16 Mar Travel Photography adventure at the Swedish Lapland
Travel Photography Adventure
Travels are my inspiration and travel photography adventure is where I let myself just depict what I live and the photos to become my memories.
Although flying by plane is not an easy task for me, I travel abroad at least three times per year for work and pleasure. This time was a combination of both, as the distant Lapland was calling and a workshop was a cause. Just 145 klm from the Arctic Circle, the town of Kiruna has mostly one colour: the colour of snow. White during the day, blue in the evening and painted orange at sunrise (if you are lucky enough to see some sunshine), snow is the main thing to see, experience and live with at the land of the Sámi people.Three planes and 9 hours was all it took to arrive from Athens to the airport of Kiruna.
Let’s see together how this travel photography adventure felt like… The amount of snow was overwhelming for a Mediterranean girl like me. Nothing could ever prepare me for this. Not even the thousands of photos I’ve looked before I went, for so many years before as this destination was in my bucket list. I could feel the cold air filling my lungs as the first reaction was to laugh…
My travel photography adventure was just starting!
Kiruna is popular for its winter tourism as the main hotel there is famous all over the world. ICEHOTEL in Sweden is the original ice hotel made entirely out of ice and snow. Built from clear ice cut out from Torne River. Ice so pristine that looks like a pure diamond. Every November and December for the last 30 years, the hotel’s cold parts are rebuilt at the empty riverbanks of Torne and filled with art made by ice and snow. If you think you are brave enough, you are welcome to spend the night I one of its art suits in temperatures that reach -8 degrees Celcius. All art suits have unique sculptures made of ice and snow that are destined to melt in spring, like the rest of ICEHOTEL’s cold parts.
My first activity had to do with art. In the cold lounge of ICEHOTEL everyone in the team could try their sculpting abilities with a block of the crystal–clear ice harvested from Torne River. I was introduced to how to use basic tools – like scalpels – and the basic techniques. The cold lounge was full of work of arts made by ice that was there to impress and inspire us. It was really astonishing to see all these remarkable pieces of art and know that in a few months they would end in water. Spring reveals another city of Kiruna full of colours and nature underneath this thick layer of snow.
I’ve managed for the rest one hour and a half to carve a debossed heart in the block and fill it with ice. I guess I’ll stick to my day job!
I was really excited to learn that the world-famous, mobile sauna ‘Solar Egg‘ created by Bigert & Bergström for Riksbyggen is currently visiting Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi! The first thing to do was book a slot. The Solar Egg is made from gold plated stainless steel plate, powered by solar panels. The artists created it to bring thoughts of rebirth, as Kiruna will soon go through an extreme change as the entire city will be relocated due to the iron mine that exists exactly below the center of the existing city.
It was an amazing experience being able to see and touch such a work of art that only 5000 people have enjoyed it in the whole world. It has traveled to Paris, Copenhagen and Minessota and currently was in Kiruna and waited to welcome us at the temperature of 85 degrees Celcius! What a treat!
As a fanatic dog lover, I could not but go for the dog sledding adventure. I must confess that it was one of the most precious and close to my heart expeditions I have ever experienced. To be seated on a wooden, traditional sled and feel the power of eight dogs’ incredible craving to run and pull as you travel through the stunning scenery of northern Lapland. We’ve covered a distance of almost 30km through the woods, on the lake of Jukkasjärvi and its banks. The pack of these eight magnificent Alaskan Huskies was pulling the sled with such grace and eagerness. Running through the narrow paths in the woods and on the fluffy white lake surface like hearing only the sled being pulled and the breaths of happy dogs running on snow. Rik, our sled driver was an expert on dogs and dogsledding. Although he is originally from the Netherlands he loves spending the winter seasons in the kennel in the Swedish Lapland, living by the dogs and nature.
When the dogs stopped in the middle of the woods the silence left you in awe. The snow covering every little inch of earth, acting as insulation for every sound that could interrupt that divine sense of nature around you.
We’ve entered a wooden hut with a fire burning in the middle. Hot coffee and tea were expecting us in big iron cast teapots and sandwiches heated on the fire, made from traditional Sámi sweet bread. The simplest taste was one of the most scrumptious things I’ve ever tried.
The most precious moment was when Sapphira, one of the pack female leaders came along in the hut looking for some cuddles and attention. I could not ask for a more perfect moment. Staying for a while there, where the Earth is almost still, looking at this amazing sky that offers you stars bigger than you have ever seen before and hearing nothing but the fire crackling, was an instant that will be forever imprinted on my mind and heart.
Travels like this might drive you outside of your comfort zone but will offer you an experience that can be life-changing.
I gengäld Kiruna… till next time!