After getting up early and traveling to Heathrow and then to Stockholm, the group was pleased to arrive at their hotel, the Wasa Park Hotel on the outskirts of the city. They had a meal at a local restaurant, and although the Pizzas were larger than the plates, everyone enjoyed.
As part of their first full day in Stockholm, the group went first to visit the city and City Hall, going on a tour of the iconic building. Then they walked through the city on the way to the water taxi which they took to the Museum of the Vasa, a ship that sank in the 1700s but was discovered and restored in the 1960s, stopping for lunch on the way. The next place that the group went to was the Gallefrian Shopping Centre where they had the opportunity to do some shopping. They then had the chance to go back to the hotel to have a little break, after which they were back out into the city center to have dinner on their last night in the city at T.G.I. Friday’s.
The morning after that, it was time to pack before traveling back to Arlanda Airport on the outskirts of Stockholm to make the trip up to Luleå and then Kalix.
The group landed at Luleå Airport that afternoon, where they were met by two teachers from Furuhedsskolan, Matts and Maria, who were going to drive to Kalix. After a small jump in the snow, a quick visit and a castle built of snow in Lulea, and a little history about the old section of Luleå, they were on their way to Kalix.
The plan for the night was to go to have food to welcome the visitors to Kalix, with teachers from the school and the pupils who were hosting the Lampeter group, to welcome everyone and have the opportunity to meet once again. Some Swedish pupils were made to come to the house where the Lampeter Group was staying, to direct them to the restaurant.
After a lovely evening with food and entertainment, pupils from both countries made a return to Prästagården to socialize further by playing cards and talking. This became a tradition, and every night they were there, enjoying themselves and enjoy laughing until late into the night.
As part of their first day at Kalix, the crew to the opportunity to take a tour around the school, observing classes and speaking with different teachers, had lunch in the school canteen and went ice skating. Everyone regardless of their ability, but some felt a little sore after half an hour on the ice. Afterward, they returned to Prästagården before going out again for an evening with their hosts.
They were required to get up early on Friday morning, to reach Finland with plenty of time to visit and Museum Arktikum before going on to visit Santa! A group of different Swedish pupils went along with the Welsh group, so the long trip is a chance to make new friends with pupils from Furuhedsskolan’s year below. While in Lapland in Finland, some of the group did see a tree decorated with flags of different countries are the world, and noticed that an important flag was missing! Luckily Gareth had brought a Welsh flag to Sweden, and set about correcting the tree.
There was another night out with the hosts again that evening and, upon returning, it was back to Prästagården to socialize again.
To visit the Ice Hotel near Kiruna up, some 300km from Kalix, they needed to rise earlier still! Luckily they managed to raise everyone, and by half past seven the bus was on its way, with Bro Pedr pupils and their hosts onboard. Before visiting the Ice Hotel itself, the pupils visited Kiruna, a nearby town, to learn about its history. Whole areas of Kiruna have had to be moved to the other side of town, due to the iron mining underneath. They took them around the town hall, a church and the adjoining two buildings within the area which would be affected in the coming years.
What came next was the highlight of the day, the Ice Hotel was amazing. There was the chance to walk around some of the rooms designed by different artists as well as the church, and then have a drink in the bar, out of cups made of ice! It was then time to return to Kalix, but not before visiting a moose farm and have a meal very similar to cawl, but with moose! Unfortunately, the moose had disappeared into the woods, but there was still an opportunity for the group to see and feed deer.
We spent most of the last day at the local ski center where the group have the opportunity to try different activities in the company of the Swedish pupils. Everyone had a chance to ride a snowmobile, and some went downhill skiing whilst others went cross country. On their return they were offered a short tour around the church nearby to where they stayed, before the evening meal goodbye. Food in the restaurant was followed by kind words from Maria, Bro Pedr’s teachers, Mrs Thomas and Mrs James, and then everyone sung a mix of Welsh songs and Swedish. The young people went back to Prästagården to enjoy each other’s company for the last time. They played cards, discussed, and exchanged promises to go to visit each other in the summer.
The last day of the trip came much too quickly, and prepared get up early by packing the night before, the group is ready, if not happy, to begin the journey home.
By Angharad Owens (Yr 13)