Over half-term, a group of 29 excited students and four teachers embarked on a five-day adventure to Southern Norway, taking in hiking, caving, sightseeing and snowballing! The purpose of the trip was to enrich our minds with a different culture, food, landscape and experience. Throughout, we became closer with our teachers and friends, as we learned more values which are presented through the Round Square IDEALS including internationalism, environmentalism, leadership and adventure – which we definitely checked the boxes for! Many of us study Geography as one of our GCSE options, so we had the opportunity to see and learn more about the natural landscape we were surrounded by throughout the trip.
On the first day, we said goodbye to our loved ones and arrived later the next day in Bergen. The city is well known as a hub for its unique blend of historic charm, breathtaking nature and buzzing urban atmosphere. However, it is most well known as the capital of fjords in Norway. We walked up to the start of the Floibanen Funicular Railway where we then took a scenic seven-minute journey up Mount Floyen, which took us 320m above sea level for a fantastic panorama of Bergen and the seven mountains. Some of us then decided to walk down from the top, meeting some friendly mountain goats along the way, ready for a delicious meal waiting for us back at the hotel.
Another highlight was when we took a short coach ride to Voringsfossen, Norway’s most famous waterfall, plunging 182m from the plateau. A viewing platform gave us fantastic views of the main drop of 145m into the canyon below. A new footbridge with impressive views took us to a second platform on the opposite side of the gorge, where we took many photos of the dynamic landscape.
We were then whisked off to Hardangervidda where we learnt about the relationship between Norwegian nature, climate and environment through the use of innovative displays. We then set off down the roads, cut through the sides of the mountains, where we had fun in the snow. The next day, we took a guided hike in the Bondhus valley. We were led through a steep sided valley towards the Bondhus glacier, an offshoot of the Folgefonna glacier which descends almost 1,000m. We viewed the glacier from a distance and learned about glaciology, local history and the geology of the valley. For me, this really captured the beauty of Norway, where we got to experience it for ourselves. We had the opportunity to go caving, as a break from the hike. This was incredible, and definitely not what I expected we would do!
Another highlight was the ‘Norway in a nutshell tour’ where we saw some of the best views of Southern Norway in one day. We explored the gorges of the Flåm railway, braved the steep hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva by bus and saw the breathtaking mountain scenery on the tranquil fjord cruise.
The Flåm railway is the world’s steepest railway that runs without cable or rack wheels. It flew past thundering waterfalls with a photo stop at a special platform to experience Kjosfossen. On the last day, we visited Steinsdalsfossen. The remarkable 50m high waterfall is one of Norway’s most famous (and most-visited) sights. A path led us behind the water as it plunged into the river where we endured the light spray of the waterfall.
These were just some of the highlights from the incredible trip to Norway which I will never forget. After Leaving Norway, I realised how much I had really learnt after being there. I really enjoyed learning about a different way of life, surrounded by the irresistible and natural environment Norway is so famously known for. It made me really reflect on life as a whole and how nature can be so vast yet beautiful. I’m sure everyone else who came would also agree.