Our Autumn Holiday

Holidays in Finland

We had our autumn holidays in Finland and what is the best thing to do when you have holidays. Traveling off course! So that’s what we did. This blog will be written by Isabell from Germany, Sanne, Lieke and Meike from The Netherlands. Everyone has written something about their experience during the holidays. Isabell and Sanne went to Sweden to spend their holidays there and Lieke went to Estonia (Talinn) and Meike went to Russia (Sint-Petersburg).

Off to Sweden!

After having had adventures in Finland for six weeks, we were ready for something new. So we decided to leave this lovely country and take the ferry to Sweden! The boat trip was amazing. We sailed through the stunning islands on the coast at sunrise and through the archipelago of Åland during the afternoon.

Although we expected Sweden to be very much like Finland, we soon found that both the countries are quite different. Not only was nature in Sweden (slightly) different from that in Finland, the people turned out to be different too. Only when we arrived in Stockholm, we realized that Helsinki and Finland in general have quite a special atmosphere. Only after we left the country, we found out that Fins are in general quieter than Swedes, Germans, Dutchies or other Europeans. We met a man on the ferry who told us that the history of Finland has something to do with this. We have not researched it yet, but it is definitely food for thought!

We stayed in Stockholm for two nights. Although the city was nice, we were longing to go to the countryside again, so we did. We decided that we wanted to go to Fulufjället National Park, a park which we chose because its landscape is so different from the Finnish scenery. We thought we could hitchhike there, since hitchhiking in Finland works very well. After we had waited for five hours in Stockholm, however, we realized that the Swedes might be a bit less open for it than the Fins. We decided to take a train out of the city and try it again. Although we did get a few rides this time, we did not reach the park by night, as we had hoped. So we picked out a stunning spot along the highway and we camped there, with the beautiful background noises of passing cars.

Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Hitchhiking

The next day, we took the bus to the National park. Or so we thought; the nearest bus stop was 30 kilometres from the park though. So we walked. And walked. And walked. We, again, found a beautiful place to camp, this time on a parking place next to the road. Luckily, an employee from Fulufjället National Park gave us a ride to the park the next day, and we finally reached our destination!

The park was absolutely amazing. We will not even try to describe it with words, we will just illustrate it with a few of the pictures we took.

Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Fulufjallen National Park
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Waterfall
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer lake in fullufjallen National Park
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Thundra
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Making fire wood
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Hut in the National Park

The whole journey was an adventure education experience for us and we learned a lot from it. Hitchhiking, for example, taught us to be patient and to control our emotions. Because our trip had some unexpected turns, we also learned to accept it if not everything happens according to the plan. We learned much by doing, and we even practiced our camping and hiking skills! It was a lot of fun!

Off to Russia!

My name is Meike and I’m from The Netherlands. During my Erasmus in Finland I went to Russia to spend my days off. I chose for Russia because I will never get the change to go there. From Finland it’s so much easier to go there without visa troubles. I booked my trip to Sint Petersburg with the organization TimeTravels. This organization organize trips specially for students. So that was for us, Erasmus students, a really nice opportunity to go. So now I will tell you something about my experience!

We left Finland by boat, it was a really big cruise ship. The boat was called Princess Anastasia. I never been on a cruise ship so I was a bit nervous. I couldn’t expect how it would be to sleep on a boat and how to party on a boat. Yes, we could party on the boat. There were different places on the boat where you could eat, drink or party. After a nice show on the boat, there was time to party!

The next day we had to wake up early because we had to leave the boat on time. We were ready to go off the boat but we had to wait very very long. We arrive in Russia. They are really strict at the borders, so it took a really long time that we could go over the borders. There was a long line in front of the passport control. After 5 hours in total we finely arrive Saint-Petersburg.

After a short tour through Saint-Petersburg we arrived at the hostel. The hostel was totally new. I never slept in a hostel like that. Big kitchen, big rooms, big bathrooms witch we only had to share with 4 and WIFI on every room.
When we arrived at the hostel we had to prepare for the ballet. With a small group we went to the ballet, Swanlake. I think it was impressive. I never been to ballet in the Netherlands but because Russia is well known about their good dancers, I really want to visit it. It was worth it!

So after a nice sleep in the hostel, we woke up early because we wanted to join the free walking tour. During the tour we got a lot of information about the history of Russia and we saw almost the whole center of Saint-Petersburg. Even when the sun was shining my hand and feet were really cold and they were turning blue. That was the sign to go inside. After a nice (cheap) lunch, we continue exploring the city on our own. We visit some highlights in the city and off course we took a look at the souvenirs.
After walking for the whole day it was time to eat. We went to the hard rock café, it was placed next to the hostel. We ate a lot of spareribs and drank a few cocktails and off course we could go away without drinking a shot of vodka. That was the beginning of a party night in Saint-Petersburg. In the hostel we continued drinking nice drinks and afterwards we went to the club. The club was open for only all the students who were traveling with TimeTravel. That was a really big group!

The next day we woke up early too because we had to check-out. This day we were travelling back to Helsinki but first we visit the Hermitage museum. This is a really big museum placed in the Winter Palace. In the museum you saw a lot of gold, Russia is well known about their gold buildings and architects. And afterward is was already time to travel back. We arrived at the cruise again, but this time the party was not that big anymore. Everybody was tired of the trip and some students had to travel further to Talinn by boat. So they needed their sleep. So when we arrived in Helsinki the holiday was over.

Back to school again!

Off to Talinn!

Everyone went their own way during the autumn holidays. What did we have wild ideas and cool destinations on the schedule.

So many of us went to visit the neighboring country Estonia. The capital Tallinn is from Helsinki only two hours by boat. Tallinn has an old city center where you feel like you have entered a time machine. You think you are in medieval spheres. Wonderful to immerse yourself for a day or even more.

The city has a lot of history, during a guided walk we have heard a lot of information about the city. This was very interesting! Because did you know that Estonia was in the hands of: Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Russia?! And besides that there are many interesting and beautiful facts told. The city has had a city wall for a long time and parts of it have been preserved and transformed into a museum. At one of the many viewpoints you almost feel like a prince or princess who can be admired to his or her city. The magical colors of autumn and the last rays of the sun have certainly helped with this image, but even without it it’s pretty nice 😉

Besides the beautiful views, beautiful buildings and the medieval feeling. Tallinn is also worth a visit for cozy eateries where they also serve delicious food! All in all Tallinn is a cozy and nice city to be and definitely a must!

Once back on campus, we were flooded with holiday stories! Delicious. We are on half of our education, which means that our Finnish adventure will be over again in 6 weeks. Time flies! Fortunately, we still have a lot of beautiful things the prospect. Starting with the schools on the move project that we started last week! You will read more about that in the next blog!!


Foto made by Laura Verstraete

Foto made by Laura Verstraete

 

 

Our trip to Pallas National Park

So the last weeks were very exciting. We went to Pallas National Park for a hike. Also we got more classes at the campus whose where very interesting.

Pallas hike

In those two last weeks our adventure experience had grown considerably, first we went on our hiking trip to Pallas and we stayed there 4 days. If we have to describe our hiking trip in one word, we’d say that it’s a rollercoaster, we experienced as a group all tips of emotions, but at the end everyone enjoyed all parts of it. The first day, before our hiking trip, we ate a reindeer soup, which it gave us enough energy to walk the first 6km to Nammalakuru: meeting point where we were camping that night. As we were walking we enjoyed the first beautiful views of the national park, and we learned to write our names in the books that we found in each hut. After putting our tents in Nammalakuru, we started the workshops. Thanks to those, we learned how to cut the wood with a knife and an axe without hurting our self, and last but not least we learned all man rights which it teaches how to behave and respect the nature. Now we are able to cut the woods independently without the help of our instructors.

The second day of our hiking trip, all tents group were divided in different groups, that way we had the chance to be with other people. Before we started hiking we did some warmups, everyone had to came up with a physical exercise, then we chose a leader and a backup. Everyone had the chance to be a leader and a backup during the hike, we changed roles every time that we stopped to take a break. The tasks that the leader had to do were guiding the group during a while, decide when and where the group should stop to have lunch or water, and make sure if the other members of the group are okay. We walked 14km, and we hiked in Lumikero that was 680 meters high. We arrived to Hanakulu and after we accommodated our gear in the huts, we went to a traditional sauna, were we had a lake closer to it. The sauna was really small, and we had to shear it with other women, to make some space some of us went to swim in the lake and then come back running, because it was freezing. After the boys came back from the Sauna, we had a meeting with our instructors inside the hut. In the meeting we had a reflection, about how the day went, and what kind of mental, social and physical struggles we had during the day, everyone had the chance to explain and express their own experience. After the meeting we had some free time, but we were very tired that everyone went early to sleep.

The third day of our hiking trip, we started with a relaxing activity, everyone had to walk in silence the first kilometre, and we had to keep at least 15 meters between each other, so we managed to be completely alone and in contact with the nature. One of the challenges and also hazard that we had that day was the weather, it was really cold, and every time that we advanced in our hike the rain and the fog was getting heavier. At the end of the day some of us had some wet gear, but we managed well. Before our reflection meeting we went to the reindeer fenches and we learned some information about them, and that they were a sign of wealth, so we guess that the farmers that owned them are rich. We went back to the hut, we started a fire and all of us sited around it, while we were having our last reflection.

The last day we made our hiking trip independently, the instructors indicated us which way we should follow and where we were meeting to have lunch, this time all together. The meeting place was a hut next to a beautiful lake. We rested there until it was time to hike to the main street to get in the bus that was taking us to Akaslompolo. We made some knife and groceries shopping, and after that we all had pizza for dinner.

Pallas reflection

The week after the hike it was time for the reflection. Everyone off us had to write their own reflection on paper and had it done by Friday. On Monday we had an independent study day, so we could work on the reflection.

On Tuesday we had our reflection lesson from Sini. She explained why reflection was so important and told us how we could make it our own. We got also an assignment in groups to make a reflection in different styles. Each group did make an other sort of reflection. There was a PowerPoint presentation, slide show, poem, mime and a drawing. It was very interesting how everybody made the reflection. Below you can see some of the work.

A showcase made by Azzura, Sara and Isabell:

PALLAS

We started our Hiking adventure all together

The intense emotions we felt will stay in our hearts forever

Pallas and its beautiful nature looked like a dream

Especially during Rykima the colours were supreme

With each challenge we overcame

We did become stronger in the confidence game

We advent to a more pure state of mind

Hiking is the best way to unwind

It has a way to make you feel lighthearted

Unless someone in the hut intensely farted

A trip like this can get real frustrating

But at the same time illuminating

the exciting feeling we get

is something we’ll never forget

Luckily nobody brought a gun

that would ruin the fun

We learned to calm our mind

But now it’s time to leave the forest behind

On my heart Pallas left a stain

I want to do it all over again

– Ruben, Noor, Caymen & Chris –

 

Slideshow made by Sjeel, Paulina and Meike.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GjnQ5WrUmo

A pictures of the mime, made by Lieke, Marc, Paulien, Nomedia

Campus Life

When we got home from the hike our postbox was full of cards! Was very nice to read all the nice letters from home. Also all the letters are nice to decorate our rooms, so it feels I little bit more like home.

The first two days after Pallas were cozy. We had the chance to get some sleep – whose we really needed after three nights in tents and two nights in a train and to start our reflection. The new week started with an Opening Day organized by Finnish students of Humak. We got the chance to get in touch with other people in little games and to give an overview of us in a presentation, whose was rounded by a video.

VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQirr7f5Qo0

We spend the next days out- and inside with learning how to safe ourselves and our buddies when we’re going indoor climbing, which gear we need to do that and how to build a low rope park. We think everybody’s special highlight was the box climbing. Sjeel, Sara and Marc climbed up 20 crates!

With the start of the weekend, we got the task to write an essay about the history of Adventure Education, which felt like the start for the theoretical base for us. This came out also this week. After a lot of sports and being outdoors, we had a whole week of lectures about leadership and group management and got group tasks. However, that didn’t mean to sit a whole day in a classroom and being bored because one of it is to organize independent hiking and paddling trips, where safety is our best friend again 😉

Our free time after the hike and lessons was well spend. Some people went to Helsinki for the weekend. They went clubbing and the next day they went to the trampoline park, which was really awesome! Also people went for day trips to Helsinki to visit the beautiful island Soumenlinna, or just went to some museums. Nomedia went to the city museum of Helsinki, she advises others to go there also! A bunch of people did go for a afternoon climbing and they had a lot of fun!

We are very exciting what is coming the next few weeks. And also we are looking forward to the vacation. People planned lots of things like trips to home, Sint Petersburg, Tallin, Riga and of course Pallas.

Moi Moi!

Written by: Sjeel, Paulina and Nomedia.