Author: Yellow Duckie
In every country, I believe there is a place where one would love to reside. In Bahrain, I believe it would be the Al Masra or known as the floating city.

Every bungalow unit here has a waterfront where one can dive into the sea water or have your yatch park right in front of your house.

Most unit, I was told is actually quite small and unsuitable for a family or more than 2. However, I was lucky to be able to view one of the unit where it was considerably big, with 4 bed rooms in three floors and ample balcony space for a BBQ at the roof top on the 3rd floor overlooking the canal.

Each unit has got a beautiful balcony space of its own and it is quite pleasureable to be sitting out there during this cooling season. I am not too sure if I will enjoy it during summer where heat literally consumes you. Whatever the season may be, it would be great to own one of these units here.
Author: Yellow Duckie
While strolling along the main street of Aadliya, I came across a bakery. Out of pure curiousity, i brought myself into the bakery and have a look at what they sell. Instead of being greeted by the sight of pastries and bun, i find myself staring at the shelves full of cookies and baklawa.

Author: Yellow Duckie
Just as there is a summer market , there is also something which is known as the winter market. According to the locals, this is a small scale winter market compared to the real thing. It was the last day of my visit to the North and I intend to grab some local souvenirs before leaving this place. However, it was not quite a perfect day as it was -31 degree celcius, not a condition to be outdoor. Not that I have a choice, so I have decided that despite the harsh weather, I have to get myself to the winter market.

Like many market I have been to in sweden, i find this one disappointing. Although you still can find some swedish goods at a cheaper price, it was more like a market with full of china made goods. Some of the fascinating stores includes the store which sells wool clothings and leather goods. Word of advise, if you plan to enjoy the artic, perhaps it is a good idea to make a pit stop at the winter market first to get your wool clothings as it is known as the best insulator in trapping your body heat. I must admit, things are generally cheaper here compared to Stockholm.

I was quite glad that made it to he winter market as it is actually right next to the famous church in Kiruna. Built entire on wood, it was quite a beauty standing in the midst of the snow. Indeed the architecture was impressive!

Although I left the market without any souvenirs, I am glad that I did not leave my fingers and toes behind. They were quite frozen by the time I got myself to the taxi office to wait for my airport transfer. After these few days in extreme temperature, I was actually looking forward to Stockholm where temperature don't go below -5 degree celcius this time of the year...I can it the normal winter.
Author: Yellow Duckie
So why would anyone in the right frame of mind would pick a -25 degree Celcius vacation destination (Apart from seeing the Ice Hotel)? As mentioned in my previous entry, to pursue the Northern Light. Given the short frame of time here, it's either I see it tonight or I will leave this place only with the bitter sweet memory of the harsh weather here.

Perhaps it was fate that brought me to Poultsa. Situated 25 km away from Kiruna, this outskirt town is perfect to chase after the lights as it is far from the city lights. I wouldn't have even pick this place to stay if it the other place in Kiruna is not fully booked. I must say that I am glad I choose to stay in Matti & Kerstin's Farm in Poultsa. (

My fondest memory about the farm is that I actually slept there on the first night without the heater. I accidentally plug it off to charge my phone and camera that I didn't realise one of the plug was actually the heater. It was not a pleasant sleep i must admit.

Sunrise at Matti & Kerstin's Farm in Poultsa

They provide guided services in Kiruna mainly on horseback riding and at the same time, taking the lead as a single point to arrange for dog sledging and accommodation at the spare unit in their farm. I must say that they did a good job in keeping my budget low and even providing me with the proper clothing to withstand the extreme weather.

I was quite hesitant about staying away from town as I thought it would be boring however, I hardly had anytime to relax by the fire as I have initially intended to with all the arranged winter activities lined up for me. Besides, the scenery at the farm is mesmerizing and you will get to see moose hanging around freely. Truly a photography paradise i must say (provided you can withstand the cold with your hand out of your glove)

Dog Sledge

It was extremely fun to enjoy the dog sledge ride. One advise: Dress warm...really warm. Nicholas was the owner and guide for this husky safari (as it is know) and definitely knows a great deal about handling these huskies. He was really nice to warn us not to lick any yellow snow ;P. The trip includes you strapping the dogs on the harness and a great warm lunch in the modern sami hut where you could also thaw your fingers and toes after the first leg of the journey.

Lunch by the fire: A real comfort after the icy trip

Horse Riding

Matti has arrange for a horse back riding Northern Light tour to fill in the evening activity. Proudly presenting to us his precious Icelandic Horses, and I got to ride on Hildur, my snow princess. The journey was bearly longer than 2 hours but it felt like eternity when your fingers are freezing and your leg is hurting. I must admit that it was a magical feeling riding in the woods with the snow flakes falling from above. Matti with his cape on was leading us through the woods and I can't help it but to feel like I am in some war movie running away in the middle of the night escaping the claw of the tyrant.

Although it was dark, one could clearly make out the scenery around you and I must say, it is really mesmerizing. It captures you in a magical sphere and could easily get you carried away. However, the frost biting at your fingers and toes will also pull you back to reality. After the agony ( for me a Non-horse rider) of enduring the paint in my leg and the cold, it was a great comfort to enjoy a nice warm dinner at a modern sami hut where it's warm.

I did not actually see the Northern Light until , half past 11 when Matti came knocking furiously at my door informing me that the Northern Light has indeed decided to feast my eyes before I leave to Stockholm tomorrow. Given the fact that I was already all wrapped up in bed, i was rushing clumsily trying to put ALL my layers on before jumping into the overall and putting my boots all at the same time. I was glad that I did not fall flat while dressing up in that hurry. I am glad I saw it, right above the farm, the manifestation of the Northern Light takes place.

Arranged in a rib-like pattern across the sky. It was magnificient. Although it stayed less than 10 mins, I am glad that I finally saw, I found what I came looking for.
Author: Yellow Duckie
I have been to countries where the temperature drops below freezing point. However, I could never imagine how cold it can be at the temperature of minus (-) 25ºC. It’s unimaginable. Just the day before I was soaking calmly in the temperature of plus 25 ºC and some of my friends thinks that I am beyond my sanity when I told them of my vacation plan to the Northern part of Sweden during the coldest month of the year, February. My motivation: The Northern Light (Norrsken) or also known as the Aurora Borealis.

Arrival at the Kiruna Airport

I was all prepared (so I thought): A set of thermal, a layer of cashmere and in additional to that, another layer of fleece before putting on my thick skiing jacket and 3 layers for my bottom. It didn’t take more than 5 minutes at the outdoor to realize that I needed more warm clothing to shield me from the wrath of the wicked snow queen. I literally hard ice formed around my eyes and inside my nostrils.

The view from the plane as it descent was simply breathe taking. It looks as though God accidentally pour a bucket of white sand all over creating ripple like patterns on the ground amongst the pine tree.

Still overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape of the North from the sky, I find myself surrounded by a group of British travelers (given the fact that now there is a direct flight from London to Kiruna, British are the only travelers I bump into) on my way to the world famous work of architecture of the Nordic, the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi (“järvi” means lake in swedish).
Inside the Ice Chapel

Built by the ice freezes from the Torne River, this piece of “art” is simply stunning. Each block of ice indicates the cleanliness of the river and you definitely feel safe to just lick any part of the hotel (of course, not the ground you are trampling on). The design of each year is different and this year, instead of an arch roof, they did a flat one. This is the 19th design (the 19th year).

It’s hard to imagine how one could get comfortable sleeping in the temperature of -5 degree but I supposed it’s an experience. There are art suites where artist from all over the world are invited to decorate it with their own theme and be sweep off by their creativity.

I believe that if my fingers and toes didn’t start to hurt and threatened to leave me any time soon, I would have enjoyed my visit more.

Night View of the Ice Hotel
Author: Yellow Duckie
After 5 and half months in Nairobi, I finally took the courage to drive. All this while I thought my fear of driving in Kenya are the massive amount of cars or as my driver would say, the Matatus (public van in Kenya as they drive like dare devils), but i was wrong. As I sat behind the wheels, I realise what I am most fearful of while driving is the PEDESTRIAN.

The size of the road is already a challenge for a Toyota Fortuna to cruise by without worrying about hitting the oncoming cars and at the same time, one has to ensure that the pedestrians walking at the side of the road is unhurt when we passes them by. Somehow, the pedestrians are oblivious of the cars around them and takes time in gliding gracefully on the road without worrying about getting hit. It's a test of your patience I must say. A friend of mine had a lady walk into her car door while she waited for her turn at the junction as the lady was too occupied when she was crossing the street....amusing.

The traffic is Nairobi is well known, that I will have to surrender to the driver in taking me around. Apart from that, driving in Nairobi is pretty much like driving in KL.