Rowing the church boats

August 1 – The day started with breakfast at 8 and we left with the bus for a new activity. We went to Orbaden, a place near our base camp. We were divided in two groups, in two church boats. It’s called a church boat because in the past, inhabitants of villages rowed church boats to weddings or other services. They used the church boats because there are many lakes in Sweden and small islands. Some of those places are harder to reach and that’s when the church boats came in handy. Even further back in time, the church boats were already used by the vikings. Well.. not as church boats, more like, travel-adventurer-looking for food-to get somewhere-boats.

With teamwork to Orbaden
In order to function, teamwork is a must. Or else you will not be able to get far with a big boat like that. First of all, we had to learn how to work together and move like 1 person. After a while we managed to control the boat pretty well. So the guides on each boat (the guys from a club that made this all possible) wanted to race. It was kind of a tradition. The Flying Dutchman (my team) against the Black Pearl… Yeah we had to give the boat a name. As soon as it all started, everyone got competitive but it stayed fun. The Black Pearl sung pirate songs and we sung Christmas songs.. haha yeah this was on pretty crazy group.
We were not the only ones that started to sing. The guide of the Black Pearl, got his accordion and started singing (I guess) a Swedish song.

Church boat

We started the race and the Black Pearl won, the second time they lost. Now we rowed for about half an hour and you could really feel it in your arms. Those paddles were huge and the wood made sure your hands knew with what kind of wood they were dealing with. My black pants also started to turn white from all the moving back-and-forth to paddle. All these things weren’t my biggest concerns while rowing, my biggest concern was not to hit the paddle in front of me and not to splash all the water in the boat. Luckily, I had a good relationship with my paddle and it all went good.

Now we almost arrived at the beach but we had to maneuver well through the last part as the sand beneath the water started to ‘rise’. We followed the instructions of our guide. If left had to paddle they did, if right had to paddle, they did. We had all kind of code words for paddling right, left or for words like stop. Feeling like a real viking!
However, we arrived at the small dock of the beach and now it was time to rest. We thanked the guides for the fun (about an hour of paddling). Remarkable was that the guide of the Black Pearl rowed the big boat by himself, back to where we started. Wow.. Strong man.

Orbaden beach

Orbaden beach

Orbaden beach
At the beach we played beach volleyball with almost everyone, we swum, made fun and waited for lunch.
After the call for lunch, we left the beach and walked up one big steep stair. When we finally arrived upstairs, we saw that someone was making pancakes. Swedish pancakes and kind of cheesecake. A Swedish lunch it was! The pancakes were very thick and filled with meat, bacon-ish. It was good but very heavy for the stomach. I had enough with one, a pancake with some home made jam of berries. YUM!
The cheesecake… ehm. Our staff leader, Margaretha made it but nobody liked it.
We had lunch in a wooden cabin. The door wasn’t that big, inside it was very dark but nice. These cabins were already used a long time ago. This made me think of the vikings again. It looked like a viking-cabin.

– Johanna

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