Kemi, Finland

March 29, 2003
Weather: high of about 30ºF and sunny

We don't really plan on stopping in Kemi, but the weekend bus schedules conspire to allow us the chance to relax in the town known for its "ice breaker" Sampo tours and snow castle hotel.

The weather in Kemi is more like we were expecting. Through the storm you can almost see the Hesburger restaurant where we are stunned by the incomprehensible menu items. It is like McDonald's but the name of every sandwich has over twenty letters.
We break down and go to the Snow Castle Hotel. I figure it might be nice to see what the local art students build each winter. At first it looks like a horrible disappointment and the goofy snowball characters will be the biggest highlight, but that is before we see some of the rooms.
The hotel rooms, which cost $100 per person, are open for viewing during the day. You get the feeling that nobody really stays there. This room has the lights embedded in the ice wall. The beds are blocks of ice with sheepskins on them. You are given high-tech sleeping bags to sleep in if you rent a room. It's still bone-chillingly cold no matter how much they charge.
The lobby has this mammoth ice sculpture. The rooms are igloos arranged around the lobby on two levels. I'm still wondering how they built an igloo on an igloo. I'm pretty sure that scaffolding was involved.
I laughed at each room having a fire alarm wedged into the ice ceiling, but I had to take a picture of the fire alarm button and fire extinguisher.
Then we saw the murals carved into the ice wall of the restaurant. I was transported by all the fine details.
Can you see the face of the man with a beard in the middle of the picture?
Here is another wall in the tavern, this one decorated with a brilliant sun.

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