Monday, 22 July 2013

Sweden in the Summer...

My first trip to Sweden really opened up my eyes to the beauty of Lapland. Coming at the end of the Summer on the cusp of the lovely Autumnal ‘Ruska’, meant that the weather was still warm and the hazy days seemingly went on forever (they had just had their Midnight Sun period).

Camp Ripan

Camp Ripan was the first destination for our trip and the first place I tried reindeer. Jo informed me that I had been very spoilt as it was some of the best reindeer she had ever tried, so my first taste may well have been my best ever! Delicious it was though, served with mushrooms and berries which are plentiful here. Camp Ripan was a lovely a lovely place to stay and with its homely chalets, it is the ideal base for families.


I found Lappeasuando to be lovely, welcoming and hospitable. Jo and I were treated to the biggest bowls of pasta we have ever seen, before Barbara (the owner) showed us all around her wonderful little lodge. With only eight rooms, the accommodation offers a real personal touch and the rooms were cosy and inviting.

Barbara took us by boat (in winter this would of course be by snowmobile across the frozen water!) to visit the wilderness camp which was pretty impressive (Ray Mears does wilderness training here) and would offer a wonderful vantage point from which to view the Northern Lights.


At first glance Abisko was a fairly inconspicuous wooden building and in the blazing sunshine it was hard to imagine what it would be like covered in snow.  However, upon stepping inside I could see why it was one of our most popular winter destinations as it seemed to exude a warm and welcoming atmosphere from the start.

Dick and Mina are wonderful hosts with a great sense of humour and after showing us around we sat down to a delicious dinner. It was here I tried smoked reindeer which was mouth-wateringly good and soon became a firm favourite on my Scandinavian travels. We were joined also by Klas, one of the hugely knowledgeable guides here, and Chad who runs the photography excursions and taught us all about the best way to photograph the Northern Lights. There is sadly too much daylight at this time of year to attempt to see them, but come the winter Chad’s excursions are very popular and nearly always successful.

Ice Hotel

At this time of year, the ICEHOTEL® is of course not built but we were shown into the warehouse where they had constructed some of the suites for those visitors who wanted to see them. I was amazed at the sheer scale of the construction here with enormous blocks of Ice stacked high in the warehouse, all ready to be carved into beautiful sculptures when the time was ready. The suites they had set up were beautiful with carved swans and bears, it was amazing what they could do with Ice. My favourite was the huge sand-timer they had constructed in the middle of one block. It was difficult to imagine a huge hotel made of snow and ice built on the shores of the river, but after seeing the creations so far, I imagine it will truly be a sight to see.   


We spent a few days at Tarendo, getting to know the new owners Margareta and Ingemar who were incredibly welcoming and enthusiastic about their work here. As a family run hotel, it exudes a welcoming and homely touch and its location on the banks of the river offers wonderful views across the surrounding wilderness landscape. They maintain ties to the nearby village and local Sámi population ensuring this a genuine experience that allows you to really get to know the local people of Lapland.

Dawn Rawlings

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