Let’s continue our trip north. Our new destination was Abisko. But we had a charged program so we left in a hurry.
The first stop was a visit to the Ice Hotel. Maybe you have heard about it, it is a very expensive (min. 3000 kr per night) hotel completely made of Ice (well, only the rooms). Some of the rooms are beautiful, whoever can get in touch with the ice hotel staff and submit a project of room design. If the project is accepted, the artist has 14 days to build the room.
But be careful….the hotel is made of ice…that means that in summer it doesn’t exist…that means that it is built every autumn, when there is at least -5 to conserve the ice… the result? When we went there it was a big deception: the hotel was almost completed but it was still unaccessible to visitors! So all we could see was the refrigerator which kept the ice during summer and some slides with pictures of the last years hotel. Quite sad. But at least, the staff offered us a cold drink in an ice glass.
Then we went visiting one of the oldest churches in the region which was built in the 17th century. What I realized is that even though the religion is supposed to be lutheran, inhabitatnts are worshipping nature. In this chuch there were beautiful painting of flowers and in Kiruna’s the windows were made of green glass to create a northern light effect inside.
Near the church, there was a frozen lake. We run on it, and took plenty of pictures. I felt like in an icy desert…and I think I’ve never seen a scenery like this one. I mean, I saw snowy mountains before but I never saw a plain of snow and ice that wide.
We all grouped together on the lake to make a picture.
Under the weight of 50 people, the ice broke. I’m not joking. So we all started running very fast, ready to kill each other when one second before we were all smiling and hugging!
Nothing happened, the ice obviously broke but the ground was still stable and there were no holes. But we were scared enough to stop and to go back to the bus.
Later, we met the Sami people. The guide told us a lot about them: they live thanks to the reindeers, they go moose and bear hunting and they sing when they see the northern lights.
Two old Sami welcomed us to their tent, they spoke a perfect english which they had apparently learned from the TV. They showed us the reindeers they had and we could feed them. Then, he got enthusiast and started to feed …also us! Yes, I ate moss.
Then, we entered in the tent, near the fire and I felt so warm and cosy that I really wanted to sleep. The old sami talked a loooot. He had two favorite arguments: reindeers and women, he felt old enough to give to the boys some advice and some warning about girls. He also gave us some reindeer meat to eat and some hot beverage (hot water where reindeer meat had boiled). Both the beverage and the food were really tasty!
We could also buy…guess what? Reindeer horns and skin as souvenirs.
Finally we reached Abisko, with a marvellous hostel waiting for us.
For dinner, we had a big barbecue in a tent outside. It was very nice to seat by the fire again.
After having stared at the sky a couple of minutes, I realized that I would not have the chance to see northern lights even tonight.
People went to bed rather early.
But the night was not over. At 1.30 some rumor spread that a tourist had spotted northern lights near the lake. In some minutes everyone (also those sleeping) was aware of that. Everyone started dressing hurriedly (I put my ski trousers and jacket above my pijama) and left to see the lights. The hunting started! We left the hostel in a big group and little by little we spread. I bet that some people got lost before reaching the lake.
Obviously, not any kind of light could be seen but, if you tried to take a picture regulating your camera to take most of the light, you could see some green spots in the sky!
I cannot say that I saw northern light but I had a very funny moment in the wood of Abisko and I saw plenty of stars.
Next episode: Narvik…a rivedere le stelle