Trip Bergen – Stavanger ( 28 March – 3 April)

I went with 3 other girls, Elena, Mira and Pauline on a trip during our easter break. We went to the West coast of Norway, specific to Bergen and Stavanger. It was really nice!

preperation:

We all wanted to do some nice hikes during our trip, but also visit the city a bit. We all searched some nice stuff up and shared our ideas. After that we hired a car. This time I was one of the drivers. The second driver was Mira.

Sunday 28 March:

Go time! We picked up the car and drove all the way to Bergen. This took us the whole day, where we drove through so many different landscapes, snow, valleys, mountains… (9 hour drive). We parked our car and went to our hostel, where we were going to stay for three nights.

Monday 29 March:

Time to discover Bergen city! We walked around the city and saw a lot of nice stuff, like some nice parks, famous streets (Ytre Markeveien – white houses and Bryggen – colourful houses), some cool street art, some churches and the Bergenhus fortress. After that we walked up mountain Floyen. We took the main path up and enjoyed the really nice view. We hiked a bit around on the top and then went down with another path. The hike down was really nice, because we didn’t take the main path. It was all a bit more adventurous and more in nature.

Tuesday 30 March:

Today was the day with the worst weather of the whole trip. Rain, rain and rain. We decided to go for an hike in a forest (Hordnesskogen), because there we would be a little bit more protected from the rain. We made the hike more nice by doing some geocaching. After a semi nice hike, we went back to the city centre and went to a local bakkery to drink something and visit some souvenir shops, where I found already one souvenir for someone! We also did all our groceries and food preparing, because on thursday, friday, sunday and monday the grocery shops would be closed, becuase of Easter.

Wednesday 31 March:

Today we left Bergen and went on our way South, in the direction of Stavanger. We stopped on our way to hike up the mountain Bruviknipa. We read that this was a really nice hike to do, so we were very excited! Our expectations were rewarded! It was a really nice hike with beautiful views, but also not an easy one. In the beginning we had to go through a little swampy area. Good that we had our gaiters! Also when we were close to the top of the mountain there was still snow. Luckily there were some footprints from other previous hikers that we could follow. That made it easier for us. On our way back we also did a little detour, not lost oh no just a little short cut ;). Back at the car we decided to book an airbnb for that night. Mira had a bad stomach and did prefer not to stay in a tent. Normally we would now only stay in our tent, because the bad weather was over, but because of Mira her bad stomach we decided to sleep in airbnbs or other cabins for the rest of the nights. This night we found an airbnb in the middle between Bergen and Stavanger. We stayed with an old lady, who was very friendly. We arrived pretty late and got to know her a little before we went to bed.

BONUS GAME:

—- search the red cabin —

Thursday 1 April

After breakfast with the nice lady we were back on our way. Today we visited the famous ‘preikestolen’. It’s a cliff. It was a really nice hike up, that took us a bit less then two hours. It was quite busy, but the hike was still pretty nice. It was not just tarmac, more walking up and over rocks. We took some nice pictures at the preikestolen and ate something, before we went back down and drove to our next airbnb.

Friday 2 April:

Today we visited Stavanger. At first I was not that excited about this city, because I didn’t find a lot to see, but after seeing the photos of the other who already been here I got my hopes up. Sadly it was like I first thought, not so special (maybe also because everything was closed), but we made the best out of it! We visited the harbor, the chruch, some famous streets (Ovre Holmegate – colourfull houses and Gamle Stavanger – white old houses). After that we went to a local park and chilled there for some time in the nice spring sun. We drove already away from Stavanger and stayed in a nice simple little cabin, on our way back to Kristiansand.

 

Saturday 3 April:

First thing in the morning we dropped Mira of at Trollaktiv, because she joined the introduction weekend for maybe an intership or work opportunity there in the summer. After that we did a little hike close to Trollaktiv in Evje and ate outside our lentil stew before we drove back and went home.

March

Already March! Halfway through the semester! This month I also went on two trips: a winter trip and a trip during the easter break to Bergen and Stavanger. For both of the trips I’m going to make a seperate blog post.

The weeks before the trips we had, like always, an alternation of theoretical and practical lessons. In the theoretical lessons we learned about children and nature, grouproles, public health and so on. We also had a discussion about how you see yourself as a veiledner (leader) and made presentations about the Holmenkollen ski festival. Normally we would go there, but because of covid the festival is canceled.

In the practical lessons we did a lot of fun stuff. What was also really nice is that we switched the groups more up again, instead of staying in the same groups over and over again. For the theorical lesson about children and nature we also went outside to go back to our childhood and play with everything nature gives us. We also learned about bush craft. We build shelters with a tarp and without, so only with twigs and everything the nature could give us. This resulted in a lot of cool results and decent shelters!

We had an other lesson about map and compass, but then given by classmates, who know a lot about this topic. The lesson was a full daytrip, where we all learned to guide the group with our map and compass and how to locate ourself. The last thing we did was rock climbing. We learned first all the safety stuff and after that we just had fun climbing and belaying each other.

The weekends were again filled with nice hikes (for example to the Inverted Boat), fun birthday parties, playing and sitting outside, game nights and knitting (the new class hype)!

Weather update: A mix between rain and spring weather. Nice for the climbing but not so nice for the cross country skiing.

COVID-19 update: ‘lockdown’! The numbers are rising so some places closed down again and a mouth mask is again obligated in public places.

 

Winter trip (22 – 26 March)

Another trip filled with cross country skiing and other snowy adventures!

preperation

Normally this trip would take place 2 weeks earlier, but it was rescheduled because of the bad weather and therefore bad snow conditions. It was already pretty warm for the beginning of March and there was also a lot of rain fall. That all made that the snow melted. The friday before we left the decision was that we had to go now on our trip, otherwise it would get worse and worse. The snow conditions were still not good and it was still too warm for good cross country skiing, but we were going to make the best out of it.

Monday

We all left together at the university with a bus and drove to Hovden, a three hour drive north. We stayed in a cabin in Bjaen, a little more north then Hovden. It was the first time after the other ski trip that I was back on my skis. We did a short trip around in the surroundings, with a new group and as instructor again Tim.

We also did a really fun quiz in the bus, made by one of my classmates, where we got to know some fun facts about our class as a group:

  • The average age in our class is 23,2 years old
  • We had on this trip 4,1 kg chocolate with us (survival food on his best)
  • 18 people of our class brought their knitting stuff
  • Nobody brought jeans (because that’s not outdoorsy)

Tuesday

This day we headed out for a long daytrip, where we were going to do around 15 km on our skis. That’s a lot! This time we switched instructors, so it was the first time that I was in a group with Len as instructor during cross country skiing. He was really different as instructor, what was also nice to experience. Tim would really take a role as leader and focused on the skiing. Len focused more on the whole experience, so also everything aournd skiing and let us do more by ourselves. I was still not the best in skiing, but already better then first and I found it also more fun. You also noticed it in the group. People focused less on themselves and just surviving and more on the others and the social aspect. We also focused that day on map and compass and we even talked about avalanches and made in half an hour a surviving snowhole for one person. I didn’t think that you could make something so fast in the snow, but after 30 minutes it was there. It was not comfortable, but good enough to survive a bad storm. We also tried to find a person under the snow with our avalanche probes. Don’t worry we just digged a hole in the snow, where a person could lay in and the others could just stand above. There I realised that it is really a challenge to find people in the snow and that you also had to be lucky. The first time I pocked was a couple centimers of the person laying there. I could have just missed him as this was a real situation. That’s crazy to think about! We also saw this day some wild reindeers!!

Wednesday

This day we did something that I really looked forward to when I signed up for this semester. We were going to make a snowhole and stay in there for the night! We left the cabin with our big rucksacks to a spot close by where it was possible to build the snowholes. Skiing with big rucksacks is something else! If you would fall it was so hard to get up again and everything in general was so much harder. When we arrived at the sport we splitted up in groups of six. Otherwise it would be to hard to build the snowholes. The first thing we had to do was find a good spot, so that meant a spot with enough snow. Then we started digging. One part of the group made an entrance and the other part of the group just started digging straight down where our sleeping area was going to be. When the sleeping area hole was deep enough they also started digging to the entrance so that these two things got connected with each other. After that we had to make the roof. There were two possibilities for this. One was like an iglo, where you just saw blocks out of the snow and put them on top of each other. The other way was that 6 people were standing in the deep hole with a tarp over them and that all the others threw gently snow on them. All the snow would settle, because of the throwing, the compressing and the heat the bodies in the middle would give off. I did with 5 other girls the second option! It was a really cool experience. You felt the weight of the snow on you, but not that it was heavy. We also felt it settle after some time, so we could get out through the entrance tunnel one by one. After that was done the biggest work came, making the sleeping area big enough for six people. That was a lot of digging, sawing, throwing the snow out… . We worked a whole day on our snowhole, but then it was finally ready! It was just big enough for all of us, so quit cozy but it would work! For the night we also had to do some stuff for safety, like marking our entrance clearly, have shovels ready inside and outside the snowhole and texts our instructors before we went to sleep and when we woke up. It was a cozy night, with not a lot of space in a selfmade snowhole.

Thursday

We all packed our stuff again and left the snowholes. We went down to an area with a mountain. We climbed this mountain by going zigzag all the way up (luckily without our rucksacks). Almost at the top our instructor told us where at the mountain could be avalanche risk and just at that moment we heard the snow under our skis settle. We all faded a little. Our instructor told us fast that we didn’t have any avalanche risk, where we were standing (what we obviously already kwew but still). The mountain was not  steep enough. After that we went up a little more and enjoyed the view that we got on top (and the wind). After that we went down and back to our cabin to dry our stuff that was wet and to make us ready for another night outside. This night we went even closer to the cabin, at a place where was snow but also trees and other vegetation growing. We made in groups of three emergency shelters with our tarp, the snow and everything else we could use.

Friday

The week went by so fast! In the morning we went back to our cabin, cleaned everythign up and then already went back home with the bus.

We were also so lucky with the weather the whole week. We had a lot of sun and almost no rain/snow. The bad thing about that was that it was way to warm (above zero degrees almost all the time). That made that the snow conditions were really bad, so we had to use different wax then normally. We had to use ‘klister’. This wax is really sticky. The good thing about is that you can get up hills, but the bad thing about it is that you slow down when you are going down and that snow sticks on your skis. Not fun, but bettet then no wax.

Trip Tromso – Lofoten (18 February – 1 March)

I went with 5 other girls, Elena, Luca, Wil(lemijn), Sara and Maike on a 12 day trip to the North of Norway, specific to Tromso and the Lofoten. It was magical!

preperation:
The preparation for our trip was a lot, because we were going for 12 days and we all had different opinions. We also didn’t have a long period of time to really prepare everything properly. We booked our flights and our accommodation for the beginning and the end, because then we knew we were going to be for sure in Tromso. We also rented two cars in Tromso to ride easy around in the Lofoten and get around with all our stuff. The rest we didn’t decide at that moment, because we didn’t know our exact plan where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. We got some ideas, like going to A, Reine, Senja, visit some fjords and beaches, but that was about it. We were going to live a bit day to day during the trip. The one thing we knew for sure was that it was going to be an expensive long roadtrip.
We also had to make an expedition route card for our three day forest field trip. Therefore we used some handy websites, like dnt, ut and karverket. We could so figure out which routes where suitable to do every day, how we can split these up in legs and what where possible escape routes.

Thursday 18 February:
Finally time for departure! After our class we grabbed all our stuff and headed to the airport. Our flight got delayed, but we made our transfer in Oslo (that was also delayed) and landed safely (and not sick!) in Tromso. We took the bus to our hostel in Tromso, where we were going to stay. When we arrived, there were some complications with our booking and our room but they helped us really fast, so we could check in and go to our room. A thing that I immediately recognized was that all the locals were so friendly and ready to give you advice about the city and what to do and see. Lovely! In our room (really hostel like room) we were all pretty tired. We discussed what we were going to do tomorrow and went to bed.

Friday 19 February:
The sun raised and so did we. Time to explore Tromso! First we walked through the city and saw some nice buildings, churches and views over the river and with all the mountains. We visited the library, which also had a beautiful view, the famous church and some giftshops, like a typical Tromso giftshop but also a shop where they had all kinds of comics and lego stuff. Really cool!
After that we walked up the mountain ledge Storsteinen, where also the cable car is going. After a short, but steep walk we got rewarded with an amazing view over Tromso and the surrounding islands, mountains and fjords. We saw the sunset and then warmed up some time in the café until it was completely dark. It was beautiful to see Tromso up there at night with all the lights. Suddenly a man came in the café and said the northern lights were visible. We ran as fast as possible with all our stuff outside. It was phenomenal to see the northern lights in real life! Unfortunately I couldn’t make some good photos with my camera from the northern lights, because of bad settings. Luckily Luca could take amazing photos with her phone! Even better photos then all of us could take with our professional camera. We stayed up there for some time to enjoy the northern lights and when it was a little bit less clear we went back down with the cablecar. We went back to the hostel to eat something and warm up again. At 11 o’ clock we decided to go back out for the northern lights. This time we went to a lake close to our hostel, what was recommended to us as also a really good place to see the northern lights. We were lucky, still a clear sky! Already when we walked there we saw the northern lights again. At the lake we just laid down and looked at the northern lights dancing and even changing color, green to purple. What a crazy day! We all went to bed exhausted but so grateful.

Saturday 20 February:
We got our car today and drove away from Tromso. First we made a stop at a small husky farm. Unfortunately the weather was too bad, really windy, to go husky sledding. We still had a nice time there cuddling the huskies and getting some more information about the huskies and the sledding. After that we drove to Senja, an island in the direction of the Lofoten, where we rented an Airbnb. I sat in the car with Luca and Maike, switching as drivers. I took the job as DJ on me.

Sunday 21 February:
Time to explore Senja! First we visited a small troll village. After that we started driving to some nice viewpoints in the mountains. During the drive to the second viewpoint the weather became bad. There was a lot of wind and snow blowing around. Our sight became bad, we didn’t even see the next white/red pole at the side of the road. We decided to go slowly further and hoped that it would get better after some turns in the road, but it didn’t. We arrived at the second viewpoint, but we knew it was too dangerous to get out of the car to enjoy the view. Luca went for a short time out to help Maike turn around the car. She already had to set some steps in direction of the cliff, because of the wind. The other just saw Luca going in and out the car and thought it was safe. So two of them went out. Luca went back out to tell them it was obviously not safe. They all crawled back to the car and Elena lost her beanie. We decided we couldn’t go further on this road and turned back to go to the national park of Senja. There we did a nice hike in the snow! After that we started driving to Harstad. Normally we would arrive around 9 o’ clock but then we had to stop on the way for a barrier and we didn’t know why. After some waiting and searching why we had to wait we figured out that the GPS changed to the wrong route, namely the route where we had to take a ferry, what was really expensive to do with both cars and all of us in. We decided then to turn around and drive a whole way back to get back on the right road. We came around 11 o’ clock at our destination, the DNT cabin in Harstad. It was cool to see and sleep in a DNT cabin. We putted on the heaters and got some snow to melt, because we didn’t have any running water in the cabin (and the toilet was also just a hole in the ground outside). We were glad that we had the heaters, so we could go quick to bed, because it was such a long drive.

Monday 22 February:
This day was also a drive day. This time to Fredvang, where we were going to do our forest field trip. We were all a bit worried, because of the bad weather the last days. It was above zero degrees the whole time and it was also raining sometimes. This made that the snow was in a bad condition and that there was a lot of avalanche risk, so we had to watch out for potential avalanche terrain. We looked again at the route we wanted to take and saw some potential avalanche terrain. Luca talked with the guy where we rented the cabin from (a typical red cabin! Lovely!) and he referred us to a local woman, who knows all about the surroundings. His opinion was that some parts of our trip, where a risk, but not all. After that we prepared the rest for our trip, like our food and our rucksacks and discussed more about our route. We decided to wait what the local woman would say and then look again at our plans.

Tuesday 23 February:
First day of the trip! We went to the local woman and she told us also that some parts were possible, but because of the bad weather and the rain the most parts where possible avalanche terrain or very slippery. She recommended us some other hikes, that were more suitable at this moment. We went back to our red cabin and looked again at our plan. We decided to mix the new recommended hikes with the parts of our original plan, that were still possible. After lunch we drove to our start point. We were going to do a hike to a beach about 2 kilometers away. First we tried to go up some hills to see what our possible hike for tomorrow would be like, but after a short time we decided to go immediately to the destination of the day, the beach, because the deep snow was really hard to hike in and it was already getting late. The hike to the beach was hard. The path was not visible anymore, because all of the snow. So we had to find our own path, what was really hard in the deep snow. Most of the times we sank until our knees in the snow. There was also a very steep part at the end of the hike, what was a bit scary, because the hill ended in a cliff. We did 2 hours over the 2 kilometers, so that’s crazy. Once on the beach we were glad that we made it and looked for a good spot to set our tents up. We looked at the wind direction and if it was going to change during the night and set our tents up in the best possible place taking all that into account. After we just put our tents up it started to rain, lucky! We all got in our tents and talked and made dinner. I was in a tent with Wil(lemijn) and Elena. It kept raining and we had to go once out, because the rain was coming in our tent, because the tarp was too much laying outside the tent so the rain could slide in. That really sucked, because my backpack was laying in the puddle that was created by that and some things were already a bit wet, because of the rain we had during our hike to the beach. We went to sleep and didn’t had a good night sleep because the weather was getting worse and worse. It started stroming, raining harder, the wind turned the wrong direction and was now blowing really hard on our tents. In the night we had to go out to tighten the ropes of the tents more, but it didn’t make any difference. More things were getting wet, because the tent was moving so hard because of the wind and all the cords were loose.

Wednesday 24 February:
In the morning it was still really bad. We were all a little bit worried, because we didn’t know what was best to do. In the afternoon the storm would be getting worse, but the hike with this storm was also dangerous, especially the steep part. We decided we had to leave the beach, because our tents wouldn’t hold the rest of the storm. From the other tent one pole already broke! We packed our stuff and left. From our tent two poles were also bended. We were very lucky on our way back, just when we started our hike back in the rain the wind laid down a bit. We crossed the steep part, without problem. The rest of the hike was also going a lot faster, because we know had an idea of the path we had to take and there was already less snow, because of all the rain fall. After one hour we finally arrived at our car, all soaking wet. We drove to a café to warm up and decided we couldn’t go through with our trip. The main reason for that was that one tent broke down, but that everything was wet and everyone was demotivated, because the storm was still going. These things also played part in the decision.
We drove to A, the end of the Lofoten. We put everything to dry in our new red cabin and tried to clean the tents a bit, because they were full of sand from the beach. After that we explored A a bit. We went to the end of A and walked around in the little village, with some red cabins. (note: still raining all day every day)

Thursday 25 February:
Time to visit some more places in the Lofoten. First we drove to Reine. Reine is famous for the yellow houses and the nice views. After that we went to flakstad beach, what was pretty cool. At one side you saw the ocean and the beach (and some surfers) and at the other side you saw the mountains. What we also saw a lot driving around in the Lofoten was fish (stockfish) hanging on wooden racks to dry, like a lot of fish. After chilling on the beach we went to our cabin in Leknes.

Friday 26 February:
Time for another day visiting more places in the Lofoten. First stop: Nusfjord. Nusfjord was for me one of the most beautiful places in whole the Lofoten. It was a little fishing village, close to a beautiful fjord. We hiked some time there on the hills to get a nice view. It was so beautiful and lovely! Second stop, back at Leknes. We went to a little souvenir shop and bought some wine to have a nice cozy evening. Third stop: Henningsvaer. A little city famous for the football field and the harbor. The football field was a little bit disappointing, because there are a lot of very cool pictures you can find of it on the internet, but in real life it stays an ordinary football field. The harbor was more what I was expecting. It was really nice, because of all the colored boats and houses. I also took this cool picture with the rainbow from the harbor! Last stop for the day Svolvaer. Svolvaer is like Leknes a bigger city in the Lofoten, so we just drove through it to see some nice things, but it is mostly just a city. The other little cities and villages are a lot more nice to visit and explore. After driving around in Svolvaer we went to our cabin, also in Svolvaer and had a nice and cozy game night with wine and good food.

Saturday 27 February:
Our last full day in the Lofoten! We visited the other group from our class, that was also in the Lofoten, Laura, Mira and Deb. It was nice to catch up with them and exchange all of our stories and experiences. We were also glad that we weren’t the only one who struggled a lot during our forest field trip. Every group of the class had it difficult in one way or another, mostly because of bad weather, a lot of avalanche risk and bad snow conditions. After catching up we went to Narvik, the last bigger city in the Lofoten. There we looked around a bit and went after that to our cabin, close to Narvik. In the evening we called again with the husky farm guy to see if it was still possible to go husky sledging. We had a bad feeling about this, because the last days it was really warm and it rained a lot and he confirmed this feeling, sadly enough. So no husky sledging for us on this trip.

Sunday 28 February:
Because we don’t go husky sleding today we looked for some alternatives to do. We found a ice dome, which we visited. It was really cool to hear how they made the ice dome and also really cool to see the different rooms, where you could sleep in. There were also a lot of ice sculptures with a lot of detail, what was really cool to see. After that we drove to Tromso, where I went swimming with Elena, Luca and Wil and Maike and Sara visited a museum. On the way to Tromso, we also saw some tame reindeers. Unfortunately we couldn’t get close, because they were on someone’s private domain. The swimming pool was a nice end of the trip. We relaxed a lot in the outdoor pool and the hottub. After that we went to our Airbnb in Tromso. We thought about going out again for the northern lights, but there were a lot of clouds. This time I realized again how lucky we are that we saw it so long and so clear in the begging.

Monday 1 March:                                                                                                       Crazy that we already fly back to Kristiansand. The days went so fast and were so exciting. Also so exhausting, that I could even sleep on one of our flights. We safely landed, went back to our housing and early to bed, because tomorrow we had again class.

 

February

January flew by so fast, because it was already half a month after quarantine and February also seemed so short, because of all the trips. In february I did two trips: a cross country skiing trip and a self organised trip. For both of the trips I’m going to make a seperate blog post.

At the times I wasn’t on a trip we had most of the time theoretical lessons. We learned about group dynamics and coaching and leadership, but also about stuff that we can use during our trips this month or later, like avalanche, map and compass and snowhshelters. Last we also learned more about friluftsliv and public and health. I find all the theoretical lessons really interesting, because I learn more about things I also learned at home about, like group dynamics and leadership but also new things around the nature.

We didn’t do a lot of practical things this month, because we did most of the practical stuff during the trips. In the weeks before the trips we did beside the theoretical lessons also some preparation for the trips, like getting our cross country skis and wax them properly and learn how to make a good expedition route card and which websites can help us with that. I also got a DNT membership, what’s pretty cool. DNT is an organisation that offer more than 500 cabins all over Norway. If you are a member, you can stay in there with a big discount. Most of the cabins you can also open with the same key, that you get if you become a member.

We also went for the first time to the swimming pool to get to know what was expected from us during the life saving test. This are the criteria, that we have to do in 4,5 minutes:

  • Getting in the water without getting your head under the water
  • 4 laps swimming with your head above the water
  • diving down to a doll and getting the doll up
  • 2 laps swimming with a drowning person (your partner)
  • Getting a drowning person (your partner) out of the water and laying them in a safe position

It was nice to swim again, but I also know that I have to train for this test. So I did that a couple of times this month. I can do everything at this moment, but I have to work on my speed.

In the weekends I mostly rested out from the trips, worked for my bachelor thesis and did activities with my youth movement. I also celebrated carnival!

Weather update: A good cold temperature during the cross country skiing trip and a lot of good snow! After that it warmed up and all the snow started melting and we got days with a lot of rain and storms but also some sunny warm days. Weird that the snow is so soon gone.

COVID-19 update: More softenting of the rules. We can meet up with more people and have now complete on campus class. Yeah!

 

Ski trip (8 – 12 February)

During this trip we learned the basics of cross country skiing. Something I have never done before! The only thing I once did was downhill skiing, but also a long long time ago. I was really excited about this trip!

preparation:

The week before the trip we got our cross country skis and waxed them properly. We had to scrape the old wax of the skis and then put new wax on them, by melting the wax on the skis with an iron and then we had to iron the wax in the skis. After that we had to scrape everything that was not penetrated in the skis off. The last scraping was a lot of work, because there was so much wax that we had to scrape off. It kept coming and coming!

Monday:

We all left together at the university with a bus and drove to Evje, an one hour drive north. In Evje we stayed at Trollaktiv. We settled in the rooms, mostly divided in our tent groups/university housing groups. I shared a room with Elena.                      After that we went for the first time cross country skiing and learned the basics, like walking with you skis, going up, going down, make turns and so on. It was weird to walk with such a long skis on my feet and very different from downhill skiing. We were also divided in two groups, because we are otherwise with too many people. I was in the group with Tim as an instructor. He works at Trollaktiv. In the evening we learned about waxing and which wax we have to use with which temperature. During our whole trip we could use the same wax, because of the same temperature, so that was simple. The waxing we had to do every evening, which was fun to do all together with some music. It was very cozy!

Tuesday:

During the day we went cross country skiing, where we did a ski tour and learned some new techniques during the day. This day was really hard for me. I didn’t got a good hang of the techniques for making a ski tour, so I always ended up at the end of the group, because I fell a lot and couldn’t make a lot of speed. We were also a lot of times off piste in the deep snow. This made me feel frustated and angry at myself. I didn’t want that the group had to wait for me and I felt that I was the worst person in the group. In the middle of the day I felt bad and hurted my knee. This made that my techniques became even worse then before. We did an adventurous way uphill, where I struggled a lot. When I finally made it to the top of the hill with some help from other students I was exhausted. Tim came to check how we were, because we were a lot behind the group. He told us that there was another hill and I told him honestly that my knee really made all the climbing difficult and that I was in pain. He made the decision to go back down, more to the starting place, where we could pratice a little bit technique and I could rest, when I needed so that I didn’t overload myself. He asked if this was okay for me and for the group. I was grateful that we went back down and was also grateful for my group. At this moment I’m also proud of myself that I could say that, but in that moment I really felt like a failure and still wanted to let the others and Tim see that I could practice some technique with them. Someone from the group came to me and said it was okay to rest now and that I didn’t need to prove anything. That made me rest more and made me feel better. I’m really glad of the group we had, because people tried to motivate me and support me during my struggle. In the evening we had a short lesson about gear for in your daybackpack and the first aid kit and repair kit. This was useful to know for the rest of the days. When I went to bed I just accepted that today wasn’t my day and went to sleep, hoping that tomorrow was going to be a better day.

Wednesday:

During the day we went cross country skiing, where we did a ski tour and learned some new techniques during the day. Before the day started we had a short lesson about map reading, what we also practiced during the day. I was proud of myself that I could always say where we are after some thinking by paying attention to our route and the surroundings. In the beginning of the day I really focused on my technique. This time it was also easier to do that, because we stayed more on the tracks. After some time I got more the hang of it and I also could keep more up with the group. I used less energy and I fell less. My knees were also protected with socks around them, so I wouldn’t hurt them so badly anymore. It also helped me to start skiing in the beginning or the middle of the group and not the end. I was glad that it went better today. I also now could more enjoy the nature and the people around me. There were some beautiful views and it was fun to get to know some people, where I didn’t really had a connection with before. In the evening we went skijumping and sliding. I went sliding down the small and big hill. That was fun, I was going so fast! Some others also skijumped, what was really cool to see. Two boys from our class even went from a higher jump, wow!

Thursday:

During the day we went cross country skiing, where we did a ski tour and learned some new techniques during the day. Before the day started we had a short information moment about Trollaktiv and what they do. We also got the possibility to do an intership there in the summer. Also this day was a good day, where I got better and better in most of the basic techniques of cross country skiing (classis, diagonal stride, kick-double-pole, side step, herringbone, snowplough, parallel turn and telemark turn). Even if we were most of the day in the deep snow. In the evening we had a ‘Celidh’, a fun night where every nationality did a typical song or game from their country. We had some dances, an old tv show and an acrobatic stunt. It was a really fun evening!

Friday:

The last day we did something different. We made with everyone together a playground in the snow, with some hills, pits and jumps with our shovels. After a short technique course we went to play on our selfmade playground with a rotation system. At the end of the day we did a race down the hill and after that we went back home together with the bus. It was a fun but exhausting week!

 

January

Finally the 14th of January, moving day! I will live for the next 6 months together with my roommate, Claire in a room (bedroom and bathroom) and share the rest of the apartment (kitchen, storage area and common area) with some other fellas. My housing apartment is really close to the university. It feels a little bit like my housing that I had at home. Here there are also a lot of housing apartments together close to the university.

After a couple days/weeks we were with six people in our apartment. Claire (Idaho, USA) and me shared a room. Carolina (Colombia – France) and Marina (Spain) shared a room and Elena (Germany) and Anna (France) shared a room. Claire and Elena also study the outdoor education program and one room was still empty and locked (what is kind of weird, because they said they didn’t have enough housing for all the international students).

The first couple of days was a lot about settling in, buying necessary stuff and getting used to living with a roommate and share the rest of the apartment with others.              It was really nice that we already got a big box with kitchenware from the university, so we didn’t have to buy that all ourselves. I bought a bike for myself, because the city centre is on the other side of the bridge on a 40 minute walk from where I live.                It took some time getting used to having a roommate, but after some time we bonded a little bit. Especially with little situations, like when one of us wants to go to sleep or to get up etc. .                                                                                                                      For the rest I really bonded with Elena. We cook and eat almost all the time together and Claire also sometimes joines us. It is fun to get to know dishes of their country, like farmers breakfast from Elena and sloppy joes and American pancakes from Claire. I made for them meatballs in tomato sauce and pancakes/crepes to represent Belgium.The others cook mostly for themselves, because they eat vegan or have allergies, what makes it more difficult to cook all together.

The week after settling in a bit we had our first classes! Unfortunately still mostly online, but after a week we could already meet up for some classes!                                            We have theoretical and practical lessons. In the theoretical lessons we learned about ‘friluftsliv’ and group dynamics (and in one break about the structure of snowballs). Our practical lessons are different from the last years, because of COVID-19 and financial cuts in our study, but I’m still really glad with all the stuff we still do and what our teacher wants to do with us. It is also nice that we can change all our classes around looking at the weather and what we want to do.                                                                                In our practical lessons we made first some group rules, around respect, including everyone etc. . The second thing we did was talk about all our gear we had to took with us and if all the gear was good enough. The third practical lesson was about tents and shelter. We learned what is a good spot to set a tent up and how to do that. The fourth practical lesson was about what is good food to take with you on a trip. There we looked for food that gives a lot of energy, is healthy, is lightweight and easy to prepare. After these classes we had our first overnight trip to test our gear out and to practice setting our tent up, making a fire and cooking with our stove and gasfire. It was nice to test and practice everything. My gear is all warm enough, the cooking was nice. I only have to practice on my fire making, because in the snow with wet stuff making a fire is new for me and didn’t work so good as I expected.

In the weekends I also didn’t sat still. I worked for my bachelor thesis, did online meetings and activities with my youth movement (KSA), went to do groceries and did my own wash. I also explored the surroundings around the university. I went for a hike and a run in Jegersberg (note: sliding down on ice with jeans is not a good idea). We had a BBQ with the class, which was great to meet and get to know everyone (note: Germany takes our class over). It was a lot of fun, with games and dancing. I also joined another event, where you did with a group some challenges and afterwards a BBQ. It was nice to also meet other international and Norwegian students in this way.

Class photo! (from left to right)

top row: Anna; Kathrin; Sara; Wil(lemijn); Laura; Mira; Ida; Antje; Asger; Wydse; Thomas; Elena; Claire; Laura (me); Nico; Roman; Luca; /; Maike                                        bottom row: Pauline; Toni; Leoni; Laura; Elena; /; Deborah

Weather update: Cold but not as cold as I expected. Even possible to ice skate or walk on the frozen lakes! Also some snowfall (but not a lot)!

COVID-19 update: Really strange to have less and less restrictions here. After some time everything was open, no mandatory mouth mask to wear, back ‘normal’ classes at university, again meeting up with people and doing things. I’m grateful to experience again a more normal life and world.

Quarantine (4 – 13 january)

After a hectic flight, where I lost one of my suitcases (for a short time don’t worry) and got sick on the flight (note: flying is still not my thing),  from Düsseldorf with a stop in Oslo to Kristiansand I finnaly arrived in Norway. Now the adventure really begins! My study of half a year in Norway, outdoor education at the University of Agder (UIA)! But before the adventure really can start I had to go 10 days in quarantine because of COVID-19.

During this time I stayed in Clarion Hotel Ernst in the city centre of Kristiansand. Luckily the quarantine wasn’t as bad as it sounds! It was ten days of exploring the city and the surroundings, ten days of roomservice and ten days to chill in a hotel room.

Kristiansand is a lovely little city at the southern coast of Norway. It is the capital city of the province Agder. The city centre is called ‘Kvadraturen’ and the streets are build like a chessboard pattern. Close to the city centre you find Odderoya and Baneheia.

Odderoya is a peninsula that was very important throughout history. It was military active during the war as a frotress, marine base, quarantaine station, port and cargo space etc. . Now it is a lovely recreational place where you can go on hikes, go for a swim or do rock climbing in the untouched nature. It is also used as a concert venue.

Baneheia was back in the days used as a watch post for the fire station, also located in Baneheia. Now it is just as Odderoya a recreational place (with a sinister background of the Baneheia case). In the beginning of Baneheia you find a lot of lakes, big and small. If you walk further you will come to the Ravnedalen Scene, an open theater. You will also find the dam there. For the rest you will find beautiful hikes in Baneheia with a lot of viewpoints on the way.

I’m glad that I had the time to discover all this places on myself but also with new people. People who also just wanted to go for a hike and socalize and people from my class, who already wanted to meet up. I hiked a lot of times around with my new roommate Claire and with the other dutch persons from my class, Wydse, Luca and Wil(lemijn). It was nice to get to know them already a bit!

My hotel room was nice! I had a double bed for myself, I had a bath and a shower and every day I got delicious things to eat! For example salmon with potatoes, a salad with chicken, rice with chicken and last but not least fiskekaker. Fiskekaker is a typical norwegian dish. It is kind of a fluffy pancake with fish flour. A lot of people hated it, but I liked it very much (so thanks for the people donating their food to me).

The rest of the time I chilled in my room, because it still is a quarantine where I was in. I worked for my bachelor thesis, called with friends and family and joined the online meetings the university organised. They were a lot of fun. We played online games together, watched a movie, did a quiz and also got some practical information about the beginning of the semster and our housing.