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Trip Report Breaking out of the Nutshell: Oslo, Bergen, the Sognefjord and Copenhagen

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We returned yesterday from a quick, but enjoyable nine-day vacation to Norway and Denmark and will try to finish up our trip report promptly, before work gets the better of us. Perhaps this report will turn out to be in the style of Vladimir Nabokov, or perhaps it will read more like Stephen King…or even Edgar Allen Poe. You can judge that for yourself—if you really care.
http://www.fodors.com/community/fodorite-lounge/i-write-like-whom-find-out-whom-you-write-like.cfm

Earlier in the year, we determined that we’d have just over a week for a trip at the end of July, squeezed in between DD’s various summer activities. Our key criterion was a location that wouldn’t be too warm—in hindsight, a very good idea, as Chicago has had a pretty hot summer, and we were sick of the heat. Scandinavia (and particularly, the fjords of Norway) has always been near the top of our vacation wish list, so that of course came up for discussion. While it might have been easier and cheaper to stay closer to home, we did have at our disposal some United system-wide upgrades that had to be used this year—and we found upgrades available for our exact travel dates. We booked a trip into Oslo and out of Copenhagen and then got to work reading and planning.

Ultimately, we settled on this itinerary:
1 night in Oslo
2 nights in Bergen
3 nights on and around the Sognefjord (two on the Lusterfjord and one in Stalheim)
3 nights in Copenhagen

A couple of notes about this itinerary…

Certainly, given our short time frame and fast pace, once could accurately label this trip “Norway in a nutshell,” although we opted not to do the official, organized Norway in a Nutshell program (or any of its variants). We’d like to offer a particular thank you to those here who encourage driving. We did. It is easy, relatively speaking, and it really made a difference, even in the short time we spent in the country.

Secondly, we moved around more than we typically do on trips these days (and more than we typically like to do). We also made a few rather unconventional decisions, such as opting for plane versus train to get from Oslo to Bergen. All of this was done to maximize our time at our destinations, even if it meant spending a bit more money in what was (for us) already an expensive destination.

Finally, while there are all sorts of things to do in the cities we visited, including a variety of interesting museums, we kind of decided up front that this would be an “outdoor” vacation to the extent the weather permitted (some context for why we did or didn’t do specific things).

Ultimately, the trip produced some very memorable moments, including one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences and undoubtedly the best view to which we’ve ever awakened in a hotel room. Details—and photos—to come.

For those who don’t know us here, we are in our mid-to-late 40s and travel with our teenage daughter. We are neither high-end nor budget travelers, and while we generally put some work into dining choices, we don’t plan our trips around food. Given the exchange rate and other factors (most notably, DD’s dislike of just about any type of food that comes from the sea…or river or lake), meals definitely took a back seat to other considerations on this trip. We also spent more on accommodations and some other things than we typically do, and at times this gave us pause—but, we figure it all averages out in the end (our next trip is to Vietnam, where hotel and other costs will be considerably less).

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