Sunday, February 04, 2007

Kiruna 67°50' N

Our early afternoon flight to Kiruna precluded us doing any more this morning than packing and having breakfast, and getting our taxi out to the airport.

The journey north is only about 90 minutes, and with the plane only being at 20% of capacity, we were able to shuttle backwards and forwards across the plane, taking pictures of the frozen lakeland below before we passed through a rapid twilight and darkness.

We waited at the airport for our transfer as the "person with the name card" was not there to meet us. After half an hour, and even fewer of the few remaining, I called the Ice Hotel. I got a grunted acquiescence that someone should be sent to pick us up and then they hung up. A further half hour later and no sign of anything but a decline in our intelligence as we played in the ice and snow outside the airport lobby. The only other person remaining by this time - a local, who declared on hearing that I was from Sydney: "You're LOST man!" - was also waiting on a taxi booked 3 hours earlier. When a taxi did arrive, I thought it had been sent for us, but it turned out that he had graciously yielded it to we far-flung travellers.

The Ice Hotel is at Jukkasjärvi, about 7km down the road. We checked in and got apologies from the hotel staff, before being directed to our "warm" accommodation for the night.

Read Mick Jackson's Ten Sorry Tales very quickly in the Arlanda airport lounge.

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