Sunday, 10 April 2011

Jukkasjärvi and dogsledding

Freek and Ellen came up to Tromsø for a week of Arctic experience: ice, snow, northern lights, sleddogs, Sami culture, and to celebrate my birthday in the ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi. We first drove through Finland to Kautokeino to stay in an old hut at the Sami Čunouvuohppi fjellstue near Kautokeino with traditional Sami food. Fortunately for our guests, it was a cold and clear night with good displays of northern lights. The next day we drove to Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden to stay a night in the ice hotel and enjoy a good birthday dinner. Everything around the ice hotel is very touristic and expensive so we booked a dogsledding trip from a small husky kennel in Holmajärvi ( southwest of Kiruna. This turned out to be an excellent choice; we got a private trip, we all got to help with harnessing the dogs and preparing the sleds, we drove our own dogteams and guide Niclas cooked us a nice lunch and coffee. We had already noticed the road signs saying that the road to Norway was closed after Björkliden because of snowstorms. We had, however, already booked a hut at Björkliden, and as the road was open up to there we tried to get there. We got into a blizzard with visibility less than 50 m for the last 40 km or so, so the drive took a bit longer than expected, but we got there safely. The last 2 days were supposed to be high up in the mountains in the beautiful mountain lodge Låktatjåkko with great views towards Abisko, Lapporten, Torneträsk and towards Narvik. The lodge was indeed very nice and the food excellent, but although the weather in Björkliden had cleared up, there was still a blizzard up in the mountains. So instead of skiing/snowshoeing up the local hills and enjoying the views, we had a lazy time inside reading, playing memory and eating waffles. Freek en Ellen then took the train back to Stockholm and we still had half a day skiing at Björkliden before driving back to Tromsø. Here are some photos:

 the 'bubble' room

guarded by polar bears

watch out for the fish hook

sleeping in a refrigerator

arty ice room

ice church

ice bar

our snow room

dogsledding with Freek driving the sled in front of us

coffee and lunch break

we saw quite a few moose along the road to Nikkaluokta

lots of new snow in the 5 days we were away

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