You won’t be surprised to hear that the first thing that hits you when you arrive in Kiruna, 200k north of the arctic Circle, is the cold. It hits you quite slowly but quite comprehensively all over, from the ground up (How do planes land on what appears to be solid ice?) from the head down and from the middle inwards in all directions.
The second thing, since they don’t keep you hanging about out there, is the warmth inside. The airports and the rooms are havens of warmth! No draughty bits, no chilly corners. Those Swedes have heating and insulation down to a fine art.
The third thing is the prices. Ok, so you’re warm and cosy and you’d like a drink. The question is, how many arms and legs are you prepared to give for one! Food? There’s plenty of it, just in order to buy any you needed to have brought a second mortgage with you. After our first evening in Stockholm we all took one out.
Actually, the first thing we all noticed was the SNOW!!!! Vast quantities of it, all over the place just lying about waiting to be played in. And all of it was white and crisp and soft and clean.
Our warm cabins were lovely and warm and cosy and wooden. The ice places were astonishing and I’m just downloading the photos now! The frozen River Torne behind the hotel was amazingly large and white and snowy. Snow angels were created in great numbers and we discovered a heap of abandoned bits of ice bricks and sculptures and made a little cairn of our own. There was a good deal of frisking and frolicking. Followed by retreats into warm cabins and the shedding of large heaps of snow suits and boots. We spent our time either plodding about like astronauts in huge, enveloping snow suits and big warm boots or stripped as far as decency would allow inside really warm cosy buildings.
Oh and the night in the ice room was amazing! Really warm! They do the most fantastic sleeping bags!
Sorry? What was that? You wanted to hear about the wedding?
Oh yes 🙂 The wedding! Just WOW! Just totally fantastic 🙂 Youngest looked radiant, Partner looked adorably smitten, the children loooked like little fairies and us four supporting family looked pretty good too (even if one of them – me – forgot to take off the funny hat that you get when you arrive at the ice place).
It was all about excesses of joy and overflowing of love and laughter. The cost (Arrgh) the strife of getting nine people all together through two airports, via assorted taxis and hotels to the glories of the snowy wilderness – all melted away behind us and the utterly beautiful ice chapel welcomed us serenely with it’s cool clear bluish light and flickering candles reflecting the warmth we brought with us.
So here they are 🙂
Oh Ooops! This was the happy couple as rendered by Auntie and the three children 🙂
Here are the real ones.
And we all got home safely : )
(Sorry this took so long, Word press wouldn’t work for two days after we came back!!!)