News Archive - September 2008
On a beautiful English summer's day in July (one of the few we have had this summer), members of the M.U. went to an equally beautiful area of England - the Cotswolds. Pretty villages, good food, pleasant company - everyone enjoyed themselves! That was the summer outing.
With the beginning of Autumn, the September meeting was held in St. Mary's Church, which will be the venue for meetings of the Mothers' Union in future. Members were welcomed by the Vicar who hoped they would enjoy their new environment.
Nigel Watson made a welcome return as the speaker - this time on his 'Holiday in Lapland'. Lapland stretches over Sweden, Norway and Finland, but it was to the Swedish town of Jukkasjarvi that Nigel and his wife Georgina went to spend three nights at the Ice Hotel. In this small village on the banks of the Tornetrask river, a hotel, which is the size of two football pitches, is built every winter, and melts again with the warmth of spring. The front of the hotel proudly boasts the number 18 - because this was the eighteenth hotel to be built in as many years.
The 'building' is erected in about seven weeks each Autumn/beginning of Winter - as soon as the temperature drops to around -10C, and if there is a 'warm' spell finishing the work in time for visitors to arrive can be somewhat difficult! As well as his own photographs, Nigel showed a video showing how the hotel is constructed.
The hotel is decorated with the most amazing carving and sculptures (all made from ice of course) and sculptors and artists go to Sweden from all over the world to carry out this work.
On arrival at the hotel, 'booking in' was done at 'Reception' but this was the first reception desk in an ordinary part of the hotel, and having then been given even more warm clothing e.g. thermal boots; large jacket with hood, etc. it was time to enter the Ice Hotel and again be welcomed at 'Reception.' All the rooms and suites are decorated individually, and guests are shown all the rooms each with a different theme.
Their room was called 'Meander' and the carving related to a river, even including a bridge to be crossed to reach the bed. The bed was made of ice too, but there was a wooden base, which in turn was covered with reindeer skins. Temperature inside the room: -5C - outside: minus 25-30C.
Time to find the bar - made of ice, and so were the glasses, so the many varieties of vodka needed no ice added. Hot drinks were also available, but glasses could not be placed on the bar - melting was not required just yet. When bedtime came, the hotel issued artic sleeping bags and nightcaps, but in fact both Nigel and Georgina did sleep.
Morning was greeted with a maid bearing a flask with hot lingenberry juice. There were no doors to the rooms, just curtains, and all sound was deadened, but with so much ice around, the whole room seemed to glow in the moonlight, and if there was a camera flash anywhere, it showed right through the hotel. Bathroom and changing facilities were in the 'warm' part of the hotel, and most people spend only one night in the Ice Hotel.
The village was quite small, but with an interesting church, and, surprise, surprise, the Ice Hotel has a church as well, and two weddings were conducted there during their three day stay.
A highlight of the trip was an outing on snow mobiles to a group of huts some way from Jukkasjarvi where traditional food was prepared for the group, and then it was hoped they would see the Aurora borealis (Northern Lights), but disappointingly, there was no show that night. That was one thing the Ice Hotel couldn't provide.
Source: Focus, October 2008
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