Wyjazd do Norwegii
MY DIARY – STUDENTS’ ENCHANGE – LOM - JULY 2012
1ST – 2ND JULY
We set off to Lom early in the morning on 1st July and reached Norway late in the afternoon next day. So it’s not difficult to calculate that our coach journey was very long and tiring. However, these difficulties were compensated by stunning views, which we could observe over the bus windows. The most we liked old districts of Hamburg, where red brick blocks of flats are surrounded by tiny green parks, as well as the landscapes, which we could see from the longest bridge in Europe, that joins Denmark and Sweden.
The further we went the steeper and more narrow roads were and the day became longer. We were getting closer and closer to the North Pole. Our curiosity was also growing. We asked ourselves many questions: What would we find in Lom? What would this town look like? Would it be totally different than Garwolin? How would we live for the next few days? Would we get our own beds or have to sleep on the floor as it was said in the information brochure. And Norwegians? What would they be like? Would they be similar to us? Would we be able to communicate with each other without any problems? Would our English be fluent enough?
Finally, we got to Lom. Firstly, we were welcomed in a very kind way by the project coordinator Mr Kristbjorn Rossehaug. A man, who looks like Santa Clouse, is open-minded and has got an enormous heart for other people. After that we were shown around our new “house” – local school. Then we unpacked our luggage and went to have supper prepared by Norwegians.
What a relief! After few short conversations it turned out that Norwegians are extremely polite and open people. We had small problems with our English but first steps were taken and we could see our future in Lom in bright colours.
Shortly after this nice meal the Dutch group arrived and everything changed. We were totally shocked. They entered the school accompanied by loud music and dominated the whole space. We looked at each other, standing still and asking ourselves only one question: How would we be able to bear these people throughout the week? We perfectly knew that our exchange was organized under slogan nature, tolerance and adventure but only then we understood that tolerance in practice can be an interesting experience for us.
It was getting late but nature around didn’t show that it was almost midnight. The sky was clear and bright. Yet we were too tired to think about nothing but Polish sleeping bags and Norwegians mats. Yes, our worries came true – we were going to sleep on the floor.
When you fall asleep the sun shines, when you get up it shines even more. Is there anything more that you could wish? Yes, of course. Norwegians breakfast. Once again the meal was prepared by our new Norwegian friends and consisted of many products and dishes. Among which the most delicious was traditional Norwegian bread baked in local bakery and regional cheese.
Just after breakfast we were divided by our leaders into mixed international groups. Later these groups were responsible for cooking and cleaning during our stay in Lom. The main idea connected with this activity was to delegate work equally among all participants of our camp. However, it quickly turned out that additionally it gave us a great possibility to know our foreign friends better, observe them and practice English.
Before the midday we were invited by Norwegians to take part in a short walk. Our coordinator told us that we were going to climb Tronoberget Mountain, which is quite easy to reach and it would take us only an hour to get to the top. Students from his school go up and down this mountain during one PE lesson. Unfortunately, he overestimated our abilities. We weren’t as fit as Norwegians and the trip to the top took us much longer. What is more, we noticed that the word “steep” has different meanings for different nationalities. Even though the mountain wasn’t very high (only 886m), it was a big challenge for most of us and as it turned out later an excellent introduction to other adventures.
This was a cultural day. Firstly we visited an old wooden church. Inside this monument we met local guide, who told us not only about church’s history but also described ancient Norwegian customs. We learned that the church before became Christian it had been pagan temple, what is proved by presence of paintings of mystic creatures on the walls.
Then we were invited on a trip to local Museum of Village. This place was quite similar to village museums that we have in Poland e.g. near Lublin. Both in Polish and Norwegian museums there are plenty of old wooden houses as well as rural equipment that are difficult to find on contemporary farms. There was only one exception – a TV set. But it wasn’t an exhibit. It played a different role. Using this TV we could watch a film showing an interesting way of building irrigation system with the help of devices similar to big spoons or spades. We also noticed that in Lom’s crest there are three such “spoons”. At first sight it could be strange but if you think more carefully you can come to a point that these devices were really helpful and probably had great influence on surviving in such a harsh mountain conditions.
We had to weak up earlier to get ready for the trip. That day we weren’t going to sleep in familiar Lom’s high school but in the camp somewhere in the mountains. We ate our breakfast in a hurry because most of us wanted to leave necessary equipment (sleeping bags, tents, food) in the bus before it set off to our campsite. We were supposed to take with us only light backpack with sandwiches and water. The rout was planned to take us almost whole day but it was sure that we wouldn’t get bored.
We were trekking through forest and fields, mountain paths where it wasn’t difficult to meet cows and sheep. We were hiking in mixed international groups so shortly after we left Lom only conversations in English could be heard. It greatly helped in integration of our groups.
We reached our campsite late in the afternoon. All our things were waiting for us. However, that time there wasn’t any possibility to eat ordinary supper. We had to put on fire. Firstly, we collected some dry wood – but only old branches, Norwegians take great care of their environment and try not to destroy it without need. Then we prepared 5 small fires, where we could heat up our sausages and hamburgers. After the meal we had possibility to entertain ourselves. Some of us started storytelling next to the biggest fire, others were singing well-known songs and finally quite a large group of us started playing a game called water baseball. The rules of this game were similar to traditional baseball. The only difference was the place were we played, because we didn’t use an ordinary pitch but be played it next to the mountain stream and it’s not difficult to guess that we got wet very quickly. Additionally, we didn’t have professional equipment so we used some old boards and tennis ball. The score? It was impossible to estimate because team members were changing very often. But it wasn’t the most important for us, we simply had fantastic time.
The day was ending but it was still bright and nobody wanted to fall asleep. However, leaders decided that it was time for us and we went back to our campsite. Most of us went to sleep in tents but there were few brave people who decided to sleep under the sky – clear and bright without any signs showing that it was almost midnight.
We spent whole night at the campsite somewhere in the mountains. There were no hotels so we slept in tents and we had an agreement that we would sleep as much as we wanted. Yet, the ground wasn’t the best place for having a rest and in consequence most people got up quite early. We prepared our breakfast, of course on the fresh air, and we set off in our journey back to Lom.
Once again we had possibility to admire amazing views similar to ones that we can see on postcards. We also noticed that Lom wasn’t very far but previous day we took longer path, which goes round the mountain.
We reached Lom in lunchtime but we didn’t have much time to have a rest, because shortly after lunch Norwegians were going to take us to a nearby climbing park. So we had a quick shower, repacked our backpacks and one hour later we were in the park.
In the beginning, all of us got special climbing equipment, helmets and harness to protect us from falling down from high trees. Then we participated in a short training course which helped us to estimate the risk and of course our abilities. After that we started a real climbing. The routs had different levels of difficulty. However, all were quite demanding and we had to put a lot of effort to succeed. We got many bruises but it was worth it and I’m sure that if we had possibility to repeat this adventure, we would do it again.
Late in the afternoon we went back to Lom. After night spent in tens and tiring exercises in the climbing park we were able to think about nothing but our sleeping bags. That day we fell asleep very early.
We got up almost at dawn because we were going to Norwegian glacier and that day was supposed to be very tiring. After a quick meal we took our backpacks and got into buses to go up in the mountains. We travelled for about an hour passing old mountain farms and sheep herds. The road was very steep and narrow and there were moments when we were afraid that our bus would fall down into valley. Fortunately, it didn't happen and we reached the top of very high mountain. There was a mountain shelter from which climbers usually set off to get to the highest mountain in Norway. We got off the buses and we were totally shocked. The temperature up in the mountains was very low (about 2C) and additionally wind was blowing. Consequently, we quickly got dressed in everything what we had in our backpacks: scarves, anoraks, gloves and caps....
When we were ready a guide took us to a cave, which was dug in the glacier. The cave seemed to be a labyrinth in which narrow corridors are joined with each other in the middle creating a kind of a tiny hall or cinema. In the centre of this artificial cinema there was a projector surrounded by benches made of ice. There we watched a film about prehistoric reindeer hunters.
Having visited the cave we went back to the shelter and we got information that the weather conditions wouldn't let us go to the glacier. It was extremely cold and foggy. In consequence leaders decided that we would go down and visit a cave that was near to Lom. That cave wasn’t made of ice but it also provided us with a lot of excitement. We had to go thorough narrow dark wet and steep tunnels having only small light attached to our helmets. It was thrilling and exciting at the same time.
Camping in the mountains, climbing high peaks or ice cave – it was nothing in comparison to what we experienced on our last day in Lom. We took part in water-rafting on Otta River. It sounds quite normal but for most of us it was a great challenge.
After breakfast we went by bus to special park located near Otta River where we got all necessary equipment: wetsuits, lifejackets, helmets, paddles and of course a Portuguese instructor. He taught us how to make use of our hand and paddles in order to survive during that trip. Then we set off.
Firstly, we thought that it would be an easy task but when we saw the real image of Otta River our faces went white. The river was flowing really fast; moreover it was deep and freezing. Our instructors assured us that nothing bad would happen but it was difficult to believe them. In consequence they decided to encourage us a little bit and they turned our boats up-side-down. What a shock! We fell into cold water, drunk it but nothing dangerous happened and few minutes later we were still alive again in our boats with hearts beating with excitement, wanting more and more. And it was not the end of our adventure.
After water-rafting our instructors gave us possibility to participate in another extreme sport – cannoning. In this sport, you have to go along river’s bed. Consequently, if you meet on your way a waterfall you have to treat it like a natural slide, or simply jump down or climb using ropes and special harness. When you observe these activities form river’s bank they seem to be quite easy but when you take part in them, you have to overcome many fears and be concentrated all the time. This sport was demanding and only some of us got to the end of the rout. Even though, we had time of our life.
Early in the afternoon we went back to Lom. It was our last evening in this beautiful town and leaders decided that we should prepare a cultural evening and after that a farewell meeting.
During the cultural evening all nationalities presented their countries. We showed a short presentation containing information about Poland and our region, taught our friends some Polish phrases and danced traditional Polish dance – Polonez. Our performance was rewarded by lively reaction of the audience. In the end we gave small gifts to our friend. In paper bags with our school logo there were some folders and brochures promoting our region and some Polish sweets like “Michałki” and “Krówki”.
Dutch organized two contests popular in their country, showed several short stories and invited us to dance very energetic dance popular with Dutch children. Norwegians presented a fairy tale telling the story of three pigs and troll, and asked everybody to dance waltz with them.
We had a great time and it was difficult to imagine that in a moment we would have to go back home. We thanked our hosts and friends from Netherlands for fantastic welcome and nice stay. There was no end in saying goodbye and it was sure that we would miss them. It turned out that living under one roof and experiencing the same difficulties brought us closely together. And back then we weren’t teenagers from three very different countries but we were one group of young people who believe that tolerance is very important and we should do everything to introduce this value to our everyday life.
Zapraszamy do Galerii