Arriving in Kiruna and Jukkasjärvi

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In the evening I arrived in Kiruna, a city mainly known for its important iron ore. During World War II this iron played an important role even if Sweden did not participate actively in the war. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiruna.

Today travelers come to Kiruna to visit Jukkasjärvi (18 km outside Kiruna) and the ICEHOTEL http://icehotel.com/
My first impression is that this is a really well organized and professional place. Everything is logic, effective, designed and “makes sense”.
There are guests from all over the world and it is a kind of strange to find a small village in a middle of Lapland that is like a melting pot of people from all over the world. The last time I felt equally international must have been on the Dubai Airport.
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Arriving at the ICEHOTEL I was warmly welcomed by Beatrice, from the Press and Marketing department at the ICEHOTEL. We had a fantastic dinner (I feel like an old gramophone that repeat myself all the time) and we had capercaille. My spell check keep on showing a spelling error but it is not – it is obviously a very rare word. See here … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capercaille You can eat them and it was good!
At the ICEHOTEL the main chef is a globetrotter and extremely good, experienced and internationally trained in his profession.

My plan was to sleep in one of the cold rooms of the ICEHOTEL and I needed some mental build-up and that gave me the best reason in the world to visit the bar.
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2 glasses of wine later and it was almost midnight, I decided it is time to go to bed. It was an experience to sleep in a room made of snow and ice. You sleep in a thermal sleeping bag on a bed built by ice blocks, a wooden frame, mattress and it is topped with reindeer skins.
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In ICEHOTEL it never gets colder than –5 to -8ºC, regardless of the fact that the outdoor temperature sometimes drops down to -30º. After a bit of practicing how to keep my face warm by wrapping the sheets around it but still have free space in front of the mouth I slept the whole night. In the morning a lovely lady woke me up with a cup of warm lingonberry juice.
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The ICEHOTEL is a unique hotel and product with a lot of things to do. I tried Ice driving that is not only a lot of fun; it is also a good training if you drive on snowy roads like I do.
Fredrik showed me some exercises with the four-wheel-drive Mini’s he has in Jukkasjärvi.
At the end we changed seats and he drove… WOW! I have a lot to learn how to drive on ice.

Britta’s Guesthouse – The Treehotel

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The Treehotel is actually two hotels. One part is the 5 rooms/cabins in the trees. The other part, where you also get breakfast and dinner is Brittas Guesthouse.
The contrasts between these two could not be bigger. Brittas Guesthouse is like coming home to Grandma. The furniture, china, wallpapers the pictures on the wall are from 1940-, 50- and -60. I had many flashbacks from my childhood and my grandparents.

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Britta's Guesthouse - The Treehotel

I expect everybody to talk about the stylish rooms when they have been here, but I must also talk about the food. It is served at Brittas Guesthouse and that means it is like in grandmas kitchen. You get a full plate with the most delicious food and you will definatly not leave hungry.
I had the most tender reindeer filet I ever tasted, and I tasted many.

The staff at the Treehotel are also amazing. They are so easy going, talkative, friendly and keen to make your stay the way you want. I saw a picture at the fire place of the Swedish Crown princess and her husband together with the owners visiting Britas Guesthouse and they looked very proud to welcome members of the Royal Family.

The Treehotel with the 5 stylish and cool designed cabins are totally different. Here you find a design; creativity and the architects must have had a lot of fun creating these unique exteriors and interiors. I slept in “The Cabin” and it looked like this when I arrived.
In general you can say that if the tree room is spectacular from the outside it is a bit less spectacular and dark inside. The tree rooms that look a bit less spectacular from the outside are absolutely the most interesting and fascinating from the inside – often letting the the forest and nature being a part of the design. www.treehotel.se
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Luleå – just relax and be calm…

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Luleå - just relax and be calm...

Early in the morning my plane left for Luleå, a town situated in the northern part of the Baltic Sea. It was -17 degrees C but it only felt slightly colder than a normal rainy winter day in Cologne.
You realize that time is something different here. Even if Luleå (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lule%C3%A5) is the Capital of Norrbotten everybody seems to be so relaxed and calm. I adapted very quick to this relaxed and slow way – so much I almost missed my bus.
Luleå is a nice city and the trees close to the railway station look really cool with their red stems.