Thursday, 21 March 2013

Kemi: Fantasy SnowCastle

I'm dazzled. There is so much light! The sun is so bright and the sky so blue - this is Kemi, Finland, and the SnowCastle. This SnowCastle hasn't been built by children; it was sculpted by professionals. The snow castle tradition goes back quite a few years: this is the 18th consecutive snow castle built here. I walk along the frozen seashore towards the monstrous entrance to this winter landmark of Kemi.
Once inside the snow castle, and especially in the SnowChapel, time stands still. The green light behind the altar is soothing, there are a couple of lit candles to which I add mine. The miniature ship is something that is typically decorating the churches and chapels in the coast and archipelago of Finland.
There are clear blocks of ice - I wonder if they are pieces of ice from the Gulf of Bothnia - at the end of chapel benches. Very simple artwork. Some couples get married in the chapel of the SnowCastle every year. The atmostphere in such events must be both pretty cool and pretty warm!
Right next door to the chapel, there is a hall where you can sit down for a hot or cold drink by long tables made of solid ice. If you fall short of conversation topics, just have a look around you - there's plenty to watch and talk about!
Like the fantastic creatures around you, standing on the floor,  or sticking to the ceiling. The theme of the SnowCastle 2013 is Fantasy. 
There are ethereal maidens, fantastic animals but also a huge, gentle looking monster. Who's got his eyes glued to a lovely young ice maiden.
However, the Ice Maiden doesn't wink an eye but stays cool and keeps her pose.
I walk from one hall to another, moving from one atmosphere to another. In the Space Gallery there is an eerie blue light, as if it were night time, there are stars and planets in the sky. And some birds. Silent, but angry.
If it weren't such a bright day and if it were much later, I might feel tempted to stay on and spend a night in the SnowCastle, lie down on the furs
and fall asleep in the snow hotel room, under the snow fresco with a kid riding on a polar bear...
But no! I want to get back to the sunlight! On my way out, I pass quite a few gorgeous works of art: more sculptures made of ice or snow, on every room or hall. Hello, ice penguins! How are you doing, Mr Snow Fox? Oh, you just pulled a snow rabbit out of a hat!
At this time of the day, there are no live performances on the outdoor stage so I head up to the top of the building to get a view of Kemi seashore. All frozen, of course, and the Gulf of Bothnia is all white, with quite a few people either walking or cross country skiing on the ice. What a great view and a great snow castle -  Kemi SnowCastle was definitely worth a visit!

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