December 2002
On December 23, I took my Christmas 2002 holiday over in Norway and Sweden not only

to visit friends but also to stay at the infamous ICE HOTEL. First stop was Oslo, Norway

to visit Terje & Petter - two backpackers I climbed to Everest Base Camp with. My only

unusual remark about Norway is that it is Expensive!! More than 50-55 Kr ($7-$8) for a

0,4L beer. Wow! It is also one of the most deserted cities on Christmas Eve & Day.


Everything was closed and there were absolutely NO people around.

Next stop was the Ice Hotel which is located in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden about 200 Kilometers

inside the Arctic Circle. The inside temperature of the hotel was a chilly -8°C which

was quite warm to the biting -28°C outside. I visited the hotel with Ann Barrow, a

colleague of mine from Coca-Cola. A more detailed description of the hotel is below.


Needing to thaw out, I spent a final week down in Stockholm - the capital of Sweden.

Was able to bring in the New Year with my friends Tom & Pia who I met and backpacked

with through Asia. They were wonderful hosts and cooked some excellent Swedish food.

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The Ice Hotel is more than 4,500 m2 and constructed with more than 30,000 cubic meters

of snow and ice. More than 3000 tons of ice are used to form pillars, interior walls, fittings

and sculptures. The hotel has more than 60 rooms including 30 suites. Each suite carries

the hallmark of a specific artist. Sculptors from all over the world are invited each year

to create the individual suites based on their unique ideas. Therefore every Ice Hotel

is different from year to year. The season runs from mid December to mid May when the

hotel slowly melts. The hotel includes a Church which is usually fully booked once a day

for that unique wedding. (I doubt the the happy couple are doing the wild thing that night.)


copyright © 2003 by Michael E. Hopkins - all rights reserved
revised NOVEMBER 2008