Good to know The Hurtigrute ship line travels from Bergen to Kirkenes and makes daily stops at several destinations along Norway's northern coast, including Berlevåg and Båtsfjord. Book at www.hurtigruten.com. arctic cabin in Syltefjord, a fishermens' town that emptied out in the mid-'80s. Finnair Plus members earn Plus points from a six-day voyage south, a seven-day voyage north and a 12-day roundtrip voyage. kicksleds are a popular mode of transport in Båtsfjord. white, flavourful meat is a rare delicacy elsewhere, however; in 2009, they generated about 15.5 million euros in profits. As part of his safari Hansen offers visitors the option of tasting freshly caught king crab after the boat docks. In local kitchens, they are often prepared on a bed of sea salt in a wok pan and eaten with red onion and mayonnaise. It's as tender and mouthwatering as shellfish can get. off to GraNdfather'S houSe Båtsfjord, which has a population of about 2,100, feels like a bona fide metropolis compared to Syltefjord, a former fishermen's colony that today is little more than a cluster of empty cottages nestled in stately fjord scenery. Travellers wishing to visit its cosy hideaway, Arctic Cabin, during the winter, have to book ahead for meals and accommodations, as well as a snowmobile transport. The bumpy ride makes the getaway all the more exhilarating. Stepping off the snowmobile, my legs still trembling, I'm greeted by Gunn Marit Nilsen, owner of Arctic Cabin. Built in 1951, the main building's original residents operated a dried fish business. The property has been in Nilsen's family since 1987 and today resembles a tiny farm inside a snow globe: the windows of the red wooden houses, framed by curtains, glow in a warm yellow colour, and its interiors, from blankets to tablecloths, are a friendly mix of eclectic prints. Around the main houses are two additional buildings for guests and an outdoor hot tub. Nilsen serves us reindeer stew and potatoes on plates adorned with the name Gunda's; they are remnants of a restaurant she ran in Båtsfjord for ten years before opening Arctic Cabin. She buys her reindeer meat from a local herder and fetches fish and crab from the ocean. Her mother often offers help in the kitchen. After a day out in the frozen air and an evening of comfort food, I let the warmth of the stove and the immaculate silence of my surroundings lull me to sleep. I can't recall the last time I've fallen into a slumber this deep. In the morning, I'm greeted by a dreamlike scenery 58 BLue WiNGS DECEMBER 2010 outside of my window: steam rising from the surface of the sea and twirling up towards the sun's near-horizontal light. Around the water stand white hills, silent and ageless. a PLace to Leave your heart About an hour's drive west of Båtsfjord, in a mini-village of 35 inhabitants, is another cosy escape, Kongsfjord Guesthouse. Built into an old farmstead and opened for business in 2004, the hotel is the brainchild of Åse Winsents; she spent her childhood in the house that's currently the hotel's main building. She lived and worked in southern Norway for 32 years, but returned eight years ago and turned her childhood home into a gorgeous, picturesque mini-resort through a meticulous restoration process. She currently runs the hotel with her long-time boyfriend Trygg Lund and two Italians, Claudia Casaletti and Margherita Mander. Both women decided to move to the area from Italy after visiting and falling in love with it. Kongsfjord Guesthouse offers tourists a full scale of activities in partnership with local entrepreneurs, from snowshoeing to the nearby hills, fishing and photography trips to engraving workshops run by Casaletti. Catches from king crab safaris and fishing excursions Plan your getaway Berlevåg Båtsfjord Hammerfest Kirkenes Kongsfjord Guesthouse, +47 7898-1000, www.kongsfjord-gjestehus.no. Winter rates Norway Inari Ivalo Kittilä Arctic Circl e Rovaniemi Kemi Kuusamo Sweden Russia Finland Helsinki start at 840 kroner (about 104 euros) for a double room. Breakfast 120 kroner (15 euros), dinner starting at 290 kroner (36 euros). Full and half board also available. Transportation available from Berlevåg for 260 kroner (32 euros) each way. Arctic Cabin, +47 9164-2441, www.arcticcabin.com. Price per night starts at 900 kroner (about 111 euros). Sauna 250 kroner (31 euros), Outdoor hot tub 2,250 kroner (279 euros). Polar Hotel in Båtsfjord offers a laid-back atmosphere; guests are encouraged to walk to the refrigerator in the dining room to grab a drink or snack. Free WLAN is available, as well as a by-reservation restaurant and activities ranging from snow shoeing to boat safaris and art classes. A double room with breakfast starts at 1,250 kroner (about 155 euros). +47 7898-3100, www.polarhotel.net King crab safaris and bird watching trips with Ørjan Hansen: +47 9510-8638, www. arctictourist.no. Hansen can also arrange Estonia for a snowmobile transport.
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