The trip to Sweden began on Friday 26 January, with the students arriving at the airport throughout the day and slowly making their way to City Hostel.
Once everyone had settled into their rooms, we regrouped and spent some time getting to know each other. Most of the group walked together to the beautiful old town for an optional meal. George, the trip leader, managed to get the group into an authentic Swedish restaurant where the students could try traditional Swedish food, including meatballs, fried herring and even reindeer – all went down a treat!
The following morning, George organised an excellent optional walking tour, which most students attended. During the tour George talked us through the fascinating history of Stockholm and took us to see key areas and places, including Stadshuset City Hall, Riddarholmen Church, Riddarhuset House of the Knights, Riksdagshuset Parliament, National Museum, Storkyrkan the oldest church in Stockholm, Gamla Stan the Nobel Prize Museum Stortorget Square and the Royal Palace. The tour enabled the students to learn about Stockholm’s rich history and culture and helped them decide where to spend their free time.
At the end of the tour, the group watched the changing of the guard ceremony, which was followed by free time to explore the city. From chatting with the students, most spent their afternoons exploring historic museums like the Viking Museum and Vasa Museum or immersing themselves in the world of ABBA in the iconic ABBA museum. Some even partook in the Swedish tradition of Fika, enjoying a coffee and a cinnamon bun. Oh, and of course, visiting the largest IKEA in the world, before heading to the train station to begin the next part of the adventure!
We boarded a sleeper train from Stockholm to Boden, and in the early hours of the morning, we switched trains, which took us to Abisko.
At midday, we arrived in what felt like a winter dream. Everyone grabbed their bags and pulled them through the snowy village to reach Abisko.net, a cosy hostel at the centre of the village. We checked in to the hostel before the students split into groups for their first activity.
One group headed out on a two-hour snowshoe hike with a local guide to see some incredible panoramic views and learn about the way of life in Abisko and all the beautiful wildlife. Meanwhile, the other group enjoyed a two-hour husky ride around the National Park. The students returned to have a couple of hours of free time to explore the Abisko.
We headed down to the frozen lake in the evening to hunt for the Northern Lights. Due to the unusually warm weather, -4 degrees…, we only had a 35% chance of seeing the Northern Lights, but we remained positive! Suddenly, a group of students spotted the Aurora Borealis in the sky. It was incredible to see and the excitement amongst the group was immense.
The following day, each group switched activity. After the students had spent their morning on their activity, there was time for another activity if they had booked in advance. Some students went on a two-hour snowmobile driving experience, and others went ice climbing; both groups of students loved their experiences! Others spent their time enjoying the Swedish Lapland.
At around 16:00, we began our journey back home from Sweden. The group fit so much into a small amount of time and created memories that will last a lifetime.