It is all about water it seems. Norway has a total of more than 80,000km of coast and 2.5 million Norwegians gaped at the ‘Hurtigruten’ TV programme, broadcasting 135 hours of non-stop coastline.
Nevertheless, that is not enough. The third Icebar by Icehotel celebrates its third year after opening in Oslo in 2009, bringing ice from Sweden. Transporting 60 tons of ice to Oslo seems like a crazy idea.
This is ice which calved in northern Norway, flowed down the Torne River in Lapland 200km north of the Arctic Circle, and is now crafted by specialized and skilled ice artists in the capital.
The world’s first Icebar appeared in Jukkasjärvi’s Icehotel, Sweden, some 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.
2013’s theme is Nautilus with drinks like “Smackwater Jack” and “Captain Maury’s Confession”.
They mould he ice into cubes, waves, arcs, spirals, and as small plates, all complete with tapas such as a slice of sauna-smoked reindeer.
In this refrigerator, the bar could give associations to films where the hero is locked in a slaughterhouse with stripped legs of lambs and pigs hanging from hooks close together. This if it was not for the friendly atmosphere, the artwork, and the walls of filled with nature's decor.
Tove AnderssonThe bar is made from solid ice. 500 square metres makes this the largest icebar in the world, even though only 1/5 is ice, as the first rooms are for relaxation before entering the bar.
The initial room is a warm relaxation area with screens where visitors enjoy watching the amazing nature where the ice grows and is processed from a block of ice to a cubic glass.
Guests enter the cold area in groups of 60 and stay 45 minutes, as overstaying would affect the art. New art will replace the old when it starts melting, nonetheless.
The shelf, cute plates, freezing benches, and cubic ice glasses are also carved from the cold material.
One million ice cubes a year are made for the bars. Once cut by hand, machines spit them out today.
Using ice for what may seem to tourists visiting Oslo as non-traditional purposes started with the Japanese, of course. The idea was born in Okinawa.
Hard rockers then came to Copenhagen with the ‘Hellacopters’ band, complete with a drum solo on a drum set of ice. At one time, this had almost a million clicks on YouTube.
Soon, tourists were seen in blue Eskimo-robes with hoods and gloves hanging from their sleeves holding drinks - in green, red, yellow and blue.
Water is developed like fine wine on its way from northern Norway, reaching Sweden, where the sunrays do not affect
Ice plates with sushi
Tove Anderssonthe water during the dark months.
It slows down and looks like honey, leaving it pure, clear. The slow process, letting the ice freeze downwards, makes this ice perfect and bubble-free.
The field is then divided into a grid as soon as the ice freezes, and harvested in March. Each block weighing two tonnes makes the tractor drivers transporting them cautious.
Guests are anxious to watch the artists work, moulding huge, cold blocks into soft, yet cold art. The water then returns to Norway – as ice, now returning by road.
Oslo’s ice chairs cool the posterior and patterns in the walls are created from nature’s violent pressure.
This is a job for ice lovers who thrive in the cold, enjoy the hard material and the cool lights.
Thon Hotels, the hotel chain that owns the 90-year-old Hotel Bristol across the street manages the Icebar.
Icebars in Scandinavia
Oslo: Kristian IVs gt. 10 http://www.icebaroslo.no/
Stockholm: Vasaplan 2-4, this is a vodka bar in Nordic Sea Hotel
Jukkasjärvi: the original icehotel and bar. www.icehotel.com
Copenhagen: Løngangstræde 27, near by Copenhagen Hotel
People in one of the icehotel's rooms
Tove AnderssonIcehotels in Norway, Sweden and Finland
Hunderfossen Vinterpark, Norway: Hotel, icebar, wedding chapel in ice
Igloo Hotel in Alta, Norway: The hotel will be built for the 14th time in January 2013. Snowmobile, riverboat, lavvo.
Kirkenes Snøhotell, Norway: Hotel and arctic food http://www.kirkenessnowhotel.com/
Bjorligard snowhotel, Norway: http://www.classicnorway.no/bjorligard-hotell (in Norwegian only)
Jukkasjärvi Icehotel, Sweden: The original icehotel. Book a weekend in good time before your visit. The hotel uses renewable electricity from water, wind and biofuels. http://www.icehotel.com/
Laino Snowhotel, Finland: http://www.snowcastle.net/en/