For the past 12 days we from Say HI to Sustainability team Norway have travelled around Northern Norway to visit hostels there part of the Hostelling International (HI) network. The aim of our trip was to spread information about our project, see which sustainable initiatives each hostel already had in place and help them create and implement sustainable ideas. We travelled from the 12th to the 24th of January and visited a total of 5 hostels: HI Sortland, HI Kabelvåg, HI Ballstad, HI Å and HI Bodø.
Our trip started out in Sortland. HI Sortland, also known as Mortens Krukke (Morten’s Jar), is the newest hostel part of HI Norway. They joined the association last November, and only have a total of 10 beds, giving them the title of the smallest hostel in HI Norway – small, but very cozy! There in Sortland we met Morten, the hostel’s owner and manager, a very friendly and talkative Norwegian who really identifies himself with the HI mission and vision.
During our 3 days in Sortland, we had the chance to see a lot of the hostel and its surroundings. The main building used to be an old barn, and the land where the hostel is located has been in Mortens’ family for several generations, so it is full of history. Morten organized an event where we had the chance to present our project and the HI mission to the local press and also meet some local producers of woollen and fermented products, such as kombucha and kimichi. On the following days, we got the chance to feed some reindeers from a local sami descendent that is a close friend of Morten, see the northern lights from our hostel windows and get amazed by the nature around the hostel.
Sortland is the biggest city in the Vesterålen region and a great hub for people travelling around Lofoten and Senja. In the end of our stay we discussed with Morten how he could partner up with local producers to offer experiences and authentic local products to the guests, and other ways that he could make the hostel more sustainable.
From Sortland we made our way down to Lofoten and paid a visit to HI Kabelvåg. During the most of the year, HI Kabelvåg is a folkeskolen offering subjects such as skiing, surfing, photography and rock climbing (pretty cool!), but during the summer, the school becomes a hostel. We only spent a day in Kabelvåg, but during that day we got the chance to understand better how the school works, how the hostel works and how both complement each other. Trine, the hostel manager, took us to see a few of their actions towards sustainability, such as how they deal with their trash, with the nature around them and also the initiatives they already have in place for the guests, such as book swap shelf and a board games corner.
Last year HI Kabelvåg became HI-Q certified, and we certainly believe they are already prepared to also achieve the sustainability part of the certification, and become a HI-Q&S certified hostel.
From Kabelvåg we moved to HI Ballstad, but we will talk about it on our next post! Keep following! 🙂
Written by: Renato Albernaz and Yousra Makanse
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