Lapland 2014: Kiruna

I arrived at Gatwick at about midnight and was up for my flight at 4am. The back rows of the plane to Stockholm were empty so I had it to myself until people started to realise they could stretch out in the empty rows.
At Stockholm, I checked that my luggage would sort itself out and then marched from Terminal 5 through to Terminal 4, went through security again, got food & drink in an unexpected WH Smith and went to my gate. Even though the flight was an hour away, it was packed. A few German boys were doing an extremely difficult quiz (sample question: as the crow flies, how many kilometres from London to Tokyo?) so I drank a Yumberry drink and watched the planes.
As we flew north, you could see snow starting to appear. I slept for a while and woke up to a vast white nothing, broken only by the black dots of trees.
Kiruna airport seems to consist of one room, where departures and taxi drivers mingle with arrivals around the baggage carousel. It makes Orkney airport look like a huge place. I got the bus – and saw the huskies waiting to take people to ICEHOTEL. (That’s how they write it)
In Kiruna, not knowing where my hotel was, i decided to get off at the Tourist Information. As the bus pulled in, I spottedy hotel just up the street but I went in anyway, for a map and a flag badge for my blanket.
The hotel is only about 100 yards away bit Kiruna is under a semi-permanent layer of ice ans snow that makes it really difficult to get around. The Bishop’s Arms turns out to be in a small shopping centre. My room is upstairs, bigger than expected, has paintings of very English hunting scenes and the view from the window is of snow. Snow probably an entire storey deep.
Once I’d thrown everything all over the floor, i went back to the TIC to see what I could do tomorrow. Several leaflets later, I found snowshoe Northern Lights tours. The TIC said they could find out availability but Kiruna Guideturs is right across the road. So I went there (and bought a Sámi flag for my blanket). By a miracle, they had snowshoeing available usually, they only have snowmobile tours going. The only trouble is, the other couple are being picked up at ICEHOTEL. I don’t at all mind being taken out to see it for free before we go to the mountains!
I hoped to do a few hours dogsledding in the morning but there was nothing available, so I slid and slithered back to the hotel, had a shower ( it doesn’t go hot enough!) and fell asleep by about 7pm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s