We wake up at 8am. It’s still night time. We try Norwegian brown cheese. We dislike. Off we pop back to Tromsø airport (which will soon come to feel like a second home). We get on another plane (SAS Airline). It’s still night time. But as the plane-bus gathers speed down the runway, the sun follows suit and, with a surge of momentum, pops his cheeky face out. It’s around 11am at this point. He starts setting before we arrive in Alta and yet the journey has only taken an hour. (Definitely leave those sunnies at home).
We arrive at our new residence; namely Best Western Nordlys Hotell in Alta… which is around a 30 minute walk / 10 minute taxi from the centre (“sentrum”). However, we didn’t have much interest in exploring Alta, which is pretty much a concrete ice jungle… lots of factories… and modern yet aesthetically-challenged buildings… and not much else. But we didn’t care. We flew 250 miles for one thing and one thing only.
The Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. A hotel made entirely out of… yes you guessed it… ICE! Nice, ice, baby. This year’s theme is Viking Kings and everything – REPEAT – everything is made of ice and compressed snow. Needless to say; wear warm clothes or bring a duvet with you because it is -7 ° INSIDE. Yes. Multiple BRRRRs. Ok so it’s £15 for entry alone. And a drink is £10. But it’s not really a drink. It’s a shot. A shot of some kind of berry infused vodka. But it’s cultural(ish) and it’s served in a glass…. yep… OF ICE! In a bar made entirely out of… (yes ok, I’m drilling the point now, I shall stop).
Thirty minutes in, my fingers had gone numb but the berry-vodka was doing its funky thing and sweet-alcoholic-warmth began to spread through my insides. However, it was at this point that I seriously starting doubting how people could actually sleep there without waking up dead (I know you can’t wake up if you’re dead but you know what I mean). Apparently you get a very warm sleeping bag. As if that’s comforting! If you go for it, be prepared to pay through the teeth and to lose various (and perhaps very important) limbs & things to frostbite. God (and lots of berry-vodka) be with you.
Oh and DO NOT TOUCH THE ICE SCULPTURES. We didn’t know about this. But if you break it, they’ll break you (& your bank account).
Because we arranged for a taxi to take us there, wait an hour, and drop us back for a set price of £80 (it’s a 20/30 minute journey from Alta, and if you stay at the Best Western, they’ll arrange it for you), we could thankfully leave without losing face (literally and metaphorically).
We returned, limbs intact (despite the fact that, this time, Vicki fell down a hole), and celebrated our visit to the ice hotel by having a well deserved nap (yes, we’re old). By dinner time, we were ready to venture out into Alta Sentrum and – because we forgot to eat lunch – we treated ourselves to the BEST STEAK EVER in the history of steak. Check it:
(I didn’t turn the flash on for fear of being caught taking a picture of a steak). It was – in a word – DIVINE. So yes, I do recommend Du Verden Matbar. We even had dessert (well, we shared one). And not one, but two glasses of wine EACH…ooooh. The budget was torn up. To shreds.
Day two. Success. Hurrah.