The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION EUROPE -

Husky Ex­pe­di­tion-Fin­n­mark pack­ages of three or four days cover flights from Heathrow to Alta via Oslo, trans­fers and driv­ing a husky team, B&B at Sten­gelsegar­de­nis Lodge and one night at the wilder­ness cabin. Three-course even­ing meals, out­door lunches and warm cloth­ing are also in­cluded. Next de­par­tures are Jan­uary 22 and 27 and April 17. More: sim­plyswe­ Sor­ris­niva Igloo Ho­tel of­fers ac­com­mo­da­tion from 2300 krone ($372) a per­son, in­clud­ing break­fast and trans­fers from Alta. More: sor­ris­ • vis­it­nor­ •

and late Jan­uary and ar­riv­ing at 2pm in twi­light, the air­port ter­mi­nal greets me with the tem­per­a­ture “-19C” writ large on a dig­i­tal screen. By the time we reach our ho­tel it is -24C and up on the Fin­n­mark plateau it is a con­stant -32C day and night. We are is­sued snow boots and snow suits so padded and cum­ber­some that I man­age to pee into the hood of mine in er­ror dur­ing a com­fort break. But still my toes freeze and we three guests get blis­ters on our hands from the cold.

Yet all the hard­ship is made up for in the blank beauty of this Nar­nia-like won­der­land. Sun­less day­light the colour of rose quartz il­lu­mi­nates a land­scape where dwarf birch laden with snow looks some­times like in­tri­cate sculp­tures, some­times like head­less mon­sters frozen in time on a strange planet.

No won­der Nor­we­gian folk­lore is alive and well in the tales re­counted by mush­ers around their camp­fires in the wilder­ness.

Laura Ivill was a guest of Sim­ply Swe­den and Trasti & Trine.


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