Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Unique Rooms At The Ice Hotel

There's something like 50+ rooms at the Ice Hotel, most of them similar in their cool, restrained beauty. The Ice Hotel owners do raise the bar on their property by hiring artists to design unique "Art Suites" -- rooms with fantastical elements and inspired visuals. You don't have to stay at the hotel to view all the suites. Buy a ticket, wander the rooms and live the icy fantasy.

Sarah, re-creating the Three Bears children's story.

Artists get credit, a label outside their suite. Well titled!

One of the best (coolest?) rooms, walking inside a bell pepper, infested by a worm.

Pappa bear, wondering who's been in a bed. The border room.

Only a matter of time before snow owls/ghosts would show up.

Living among the leaves, including the bed. Sleeping among the fantastical ice creations.

Pappa bear, again wondering who's been in the bed, this time in the machine-themed room.

A last look at the luminous hotel.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Visiting The Ice Hotel In Jukkasjavi, Sweden

You know when you're dozing through the news in early winter and they roll out some silly feature, showing idiot folks hanging in some hotel made of ice? And you think, "They don't really build those things, who would go to such a place?"

They do!  We did!

Alas, we didn't stay, that's a whole other, expensive and masochistic operation. If that description fits you, read more here.

If not, enjoy the next few posts.

The Ice Hotel is a major operation, not just some jumbo igloos with a portalet. You sleep in a room of ice, but do everything else in various permanent buildings.

But we came to see ice. Lots of ice. The main entrance, proudly glowing.

Front door, all reindeer skins and horns. Locally sourced? Looking down the main hall. Hanging crystal, gleam on gleam.
Someone found a throne.

It's too hard to resist some ice carving, celebrating their 25th year and various people buying an ice brick for special messages. Nice to see appropriate contexts!

Back outside, what's the hump?

Up next, details of the rooms and features of the Ice Hotel.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A Random Winter Day In Copenhagen

Sometime when winter grey descends on a city, it's best to stay small instead of seeking out the big sites. While recently wandering Copenhagen, James found a few places worthy of a photograph.

Airport luggage area.

Copenhagen is mostly spotless, save for approved graffiti.

Expanding the Metro.

Enticing food at a market. Giant pop tarts? Outrageous open-faced sandwiches, a traditional Danish dish called, Smorrebrod. Alternative spelling, Mmmm.
Tidy bikes in front of tidy restoration.

Defacing or re-facing? A disabled T-Rex and a Joker of a Prime Minister.

Yup, in the land of Lego. At the downtown flagship store, every color you can imagine can be yours.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Lapping Up The Kiruna Church

What was voted the most beautiful building in Sweden in 2001? Glad you asked. The Kiruna church. Completed in 1912, the church sits in the center of Kiruna. The town was founded on mining, a bit of a "wild west" at the turn of the 20th century. The former mining boss wanted a church and requested that the architectural style emulate a Lapp cottage.

Tourists, making their way to the church.

Kiruna church, indeed, looking like an over-sized Lapp cottage.

The beautiful interior, full of interlocking beams.

Details. On the exterior, there are 12 golden statues, each designed to show the different "frame of mind" of man. Updated to included staring at a smartphone? Back inside, a sea of benches, appropriately blue.

The inside framing, naturally soaring.

A look to the pulpit.

Looking back to the organ, an addition in 1957.

The mine in Kiruna has been such a success that its expansion is now causing the center of the town to collapse, including the area that includes the church. There's a complicated (and expensive) plan to move the whole downtown, including the Kiruna church.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Cruising Kiruna

A few more looks at Kiruna.

The buses rumble through, bringing many tourists to the area for various attractions and winter sports.

Either you work hard removing snow or pack it in until the thaw.

The signs are the only way to tell where the middle of the street is.

Bar mascot. Why not? They don't mess around when it comes to winter driving. Engine warmer extension cord and major light rig, common on cars around town.

Back at the airport, tarmac men hide until needed.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Landing In Kiruna, Sweden

You gotta go far for dog sledding, all the way north of the Arctic Circle. Hello Kiruna. As it turns out, Kiruna isn't there to support a bunch of running pooches.  They've dug a little hole in the ground for mining iron ore. Did we say little? It's the biggest underground ore mine in the world.

Little airport, big scenery.

The street signs tell you you're in Sweden. And the snow drifts.

A local cafe proudly displays Kiruna's mining history.

Did we mention snow? Easy, Boston! Either you end up buried or you call in the big boys with their tall trucks to help remove the white stuff.

Backyard requirements, a hockey goal and a sled to take shopping/hauling.

Drifting dumpster. Modular living.

Signs keep you on the right trail in the winter.