As mentioned in my last post, I am studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, this semester through a program called DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad). The program offers different adventure trips and tours throughout the semester, called DIScovery Trips for students who wish to explore areas beyond Copenhagen. I participated in one this past weekend called Finland: Snow and Sauna.
Since I missed out on the Juno snowstorm that covered UNH last week, the Finnish snow was the most amount of snow I’ve seen since being abroad. We stayed at an inn about 30 minutes from Helsinki, next to a frozen lake and many snow-covered hills and forests.
On day one, we participated in a wide variety of snowy activities! We began simply by playing around–building snowmen and making snow angels. Then we had the opportunity to try kick sledding — a cross between ice skating and riding on a scooter. Afterwards, we practiced curling on the ice. Although I probably would never qualify for an Olympic-level team, it was still fun trying out something new! We then proceeded farther down the lake to a series of holes to practice ice fishing. Only one person caught a small fish, while I managed to hook myself on my snow pants and gloves! To warm up from all the snow in the afternoon, we then made campfires in a nearby cabin. Once warmed up, we went back outside to play some games in the snow. The daytime activities ended with a quick round of snowshoeing and sledding.
Since the theme of the trip was snow and sauna, we had the opportunity to try a traditional Finnish sauna after a long day in the cold! The idea was that we had to earn our sauna privilege by going into the freezing cold lake water first! I went first to get it over with but we all stayed in the sauna until our skin was dry and red to compensate for our numbness.
Day two was shorter since we had to catch a flight back to Copenhagen in the afternoon. We went on a snowshoe hike into an open field blanketed with more powdered snowfall from the night before. Our last activities were sledding races and a relay race before packing up our belongings for a tiring, but short journey back home.
I am very happy I participated in this trip. I have never been to Finland before, nor have I done most of the activities we did on the trip before! Although it doesn’t compare to the amount of snow my friends and family back home have been experiencing, it was still fun going to a new country with new people to do things I would probably not get to do at home too often!