The Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is a big attraction here in Alta every year. Thousands of people come from around the world to see it and walk through its magical halls. Many of them stay the night in the cold-yet-cozy rooms for a unique arctic adventure; a WAY more intense experience than putting on a jacket to visit some ice bar in a downtown metropolis. There are even a few courageous souls who get married in the ice chapel!
The hotel is constructed each winter from fresh snow and ice (you can read more about the igloo hotel in one of our earlier blog posts). Each Spring, once the winter travelers have come and gone, it slowly fades away again, back to the raw nature that gave birth to it a few months before.
And while there are thousands who see the hotel in all its winter glory, there are only a very few – some employees at Sorrisniva and a handful of locals – who are around to watch the hotel melt down to nothing.
I was out at Sorrisniva on Tuesday night as part of a tourism conference (SNOW16 – two days with 185 of one’s closest business colleagues… intense and fun). In the middle of dinner, I slipped outside on my own and took some pictures of the Igloo Hotel in the fading daylight. I’m no professional photographer, and I was just using my smartphone, but even so the pictures are fascinating. There is such a resemblance to stone ruins you find around the world, even though they are very modern and even quicker to disappear. Enjoy! Continue reading “The Ancient Ruins of Sorrisniva”
Winter isn’t just important for Sorrisniva, one of the activity companies here in Alta. In a way, it’s a necessity.
The history of the company is long. Sorrisniva is a family business originally built around fishing in the Alta River for salmon. The river is regarded as one of the premier fly-fishing spots in the world, and it has been on the “must” list for royalty and the well-to-do for centuries. As the years passed and the family generations changed, the company expanded its focus to include other activities in both summer and winter.
Tucked way up along the northernmost coast of Norway, you’ll find the little town of Kjøllefjord. If you’ve ever been to North Cape, you were within a stone’s throw of the place (assuming you are a good Norwegian troll and can throw a stone a REALLY long way) but you probably never knew that. It’s easy to get focused on a primary goal and miss some gems that we pass along the way. It also doesn’t help that the main road goes right to Honningsvåg, while you need to turn and explore a little more in order to get to Kjøllefjord. For those who love maps, here’s a Google Maps version that covers the Finnmark region with the pushpin stuck on the town: https://goo.gl/dgnKIH
Such an out-of-the-way place… is it really worth a visit? Watch the video below and you decide. For me? The film is so awe-inspiring I almost can’t believe it, and I live just a few hours away. To ride out on a snowmobile, the vast sky overhead painted with the twisting aurora, the frozen world so barren and alien it may as well be a ride on one of Saturn’s moons… I wanted to dive into the screen and be there. Right now.
The video is shared here with permission from the travel company that runs excursions there, Arctic Coast AS (and yes, they have a web site and here it is). If you will be traveling along the coast via Hurtigruten, do contact them and arrange something on your stop there! And of course, if you want to visit them and are planning a land-based adventure from Alta, let us know and we’ll be happy to coordinate a visit with them!
But really, watch the video, full-screen. It will leave you breathless.
Something about “the simple things”… a reminder about being lucky. And now in mid-November here in Alta, the fast-dwindling light is beginning to turn blue again – that’s not a trick of the camera!
Alta’s city center is just around the corner to the right – another five minutes’ walk ahead would put you right in the “bustling metropolis.” Even with 20,000 people in town, you’re never more than a few minutes from quiet roads that beckon toward the wilderness beyond.