Destination Ice Hotel Sweden in Kiruna
to Celebrate New Years Eve 2013-2014
After many times hearing of the Ice Hotel Sweden I always thought it would be a COOL place to visit. It’s an extreme destination, over-the-top-artistic-quirky, AND you can drink Absolute Vodka shots out of Frozen-Ice-Shot-Glasses in the Absolute Vodka Ice Bar!!! Ice Hotel Sweden is a remarkably unique place to visit, once. Check that off my Bucket List! Snowy Icy Darkness-Filled Fantasy Land…. The amazing ice sculptures, barely two hours of daylight, Snowmobiling through the woods in search of the Aurora Borealis, hiking through the snow, learning about the Sami Culture – the nomadic reindeer herders, racing a sled pulled by reindeer, Lingonberry Juice, quaint town of Kiruna, tiny village of Jukkasjarvi, dog sleds….
I got the brilliant idea to go to the freezing cold darkness above the arctic circle for New Years Eve, Ice Hotel Sweden in Kiruna. It’s a remarkable place to go to experience an icy-cold Winter Wonderland of Ice-Art Sculptures. Our suitcases stuffed full of our ski gear and warmest-of-warm winter clothes . However, I was not prepared for my Mediterranean-Blooded husbands reaction to the extreme cold. I’ll just say he was not a huge fan. Prepare Thyself- its very very very very very frozen. Did I say cold? And then the Darkness really threw us both off. We slept so amazingly good in Ice Hotel Sweden, in the Warm Hotel part that is! I was too much of a spoiled creature of comfort to dare sleep in the freezing hotel rooms. We talked to enough people during our stay to get the gist of it.
Sleeping in the Ice Hotel Sweden Hotel Rooms ~ put your belongings in a locker bc the doors are all open, share showers and bathrooms with the other guests, wait until the last-minute possible to go to bed because its freezing, then the Ice Hotel staff come in to wake you up at 7 am either because they are worried that you might freeze to death or because the bus loads of tourists will be there soon to walk the halls. Some people said they slept great while others mentioned waking constantly. My cute new friend from Brazil brought her glass of water beside the bed as she always does at home to awaken and find a glass full of solid ice!
When you go make sure you fill your time up with the activities offered, because otherwise… there’s not much else to do! The fact that there is only two hours of daylight makes it that much more confusing of finding something to do!
The first night we went on super speed snowmobiles in search of the Aurora Borealis… unfortunately it was to cloudy and snowy to see anything. It was still a thrill zooming through the forests at night through snow-covered trees. We stopped for dinner at this little circular wooded camp-hut. Our tour guide fed us Kirunian delicacies: deer meat stew, Lingonberry Tea, and a sweet cake.
The next night we opted for the Sami Culture Experience! This night was extra special because we really learned a lot about these Sami People. They are one of the last groups of people who still follow the old-fashioned herding culture, herding reindeer every year following the reindeer’s natural herding path. Our guide was a Sami herder. We got to lasso up some of his reindeer to put them in a track and race the reindeer on traditional sleds. The reindeer stole the show, absolutely beautiful creatures! After the race track, we were fed a typical dinner of marinated reindeer meat served in a Sami Tent. While our guide was cooking dinner her told us many stories and that had been passed down from generations. It was truly like stepping back in time. A very authentic experience!