I was on a road trip through Lapland (Finland) with 9 fellow students. Driving into Oulu we immediately noticed a foul smell entering the car. It must have been one of the many factories, or the combination of them. One of our crew really wanted to find the university for a cheap meal. However, we were already 3 hours behind schedule and when I said I’d rather find something quickly and see the snow castle, I found out I wasn’t the only one. Basically, there was one guy in the team with very strong opinions and one of many discussions started. A discussion about where to have lunch.
We parked in town, walked around some statues and an indoor market and then found a pizza place. Lunch time! When we asked the waitress where the snow castle was, she said Oulu didn’t have one. We had to drive to Kemi. I chuckled because that one person with the strong opinion had assured us there was a castle in Oulu as well. We had to skip the museum in Oulu to make it to the castle before closing time.
The castle was close to a beautiful lake and was built with bricks of ice. We saw the sun setting over the lake and it gave the surrounding snow and ice a colorful glow. The snow castle wasn’t as impressive from the outside as it was from the inside. Inside was an ice stage with music. You could pretend you were in the Eurovision song contest. There was a part with ice sculptures, so you could sit in Santa’s mouth and take a photo.
The castle also housed a hotel and restaurant. Everything was built with snow and ice. On the benches they’d put animal skins so you wouldn’t be so cold. The rooms were decorated with little sculptures. Inside the hotel rooms you only had a bed. A bed with lots of animal skins. I can’t imagine staying here for the night though. It’s only minus 6 degrees Celsius! There was a lamp that changed colors and the lighting in the castle gave it its atmosphere. This was also necessary since the rooms didn’t have any windows, so they felt quite small.
If you do like the cold and want a special wedding, you could get married in the ice chapel. It was like walking in some sort of frozen Alice in Wonderland. The doors were tiny and there were massive blocks of ice around you. I wonder what the bride would wear on such an occasian… Once we were back outside there was one more thing to do, the ice slide. In big tires you could launch yourself off the slides. It was the perfect ending of our visit to the castle.