Day 8 The Escape from the Ice hotel and Homeward Bound

Luke warm berry juice to wake us up. Breakfast is at 9. 9!, that’s lunch time, I have issues with waiting for breakfast; usually I pass out. We have brought ginger nuts with us to sustain me while we are waiting. It seems keeping ginger nuts at minus 5 over night makes them more gingery. Fortunately breakfast is available early so I am fine. Then comes the task of persuading the minibus driver, with no English, to take an additional passenger home. First he denies that he IS the minibus driver then no, he had brought two ladies and he wants to take two ladies home. Surely I can’t be the first person to woose out? Even our guide of the previous evening is off sick because of the cold, though the assistant guide, who looks about 14, doesn’t even seem to be wearing a padded coat. The receptionist comes to my rescue and persuades the driver, if his existing passengers have no objection, to take me as well. Result! I collect our diplomas for having survived the night and hurry to the minibus before anyone can change their mind.

145 26 January 2013 Me outside the snow hotel

Back to Levitunturi, where I promise not to complain about the excessive heat in the room again. I make use of our drying cupboard to wash out the clothes in which I have just spent the night. The drying cupboard is what it says on the tin and not really designed for a weekly wash, so I end up with large puddles on the floor. I am very relieved to see Chris arrive back from his return ski-doo trip. The rest of the day is spent in hot showering, warm drinks and catching up on sleep.

We make the most of our last evening meal in the hotel. Chris has a variety of fish and I have pasta. Then we try the beef in red wine and creamed potatoes. This is followed by quark and more chocolate and almond cake. The diet starts next week.

Sunday norning and there has been some real falling snow and for once we do not see a beautiful sunrise. We take a last walk round Levi. We spot a squirrel, a cross between our greys and reds.

We return to the hotel to wait for our transfer coach. I play cards and we chat. Some folk have recognised Chris from one of his television appearances. Being less memorable, I escape incognito.

Six of us debate whether we can have an evening meal. It is rather a grey area as we checked out at lunch time but we are entitled to seven evening meals and we have only had six, leaving a space on our ‘service card’. We decide to send Chris in as a test case. He doesn’t return so he is either eating or has been interned. Feeling a bit like we are about to nick sweets from Woolworths (not that I’ve ever done that) we advance. There appears to be no problem, although we do eat quickly before someone decides we shouldn’t be there. This does mean we can escape the very expensive airline food.

Kittila airport is not famed for its facilities but we take off slightly early. After an uneventful flight we arrive at Gatwick and are through customs before we realise it. One of the few advantages of inter EU travel. A taxi seems preferable to waiting 50 minutes for a shuttle bus, although it does seem extortionate. Finally, we arrive at Gatwick Manor at 11pm, or 1am Lapland time. The receptionist, remembers us from last week and greets us like long lost friends. This is what you get for having a ‘memorable’ travelling companion.

Monday dawns and after the ‘all you can eat’ (well it would be rude not to) breakfast the interminable coach journey starts. Shuttle bus first. This basically means we sit on a bus for 15 minutes and then are back where we started but eventually we arrive at the coach station. Another circuitous journey to Heathrow to transfer to the 502 for Bideford. The coach driver has obviously been to Finland as the coach is ridiculously hot. We sit, this isn’t as easy as it sounds as I still have post horse/ski-doo related injuries. We doze. We endure. It has all been worth it though. More adventures from my historically related home life when I have recovered.

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