Winter outdoor sports break (Sportlov) with a taste for learning
I am studying for one year a master of Urban Studies at the university of Malmö. This February I want to spend my short winter holiday (Sports break) outdoors in South Sweden with my friends. But, we also want to learn something during this break. Something that is connected to our studies. That’s when I found Ödevata Countryside Hotel through Iwona via the Sustainable Cross-border Destinations project supported by the Swedish Institute. It was a perfect choice for me and my friends.
Ödevata has the unique opportunity to combine nature and sport outdoor activities with learning. My studies has a sustainability focus. Thus, I was keen to find out more about the great sustainability work carried out by Ödevata Countryside Hotel.
Dinner in the Aquaponic Green house
We arrived pretty late the first day. After we checked in we had dinner in the beautiful Aquaponic Green house (Orangery/Conservatory). It was above all a fantastic dining environment; the artistic crystal lamps, candles and sound of water and the dinner which was already waiting for us.
This orangery impressed me a lot: banana and lemon trees, aquariums with tilapia fish in the water tanks. And all that in a cozy glass house.
Outdoor activities during sports break on a Swedish lake in winter time
The next day was the sporty one. To have enough strength for doing sport, we had a healthy breakfast with homemade bread and vegan patés. We complement our breakfast with bananas from trees in orangery.
If you take skates or skis for walking, Ödevata is a perfect place for these activities: the big frozen lake gives you a lot of space for skiing and skating with a great view of the forest, fishing houses and hills. It was the first time I tried ski walking in my life 🙂
If you don’t have skis or skates – you can easily buy ones in local second hand shops (or the marketplace on Facebook pages), these sport activities are highly spread in Sweden in the winter.
Local food and sustainability
After sports activities we had booked some activities offered by the resort. We wanted to try a sauna on the lake to relax. By the lake, there are several small wood-burned saunas (like small cute unusual round shaped wooden buildings).
Becoming really hungry after sport activities, we cooked tortilla for lunch (it is a Spanish omelet) with the local farm eggs. They keep their own free range chickens. Thus, you can buy ecological eggs from Ödevata.
Malin and Magnus, the owners, joined us for lunch and together we planned for the rest of the day. We had booked a small study tour around their sustainability projects. Magnus gave us a brief explanation how to prepare for a winter sauna. For instance he gave us instructions how to start the wood-burned sauna and how to keep it hot. He also explained how to make a whole in the ice.
Winter sauna and a cold bath
Dipping into the freezing water in the lake or laying in the snow after a hot sauna is an unforgettable experience that everyone should try out!
Sustainability projects and Ödevata
I had a lot of fun but more important I learned a lot. Above all, I was highly impressed how sustainable this place is. For example, to heat houses, the owners use leftover wood chips and at the same time they produce biochar that can be used in the plantation. In orangery we saw plants growing in biochar and Magnus and Malin told us more about their eco-system.
Biochar and aquaponics
The most memorable part was getting to know about biochar. When I was planting trees in the large residential areas in Lviv, Ukraine, I learned about forestry residue and wood waste. It is a major problem in the industry, but Malin and Magnus has found a way to use the wood waste in their heating system and even producing biochar at the same time!
Their aquaponics system, where they grow vegetables and fruits on top of a fish tank that recycles the water cleaned by a biochar filter is amazing. It is a sustainable food production system, and they have just recently experience their first fish harvest.
To be honest, I was impressed how passionate about the sustainability they are! They provide us with an excursion, showing all the processes and how everything is interconnected here. You feel this harmony from everywhere: from how the owners are welcoming and open to you, to the beauty and coziness of place in the middle of the forest and at the same time such a lot of varieties of outdoor sport activities you can do even in the winter.
I believe what I learned here, I can share it with my class and even introduce them to this new way of doing sustainability. Overall, it was a fantastic and unforgettable experience! I can’t wait to come back another time!