Today I would like to share with you my own experience of visiting the most Northern Swedish province – Norrland. During a couple of days we have had a unique opportunity to explore Swedish North, and slightly mix together some entertainment activities and learning the innovative and sustainable way of the development. At early morning February, 14 – I took a plane and unforgettable journey had started.
The event has been a part of activities of the SI Network for Future Global leaders, for Swedish Institute schoolarship holders that I’m a part of. And we were a relatively big group of talented people from all over the world going to get to know Swedish North in its beauty and innovative achievement.
During the period of preparations for the trip, my friends were joking – that flying away on St Valentine’s Day was the nice way to escape from the celebrations. But as we found out soon, it was the very naïve idea. Swedish Lappland, and especially Kiruna and Ice Hotel were the very center of a romantic mood in Sweden. After landing and entering the airport each person received a lovely rose from Swedavia, and even the most skeptical ones could hardly resist of smiling in response.
Firstly, I would like to express my respect for the organizers of the trip. Logistics was organized of an extraordinary high level. Just after the landing our way lead to the small village near Kiruna called Jukkasjärvi. Even with my very limited knowledge of Finnish l knew that järvi means “a lake”. And interestingly water sources now play a significant role in the well-being of the area. The water from the river is used for constructing the Ice Hotel, and the whole ice-production. However, even on the Polar circle it is possible to see the global climate changes. The very first question I receive with regards to Kiruna – is whether it was cold there? And I have to honestly answer that it was very mild weather, temperature was just around -10 C. But as natives told to us – usually in February the temperature could be around 40 degrees below zero.
The Ice Hotel makes a great impression. It’s both because of the uniqueness and the simplicity of the whole concept. In my opinion it’s a core of innovations. There is cold and plenty of ice on the North and how to deal with it – to use it and to make it one of the world greatest winter attractions. And nowadays the Ice Hotel is a trade mark and all rights protected by an international law. The Ice Hotel functioning each year from December till the middle of March. And at the same time the ice for the next year to be collected. It means that this year’s hotel made of last year’s ice. And so on.
One of the greatest experience in my life was traveling by a dog’s sled, and riding a reindeer. As a constant member of various environmental organizations I was worrying about the dogs. And till the very last minute I hesitated if I will do it. But then I’ve realize that on each dog sled it was around 12 dogs, and it wasn’t too much pressure on them to run. As well as they were so playful and happy – running for them was rather fun than work. And “a driver” (if you can call him so) has managed dogs only by verbal commands, and no physical influence at all. Interesting that for directing dogs Eskimo language was used.
I think it’s too much reading for one blog post – and I’ll continue in a few days – and will tell you about Sami natives and visit to the mine.