Saturday, October 1, 2016

Everything is made of ice in these Norwegian bars

Dressed for cold in the
Arctic Ice Bar

One of the delights we discovered in Norway was visiting an ice bar. We had so much fun that we went two times, once in Honningsvag and again on the Lofoten Islands. These extreme northern destinations (above the Arctic Circle) were the perfect setting for our chilling experiences.
Everything in an ice bar is made of ice—yes, everything. Walls, tables, chairs, even drinking glasses are all crystal-clear frozen water.  It’s amazing to think that 123 metric tons of ice from local lakes was used to create this unusually beautiful scene.

Fire and ice
Our first venture into the world of ice was in Honningsvag. This city is called Gateway to the North Cape, Europe’s northernmost tip, which we went to visit. Unfortunately the North Cape, or Nordkapp, was fogged in during our visit, and we couldn’t see the splendidly rugged cliffs that it is known for.
Inside the igloo
Back in town, we spied the Arctic Ice Bar. For about $16 each we were welcomed into a dimly lit room filled with sparkling ice formations. Upon entering, we were each given a thick, hooded silver, insulated cape that covered most of the body. Gloves are on your own, and thankfully, I had a pair with me.
 We walked gingerly at first, wary of slipping on the ice. But soon we got used to the surroundings enough and headed to the bar for the first of our two included non-alcoholic drinks.

Ice sculptures at Magic Ice
Bar and Gallery
Inside there were several bar areas where people could sit down on ice benches (some covered in fur for warmth) and lounge beside tables made of ice. A pseudo fireplace (made of ice) glowed with a reddish light. I scrambled into an igloo and reclined on a fur-covered sleigh for photo opportunities. All this surrounded a horseshoe-shaped bar with a perky young lady serving drinks (30-minute shifts, she said).

At the Magic Ice Bar and Gallery, we were treated to a modern look at the history of Lofoten fishing villages via dozens of ice sculptures depicting symbols relevant to life in Norway. Again, guests were dressed i a warm capes, and everything in the ice bar was made of ice including bar, drinking glasses, tables, and sculptures.
Ice sculpture of Vikings
Aptly called a gallery, the bar featured colored lights illuminating figures of birds, Vikings, ships, fishermen, and more. This place was a marvelous maze of ice halls and displays dramatically presenting the story of traditional fishing life. Enhanced with constantly changing lights, sounds, and music, the striking ice creations were a joy to behold. 
Having a drink in the ice bar

Then there was the berry wine—in an ice glass, of course--topping off the fun experience of noshing in a Norwegian ice bar. A novelty, for sure, but definitely good times.
Photos by Larry Burmeier and Beverly Burmeier

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