December 14, 2009

Fantasy In Ice.

I am a sun worshiper and a sun lover. During the course of the year, as soon as the sun rays are warming up my surroundings, you can count on finding me outside, absorbing their vital energy. In this respect, I live in the wrong climate for sure.

Do not misunderstand me though, I love the changes that each season brings. But I would like to have real seasons, not an eternal autumn, as it at times can feel in southern Scandinavia. Our weather pattern offers very little heat and sun in the summer and rarely any snow to speak off in the winter. I do love snow though, particularly around Christmas. I was born under the foot of the Tatra mountains and I learned to ski at a very early age. There is nothing more magnificent than a clear winter day, when the landscape is covered by a heavy snow blanket, drenched in the golden shine of the sun.

In contrast to southern Scandinavia, northern Scandinavia however has a completely different climate. There indeed is snow in winter. Lots and lots of it, tons! So much indeed that it can be used each year to built an entire hotel. Well, after it has been sprayed with water and turned into ice. This is the very famous Ice Hotel, which is rebuilt each year in the north of Sweden.

This incredible engineering in ice celebrates its 20th anniversary and is an astounding project from start to finish. Each year a new, different hotel is built, and each year it is unlike any other. The building starts in mid November when skillful artist, builders, engineers and designers from all over the world gather in s small town near the arctic circle and lay down the foundation for the building blocks, that are later transported onto the site of the hotel.

The building proceeds in several phases and is in a way an ongoing process. As soon as one section is completed, it opens to visitors and overnight guests, while the other sections are still under construction. The hotel expands and grows until December 30th when it is finished, signifying the onset of it's main season.

Everything within its wall is made of ice. Anything from hallways and furniture to glasses in the bar. There are even fireplaces inside - do not ask me how this works. Nor can I clearly comprehend how it feels to live in a building made entirely of ice.
Once completed, the Ice Hotel stands so in its sparkling crystal clean glory, an amazing sight to behold and to experience, satisfying all our senses. For months it will house guests from all over the world, offering luxury and opulence of the unusual kind.

And then one day, the dry winds from the southeast bring warm air from the continent and the building blocks start to melt away. As the returning spring sun gains in strength, the hotel disappears inch by inch until finally only the original building blocks are left standing. Gone are the stunning artworks, the vaulted hallways, the castle like rooms. They have returned to their place of origin, completing this amazing recycling of the fairytale in ice.

31 comments:

Kath said...

I would just love to see the Ice Hotel, "The lion, the witch and the wardrobe" is one of my favourite books, I adore the idea of a snowy world and an ice palace!

Denise said...

love it. I like the colors too. Must be cold! grrrr..

Jill said...

I saw a special on television about this Zuzana! I am absolutely FASCINATED by it! I would love to SEE it with my own eyes!

Julie Hibbard said...

I read about this hotel! It's absolutely stunning...and ingenious!

Imagine now, that you live in an area of the world where it is 72 degrees every single day. You wear shorts in the summer and shorts on Christmas day. There are two or three trees in each city that drop their leaves...the rest are ever-green. There are people sunning themselves on the beach 365 days a year.
That is where I live. And, I love it for sure...
but there is just a tinge of envy when I hear of fall colors and freshly fallen snow...perhaps there is a little something to the seasons that makes more sense to our body and soul.
Thank you--as always!--for sharing your thoughts and finds and heart!!

Brian Miller said...

i have marveled at the ice hotel for years...some day i would love to visit. the seasons bring different adventures for us...when we lived in florida we missed them...but i do enjoy the sun at my back...

Keith said...

I'm always intrigued by things like this. It very seldom even snows where I'm at. I guess I'm fascinated by places where there is so much snow and ice. Hope your week has started off well. Cheers!

Sumandebray said...

Its indeed a very interesting concept. Not always you get to learn from the mistakes that you made this year and correct it the next year around.
Living in this provides a healing effect I gather... a cold treatment room

Michael Manning said...

Your story, Zuzana is infused with such imagination and splendor for one of the most beautiful seasons of the year and I appreciated reading it! lol! :)

Nessa said...

I've seen these on TV and they are amazing. I like the cold but this may be going a bit far.


Nicholas

Claus said...

Once upon a time, Guatemala was called the "land of eternal Spring", as it was sunlight and rain what we had, on the mark, year-round. Today, it looks more as if we are turning into a "land of eternal summer"!, so you are more than welcomed to come and take in as much sun as you want :-)
I have seen this ice hotel on TV. So unusual!, and rather interesting. And though curious, I don't think I would like to stay there. I suppose I like a little warm, and looks like there isn't any there! Still, it must be a unique experience.

sprinkles said...

I've heard of this hotel before and it's supposed to be quite warm but I just can't imagine how it possibly could be. It's gorgeous and I'd love to visit one day but I don't think I'd want to stay overnight. I HATE being cold and I'm afraid I'd be cold from the moment I got there until the moment I left!

Shelly's Style Shop said...

What a wonderful story. I would love to see the ice hotel. How interesing is that? Wow!

I love snow and my kids love snow. We don't get to see much of it either. I think we got one snow day last year and it only laste 1/2 a day. :(

Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful day.

xoxo, Shelly

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

wow! i want to see that in person!

Helen McGinn said...

I've long wanted to visit there. Maybe one day.

Gal Friday said...

This all puts me in mind of the "Snow Queen". :-)
I like how the Scandinavians and other cultures where there is a long, cold winter, make the most of their ice and snow.

Cottage Garden said...

Thank you Zuzana for your kind birthday wishes!
I have seen this hotel on the TV and have always wanted to go there - it's so unique. I wonder how comfortable it really is though? Great story!

Jeanne x

Calli said...

Amazing and stunning! ...must be so sad for those to see it melt away when the time comes. I can't even imagine it. I must zoom in to photos...

I am also a sunworshiper, Zuzana...even in winter, I will stand outside just trying to soak up every bit of warmth. :)

Calli xo

Doreen said...

I have heard about this Ice House before. who ever thought people would come and stay in an ice hotel? totally fascinating. have you ever visited it?

I am a sun worshiper also. since my bout with cancer though I take it easy in the sun.

have a wonderful week!!

Donna said...

Wow, the ice hotel looks magical! Brrrr, it must be cold though.

Hugs,
Donna

steviewren said...

Amazing! I can't imagine what it would be like to spend the night there. I don't think a bed of ice would be very comfortable. I wonder if they put mattresses on a ice foundation to make the bed...so many questions.

Betsy said...

I saw this on tv! I will admit that even though I love winter and snow, just watching the documentary made me shiver! ha!

Scribe816 said...

Now that’s my kind of living. I “LOVE” the cold, but every woman I’ve ever dated has hated cold weather. I learned of the ice hotel years ago and it’s on my bucket list along with the Aurora Borealis.

Gal Friday said...

I *think* the ice itself is insulating, for those commenters who have wondered if it is cold to stay in an Ice Hotel. Not that I have ever done such a thing, but an aquaintance of mine stayed in one in Montreal a few winters ago and she said it was quite cozy with heaps of furry(real?)blankets.

Kamana said...

amazing!

Hilary said...

Oh yes, I've seen these on TV.. quite a few years back. It's beautiful and imaginative and quite amazing.

Rajesh said...

I am amazed the craftsmanship of this people. I would love to see this hotel.

Roger Gauthier said...

Hello Zuzana,

Strange... we have the same thing here in Québec City, though styles are different. The principles are the sae of course. And in Québec city temps get so low that there is no fear of seeing the Ice Hotel melting down!

Roger G. :-)))

Protege said...

Kath, Denise, Jill, Julie, Brian, Keith, Sumandebray, Michael, Nessa, Claudia, sprinkles, Shelly, Chelsea (welcome!), Helen, Tina, Jeanne, Calli, Doreen, Donna, stevie, Betsy, Scribe816, Kamana, Hilary, Rajesh and Roger – glad you all enjoyed the story of this unusual place. I can see many of you have questions, if you follow the link in the post to The Ice Hotel, you can learn more. Thank you Tina by the way for clarifying the fact that ice insulates, I think you are completely right.

As always, all your comments are greatly appreciated and I only wish there were more hours in the day so I could respond to each and everyone one of you individually. Sigh…

xoxo
Zuzana

Rosezilla said...

This seems completely magical to me. People have such wonderful imaginations that they turn in to reality... amazing.

jeannette stgermain said...

Stunning -I'll visit the web site - it would be awesome to see it with your own eyes! Thanks for sharing!

Protege said...

Rosezilla and jeannette, I am way behind in my replies, but I am glad you both enjoyed the magic of The Ice Hotel.;)
Your visits and kind words are very much appreciated.
xo