From the 14th to the 16th of November, the Say Hi to Sustainability team in Norway visited HI Rauland. Vanessa, a participant from last year, had already visited Rauland and fell in love with the hostel and with the people there. Rauland is a small town in Telemark Kommune, where a Norwegian folk University and an Academy for Folk studies are located. The students learn about Norwegian traditions, such as music, traditional culinary, bunad confection, wood and metal work. The hostel is located in the same grounds as the university and the academy, and some of their guests are people taking some of the many courses offered there.
We arrived on a Wednesday evening and as soon as we got to the hostel, we were invited to take part in a traditional folk-dance lesson. The students were having a get together in small cabin near the hostel, where the traditional dance from the Telemark region was being taught. Folk-dance in Norway varies from region to region, with different pacing (tempo) and spinning. We tried to learn some steps, and we felt the effects of the class on the next day on our legs – due the amount of squatting in the middle of the dance!
Wednesdays are also the days in which the bar in the University is open, and we met Johanna who was working as a bartender that night. Johanna is a student at Rauland, and she was the responsible for starting a student garden in the campus. You can read more about the student garden here.
Since Vanessa had already been to Rauland to check out their initiatives, the main goal of our trip was to explain the HIQ&S certification to the hostel staff and see how we could help HI Rauland achieve it. Ingrid, the hostel manager, is very engaged with sustainability and saw the importance of having a quality and sustainability management system for the hostel, as well as a certification to prove their efforts towards a greener hostel. Though at first we had several questions from the staff on the reasons of doing HI-Q/S, at the end of our presentation we felt that they were very engaged and excited about achieving the certification.
Rauland is a charming place in the middle of Norway, for those looking for a peaceful and pleasant stay! The hostel is cozy and welcoming, and the scenery around it is stunning. From the hostel, you can take a short hike through a forest to a gorgeous lake, all very well signalized with information around the path. We really enjoyed our stay in Rauland and we were excited to see the several sustainable initiatives already in place there and thrilled to see many more to come!
Written by: Renato Albernaz and Yousra Makanse
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