explain how to sleep safely and warmly in the freezing rooms.  Ninety percent of the ice hotel is built from the water from the Torne River out back.  There are tours that explain the history and making of the ice hotel which is quite interesting.

During the day, the ice hotel is open to the public to come tour and take pictures of the various suites and rooms until 6pm and then it is exclusively for the hotel guests to enjoy.  You can go for dinner at one of their two restaurants, have a drink in the ice bar in an ice glass or partake in one of the many activities like snowmobiling or dog sledding to see the northern lights.  Tomorrow we’ll go meet some reindeer and go for a reindeer ride and have an opportunity to feed  them. One can spend all days just looking at the different art sculptures that make up the ice hotel.  Each suite and room is carved and decorated by an individual or group of artists.  Many couples get married in  the Ice Church right inside the hotel.  I met one couple from the states who was getting married today and while the bride was probably very cold taking pictures in her wedding dress, I’m sure it was well worth the beautiful shots they’ll get!

It’s almost time for bed, but first I’m going to head out and see if there is a sighting of the Northern Lights tonight.  Then it’s time to strip down to my sexy thermals and slip into the sleeping bag.  They say you can get one of your best night’s sleep here, so I’m looking forward to a peaceful slumber and a wakeup call with warm lingonberry juice.  As of tonight, the connection is a little tough so I’m having trouble uploading more fascinating pictures, but will do so soon!

Scandinavian Airlines: Comfort and Relaxation

We left from Newark Friday evening on a 7pm flight and landed in Stockholm 7.5 hours later after a very smooth flight on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).   I knew it was going to be important to sleep on the flight since we were going to hit the ground running with a tour as soon as we landed in Stockholm, which was five hours ahead (6 hours ahead on Saturday with turning the clocks ahead), so I came all prepared with my fleece blanket and travel pillow, but I didn’t need to use either, as they supplied the pillows and blankets, which you may think is normal, but for many airlines, you now have to pay extra (what’s next?!)  I sat in economy extra, which was two steps down from first class (first class and business) but one step above economy, and it truly made a difference.  The seats were wider, reclined back with a footrest and had more legroom.  However, economy still looked comfortable as well with a selection of movies and entertainment.  We had movies on demand, so if you need to get up for a bit, you can pause and go back to it. The entertainment system also included many channels of music and games. I watched a great movie, ate dinner and then dozed off for a few hours before it was time for breakfast.  Dinner was a choice of tilapia and mashed potatoes or chicken and potatoes.  I chose the fish which was moist and delicious came with a yummy risotto and a lemon desert, wine and spirits.  Airline food can be hit or miss, but SAS gets a thumbs up for their food.  Breakfast was yogurt, some meats and OJ.

While some may think 7.5 hours is a long flight, it really flew by and was very comfortable.  The staff was very friendly and helpful and made sure one had everything they needed for a relaxing journey to Stockholm.  We will be using them for all the flights while here in Scandinavia.  On Tuesday, we fly from Stockholm, the capital of Sweden to Kiruna, north of Stockholm and home to the Ice Hotel.  Then it’s off to Copenhagen, Denmark for a few days.  I flew SAS to Norway last year and it’s always been a great experience.  They are known for their on time service and so far they haven’t let me down!