Conditions steadily worsened during our journey to the ice hotel, as visibility receded with the increasing snowfall. Soon enough we were climbing, transferring from hairpin to hairpin, as the road transformed to what looked like a snow covered clearing in the forested valley.
We arrived next to a sleepy hotel and the cable car building whilst beautifully large snowflakes were falling in slow motion through the chilly air. We saw the cables heading up the valley, but they quickly disappeared in the white haze. In-between falling over next to a pleasant guard dog while trying to photograph the incoming cable car and arriving at the top, we were treated to faint glimpses of the terrain we were effortlessly passing over. Still somewhat unclear of our surroundings we eventually arrived and marched over to the chalet to drop our bags and consume a hot beverage.
For much of our time up the mountain the conditions were poor as snow kept trying to keep this mystical hotel a secret from prying eyes. However we had two, 2-hour intervals of clear blue skies. This revealed the mystery of our location within the Carpathian Mountains. And what a location it was! Much of the ice hotel was still covered in snow, though this was a problem for me as I had been sent to photograph the outside too, it didn’t detract from the uniqueness. If anything the concealing layer gave an added surprise to the experience, as you enter the doorways you are greeted by stupendous ice sculptures and a level of workmanship which will take your chilled breath away.
My time at the ice hotel was special, although I was working it was nevertheless a remarkable experience and one I would highly recommend. I’ll let a handful of photos do the rest of the talking. In my next blog I’ll explain how I went about photographing the ice and trying to do justice to all the ice sculptures, with a bit of colour thrown in too!