The end of the Nordic Tour

Six weeks ago Mark and I flew into Amsterdam to begin our teaching tour of Europe, sponsored by Tahe Marine. Today, as we transferred the somewhat spread out contents of the van into our two travel bags, it became clear that the tour has reached its end. The six weeks of teaching, paddling and exploring went by very fast, and we leave with new friends and some great memories.

Rolling in Mora.

The final week of the tour first took us from Lofoten, Norway to Mora, a fantastic town just south of the center of Sweden. Mora is known for many things, including its midsummer festivals and its locally made Dala horses. We were warmly greeted and soon felt right at home in a fantastic cottage by the lake.

A man at the Dala horse factory demonstrates how the horses are made.

In Mora we taught three classes on a gorgeous lake and then had an opportunity to explore the following morning. Our wonderful host Magnus took us to the factory where the Dala horses are made, and we watched as staff turned blocks of wood into beautifully painted horses of many sizes.

Hanging out with a Dala horse.

After that we went to Orsa Gronklitt, a bear park not too far from our cottage. It was spectacular, and the animals looked happy and healthy. They had tons of room to roam, and many of the viewing platforms were over the massive enclosures. We watched a Kodiak bear take a bath, a couple of snow leopards playfully battle for who got to sit on the higher stump (the smaller one won) and a couple of polar bears nap on rocks by a large swimming hole.

A Kodiak bear takes a bath.

A traditional kayak in the polar display at the bear park.

After Mora we headed to Nynashamn for a weekend of classes. We met with Pelle and Carina of Nynas Kajak, and they set us up in a room in the adjacent resort hotel. We had a day off before classes began, and all four of us went paddling around the archipelago. We had a wonderful time exploring the incredible surroundings by kayak and ended the day with a soak in the resort’s hot tub and then a fantastic dinner at a boat restaurant in the lively harbor.

Exploring the archipelago.

Sky works on his forward stroke.

For the next two days I instructed two rolling classes and two Greenland technique classes. Mark instructed a two-day BCU 3 Star Training. We had lots of fun with our students, and everyone’s spirits were high, perhaps due to the incredible weather and the resort that surrounded us. After saying our goodbyes and feeling relaxed from several soaks in the hot tub, we made our way back to Marsta to catch up with event organizer Mats von Wowern of Green Island.

Pelle provides local knowledge of the archipelago.

Thanks to Mats, Tahe Marine and all of the wonderful people that kept us fed and watered as we made our way across Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Thanks also to the paddlers that attended our classes. Without you there wouldn’t be a tour. We hope to see you all again next year!

A rolling class.

Tomorrow morning we head back across the Atlantic to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. If you’re in the area stop by the Tahe Marine booth and say hello.

Photos by Mark and Helen.

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