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Published: February 23rd 2011
Nikki and I had our first date on Monday 21st February 2005 & on that day in London it was snowing, when deciding when and where to get married it seemed a simple decision to me, Monday 21st February 2011 in the snow.....but not in London, at The IceHotel!
I am the organised one of the two of us, so usually I carry everything and look after everything when we travel however seeing as we could only take one item of hand luggage on the plane with us I took my suit and Nikki took her dress, which means camera, passports etc had to be carried in a folder which I had to put in my pocket. When we arrived at Heathrow and checked in we went for breakfast and Nikki started to look through all of the documents, I should have known then that something was about to go wrong. Once breakfast was finished we left the restaurant and sat to wait for our flight, that’s when we heard the announcement calling us to go back to the restaurant, Nikki had decided to put ALL of our documents, including all of the documents we had to take to get
married, behind the menu when our food arrived and then forgot to pick them up again when we left, luckily someone found them and handed them in almost immediately, once we had everything back I joked around with Nikki and said “all we needed was to have our fingerprints and DNA in that folder and someone could have totally stolen our identity!”.
When we landed we were informed it was a relatively mild -20C outside, mild compared to the week before which was -42C, it was a short 20 minute journey to the IceHotel and when we arrived it was a breathtaking sight. Our first night was spent actually in the IceHotel, once you check in you are given a locker to store your clothes, which you need otherwise your clothes will freeze. We were both a little concerned about our clothes for the wedding so spoke with our rep from the company we booked with, she was fantastic, she let us store our stuff in her room until we moved to warm accommodation.
Once we were all checked in we took the rest of our stuff to our locker and when we opened the door we found
a card and a bottle of champagne waiting for us, a nice touch I thought! We then collected our snow suits, boots, balaclava and gloves (you cannot survive without them!) and had an hour or so to explore the IceHotel before our first trip on snowmobile to (hopefully) see the Northern Lights.
Before we booked to go to the IceHotel I had read on several sights that you can’t really experience the beauty of the IceHotel unless you actually visit as no pictures can capture what you can actually see. I thought it was a great sales pitch but it’s not until you are actually standing there looking around the rooms that you actually understand what they mean, you really cannot describe or photograph the amazing sculptures inside and do them the justice they deserve.
I think we were both a little nervous about our snowmobile trip as we both wanted to see the Northern Lights and knew deep down if we didn’t we would be disappointed. It was actually quite warm inside the IceHotel when you are wearing your snow suit but outside on a snowmobile we knew it wasn’t going to be, I had four layers
on the top half of my body, three layers on my bottom half and two pairs of socks and guess what? I was freezing! Nikki drove the snowmobile for the first half of the trip and I kept looking up at the sky in the hope I’d see the Northern Lights, not my best idea. The wind in my eyes caused them to water which in turn caused that water to turn to ice, my left eye actually froze closed at one point as the water from my eye had frozen my eye lashes together. We drove for a very long time and eventually stopped for something to eat in a traditional Sami hut, our dinner consisted of a salmon wrap, moose goulash and warm apple pie all washed down with some hot lingonberry juice, whilst dinner was cooking our guide told us to go outside quick as he could see the Northern Lights. When we got outside I’ve got to admit I was a little disappointed, it just looked like a small bright cloud, I asked the guide if the lights were good or bad to which he replied “bad, some nights they can take over the entire sky”.
Although I had seen the lights I still felt like I hadn’t.
After our trip we warmed up for a while before getting our sleeping bag, getting changed into nothing but our thermals and making a run for our room for the night, it was a little cold running to the room but once I got inside that sleeping bag it was actually hot, so hot in fact I started to sweat and had to get my head out of the sleeping bag. I woke up a few times throughout the night but the first time I woke I was still hot, the next time I woke up I was starting to get cold which probably had something to do with the fact that my sweat had turned to ice on my top. The third time I woke up my face was frozen, I put my head inside the sleeping bag and managed to go back to sleep until the morning, we were woke up with a hot cup of Lingonberry juice at 8:30 and I actually had a very good sleep, Nikki did not sleep well at all, which I probably should have known seeing as she kicked
me in the back about 20 times trying to get comfortable throughout the night.
After we had just about enough time to have breakfast, get changed, warm up and move our bags to our warm accommodation we were ready for our next trip, husky dog sledding. The dogs were going crazy when we arrived, we sat on the sled and luckily Nikki had read about this trip in a guide book, you should never sit at the front of the sled as the dogs regularly ‘go to the toilet’ whilst running and you might get splatted by some if you’re sat at the front. We sat in the middle and we were so glad we did, you could smell every time they had ‘done their business’. I had put an extra layer on my bottom half for this trip and another pair of socks and guess what? I was freezing again! It actually felt colder than on the snowmobile the night before. We stopped off briefly for a coffee and cake but it was so cold it was uncomfortable, although we are glad we have been on a sled pulled by huskies we were both glad to finish the
trip and get in the warm to get some feeling back.
After lunch we got talking to another couple who were going on the snow mobile trip that night, we had nothing planned for that night so decided to gamble and pay for the trip again in the hope that we would actually see the Northern Lights in all their glory, it was a big gamble as the trip cost £350 in total but it was a very worthwhile gamble. After almost no time at all the guide jumped off the snowmobile in the middle of the frozen River Torne, Nikki pointed to our left “look at that” I couldn’t really see anything, then the guide came over and told us to look in the opposite direction (I have no idea what Nikki was looking at! lol). The entire sky was alight with the Northern Lights, I have seen some amazing thing in my life but I have never seen anything like this. From one side of the horizon to the other it looked as though someone had a long light green ribbon slowly gliding through the air, then we saw the lights ‘dance’. In parts it started to
look like a flame flickering in the wind, which was directly behind the trees in the forest almost like the whole forest was on fire. After about 20 pictures my battery died on my camera but I was so happy to have seen what I did AND have pictures of it, one guy carried his camera in a bag and by the time we saw the lights it had got so cold his battery was dead so he was unable to get any pictures, I luckily listened to our reps advice and had my camera on my tripod and stuffed the whole lot down my top, not very comfortable whilst driving a snowmobile but so worth it to keep the camera warm and get the pictures I got.
We were both buzzing from the adrenaline rush of seeing the Northern Lights when we got back to our room but somehow managed to get to sleep even though we knew when we woke up in the morning we would be getting married!
Don’t worry we haven’t forgotten to write about the wedding, Nikki and I have decided to write separate wedding blogs so everyone can read about our special
day from both of us, they will both be posted within the next few days.....hopefully!
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