As one of the Rotary Camps the exchange students were invited to, we were offered to go on a three day hiking camp in Åre. Åre is a village in Jämtland, Sweden, known for its frequented ski resort (Åre Ski Area) and Municipality. It is one of Scandinavia’s leading ski resorts, and is a “Wonderland” to people who enjoy the outdoors.
When we went to Åre it was near the end of summer and the beginning of fall, so it was not snowing. The exchange students stayed in a large cottage home that the owners rent out to large parties to stay at, and was situated 5 minutes from the Municipality of Åre. The first day we arrived it was at night, so we could make certain that everyone who could come would be able to have a full day of hiking, without the concern of a missed train or bus. We were able to meet other exchange students from the North that didn’t attend our language camp in the South. In addition, exchange students from Australia were also there, and had already completed a little over half of their exchange.
The first night we got to know each other. We first sat down in a small chapel located just next to the cottage and explained some of the rules of the camp. We then made a campfire conveniently right as it began to rain, and went to sleep in our shared rooms.
The next day we woke up bright and early to go hiking up the famed Åreskutan. Although we took a gondola up the hardest part, we had the amazing opportunity to hike down the mountain, or in my case roll down. When we got to the top, there was a small shack that sold coffee and waffles, which all the herds of exchange students overwhelmed. We then took our descent down often passed by brave mountain bikers. After many bruises and pictures later we reached level ground.
The final full day in Åre we took a roadtrip to a nearby lake. We were able to take kayaks and paddleboards out, and had the option to swim if we wanted. They set up beach volleyball and a campfire were the exchange students had to cook the food. When we got back it was a free period for all the exchange student to do what they wanted, so again we had more time to bond.
The last day was only a half-day so we had to pack up before we left for the last hike. We went up a smaller mountain that lead to a river that was bright blue. Unfortunately we couldn’t swim in it due to its need of replenishing after a full summer of people exposing it to pollution. We ate lunch by the river and hiked back. We then got into vans and left for the airport.
Unfortunately for me and three other exchange students, our flights got canceled and the next flight available for us was the next morning. We fetched a taxi and had to find our way to a hotel to stay the rest of the night. After that problem was handled another problem arose, there was no taxi available to pick us up at the right time in the morning. So, we had to find our way to the airport by bus, this was difficult because we had to look in the pouring rain to find the right bus times and bus stop to take us to the airport. In the end we found our way to the airport and were all able to get home.