Our trip was wonderful thank you. Brandon Lodge was just what I hoped it would be, nice and relaxed with really good food and accommodation. The activities that we’d booked turned out great. The Dogsledding was absolutely fabulous. We had a stunning sunny day, beautiful fresh snow and keen dogs in the forest…Gorgeous. The provider even had us all in their home afterwards for fika (coffee and cake) - lovely people and a superb activity.
The other activity was “dinner on ice”. What we’d booked was a dinner for two in a teepee out on the ice near the chalets at Brandon Lodge. What we actually did was to go a couple of miles out onto the sea-ice on sledges pulled by a snowmobile. We were in company with other guests and our guide/chef. We were a bit taken aback by this initially, but it turned out to be a better evening than it probably would have been for just the two of us. Our guide Tommy was a friend of the owners and was helping out in a busy period. He is a professional hunting guide (nordguide.se) and a frankly amazing outdoor chef. With a large frying pan and a wood fire he produced a meal of Swedish flavours that I would have been very happy to pay for in a really good restaurant. Interesting and super knowledgeable host and all-round super chap. To top off the evening the Aurora obliged with a lovely green arch display. Our photographic skills weren’t up to getting a picture but fortunately a fellow guest did better and obliged us by taking a picture with us in it which he has promised to e-mail to us. This exemplified the rest of the guests we met. A mix of nationalities who were all happy to share their experiences over excellent food in the dining room. All in all, a super destination full of very nice people.
Lulea Clarion Sense hotel. Lovely! Jo tells everyone they are the best beds she’s ever slept in and I tend to agree. Great room, beautiful restaurant/ bar and fabulous food. Massive choice at breakfast, and the evening meal we had on Monday 4th was astonishingly good. Apparently simple dishes done to a stratospheric standard. Possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Only thing to watch out for is that the restaurant is shut on Sunday evening so guests might want to time their arrival accordingly. Lulea itself was very pleasant as well. The harbour around the town was frozen solid as you’d expect even though the locals told us it was 15 to 20 deg C warmer than they were used to for the time of year (whilst we were there it averaged about minus 13 I think). The local council had swept and smoothed the 11km ice track around the whole harbour and in the beautiful weather we had it was lovely to walk out and watch people ice skating, skiing etc. We walked right round the circuit on Monday and it took just less than 2 hours. A nice thing to do on a sunny day! Guests would be well advised to buy a set of slip on ice spikes from Class Ohlson in one of the malls though as without them walking required concentration.
In the town there was a good array of cafes. We tried a place called “Hemma Gastronomi” which belongs to a close friend of the aforementioned Tommy and was recommended by him. It was a good recommendation. We had lightly smoked reindeer with creamy mashed potato with a creamy gravy and lingen berries. Doesn’t sound much but was amazing. Very highly recommended.
All in all, I would say that this was one of the best trips we’ve been on. All the Swedish people we met spoke better English than us and were polite to a fault, taking excellent care of us at all times.
A great success and thank you for arranging it for us!