Dash to Denmark!

Wednesday 27th February 2019

Last April Lorna and Sophie, two of our Young Leaders here at Girlguiding Edinburgh,  were selected to represent Girlguiding Scotland on an unforgettable trip to Scandinavia – touring around Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland as part of the 'Dash to Denmark' challenge.

Lorna, Sophie and their teammates raced against other Girlguiding Scotland members to visit famous landmarks and complete an assortment of challenges such as taking the most creative selfie, trying to speak Danish and tasting their local delicacies. Here they tell us all about their Scandi adventures...

Sophie's story

I was lucky enough to go on an amazing and unforgettable INTOPS trip along with 11 other girls from all over Scotland. We travelled around Scandinavia exploring four countries in the space of a week! The whole trip built up to the Girlguiding Scotland wide game called 'Denmark Dash', which was being held in beautiful Copenhagen.

Our adventure began on Easter Sunday as we flew to Oslo, Norway! In Oslo, we saw breathtaking views of the whole city from the top of the Opera House. The next day got fully immersed in Viking culture at the Viking ship museum. We wasted no time on our whirlwind tour and straight away flew to freezing cold Helsinki. Here, much to my surprise, I really enjoyed the contemporary art museum and took the once in a lifetime opportunity to jump straight into the below zero outdoor swimming pool! We even took pictures of us standing barefoot in the snow!

The next night, we slept overnight on the ferry heading for Sweden. In Stockholm, we went to my favourite part of the trip - the Abba Museum! We all became even closer friends than before as we belted out Abba tunes on the karaoke machines and danced on stage to Mamma Mia! Then we all visited (and got completely lost) in the world's largest and oldest IKEA. We even got to eat the meatballs! Then in our final stop before Copenhagen, in the gorgeous Swedish town Malmo, we decided we couldn't go wrong with a visit to the chocolate museum. We even got free samples!

The first five days flew past and before we knew it, we were on the train to Denmark. Despite being exhausted from all the fun we'd already had, we were all very excited for Denmark Dash. In the morning, our hostel was packed with girls all wearing the familiar international neckies. It felt amazing to be part of something so huge - all the way in Denmark!

At the meeting point, we eagerly collected our route and instructions with all of the challenges we hoped to complete by the end of the day. We quickly planned our route and set off. As we explored Copenhagen, Scottish guides and friendly leaders greeted us around almost every corner. We really did take over Copenhagen for the day!

On our travels we got to explore the gorgeous area of Nyhavn and even stopped to sing campfire songs next to the iconic Little Mermaid statue. As we uploaded our challenge photos to Twitter in a bid to gain points, we captured amazing snaps on the street trampolines, a picture with 50+ bikes and even a photo of us trying authentic Danish pastries.

The amazing event culminated in all of the groups meeting in one of Copenhagen's most scenic parks. There was nothing quite like the patriotic feeling of seeing Scottish flags hung on foreign trees after a week of being abroad! We gathered to sing our favourite campfire songs. I don't think I'll ever find a bigger circle singing Edelweiss again!

And whilst our group didn't win, we did have an incredible day exploring all of Copenhagen with so many extra fun activities. Our group decided to top of the day with a trip to the Hard Rock Cafe followed by an evening of thrilling rides at Tivoli amusement park. It was the perfect finale to my once in a lifetime, incredible adventure!
Lorna's story

In April 2018, I was part of a group of twelve girls aged 13-17 who had the opportunity to go to Copenhagen and be a part of Girlguiding Scotland's 'Denmark Dash.'

Before the Dash started, we did a whistle-stop tour of Scandinavia. We began in Oslo, Norway. There we saw a real Viking longboat at the Viking museum and saw all of the city from the roof of the Oslo Opera House. We only had one night in Norway before we moved on to Helsinki, Finland. From the train, it looked like a winter wonderland! After we had travelled past snow-topped forests and walked past a ticket barrier completely encased in ice, we came out of the train station to a full-on snow storm. Dragging suitcases through several inches of snow was interesting, to say the least!

The next day we went to an art gallery (and even ended up being photographed by the staff). We also went outdoor swimming next to the Baltic Sea! We spent about two seconds in the icy, unheated pool and then decided we'd stay in the heated pool and sauna to warm up. That night was spent on a ferry to Stockholm, Sweden. The following day we did a ghost tour in Sweden and stayed in a hotel in the form of what looked like a pirate ship on the water. We sang karaoke and danced at the ABBA museum, travelled up the side of the largest spherical building in the world, and ate meatballs in the world's largest and oldest IKEA. A train day followed. We stopped off in Malmö for a visit to a chocolate museum and dinner and then ended in Copenhagen, Denmark.

There we took part in the main 'Denmark Dash' event. This was a scavenger hunt around the city of Copenhagen that was followed by a campfire in the park. That evening, we made a trip to the Hard Rock Café and visited the Tivoli theme park. These things made for a great last night. We were free to spend the final day in Copenhagen however we wanted. I went shopping and then it was time for pizza and the flight home!

Over the week we stayed in five youth hostels, got very good at budgeting, and travelled on many, many, buses, trains, trams, planes, and boats. I had never met any of the other people on the trip before I left. By the end of the week, it was like we had always known each other. I feel like this experience has really boosted my confidence by throwing me into a completely unfamiliar situation, a different country with thirteen complete strangers. It forced me to be independent and sociable. I would thoroughly recommend an INTOPS trip for everyone. It really was a once in a lifetime experience!

If Lorna and Sophie's Dashing to Denmark has inspired you to think about an international adventure - bookings for the next Girlguiding Edinburgh's Girls INTOPS event in June 2019 are now open. Find out more at:  http://members.girlguiding-edinburgh.org.uk/opportunities/going-away-with/international-opportunities.html 

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