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Trip Report Trip Report: Norway, July 2009

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This year we decided to visit Norway and after looking at all the alternatives, we decided that flying back from Stockholm would be no more expensive than taking a cheap flight back to Paris and flying back from there. Besides, it would have simply eaten up more vacation time. So we added a few days to our trip to see Stockholm. But Stockholm will be for another trip report.

For photographs, go to: http://travel.webshots.com/album/573931777aVRbGh

A few word about prices: Stockholm is expensive, but Norway is even more expensive. The rates we used were 6.50 NOK and 7.90 SOK to the dollar. Mailing a postcard to the US would cost 12 NOK and 12 SOK or $1.84 and $1.51 respectively. A beer would cost 60 NOK and 60 SOK or $9.23 and $7.60 respectively. To be fair, a beer in a decent restaurant in the States will cost $4.50, to which one adds 25% for tax and tip, which makes it $5.60 for 12 oz. whereas there it was for 50 cl (16 oz. +), except in Bergen where the standard size was 40 cl for a glass of beer. So we generally counted on paying 50% more for restaurant meals than what we would pay in SF. However, when it comes to cheap food, the price differential is much greater; that said, we came back to SF, shared a pizza & green salad at Pauline's Pizza and came out poorer by $30.

Planning on housing was somewhat of a problem. Hotels are very expensive according to the web sites I searched, and there does not seem to be an extensive B&B network as found in France (that's what I am most familiar with). Before leaving we thought that we should have reservations for the big cities for several reasons: 1. it is a pain to wander around with luggage, 2. accommodations might be full, 3. our arrival times were not convenient for searching; we were landing in Oslo at 9 p.m., arriving in Bergen at 8 p.m. and returning a car in Trondheim and were not in any mood to drive around looking for hotels. We also figured that by reserving ahead of time we might find less expensive (cheaper is not a word to be used) accommodations. So we booked our accommodations for Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stockholm, leaving open only the days we were driving between Bergen and Trondheim. We stayed in various types of facilities, some of which cost less than $100 per night, but the accommodations, while clean, did not match a 40€ French provincial B&B which would include breakfast.

We flew from Paris to Oslo on Norwegian Airlines, from Trondheim to Stockholm via Oslo on Norwegian Airlines, and went home to SF via SAS/United. The flight from Paris to Oslo was cheaper (90€ -all prices are for two when relevant) than from Trondheim to Stockholm (234€) and what is grating is that although we through booked the Trondheim-Stockholm flight, Norwegian Airlines charges separately for each leg of the flight when it comes to luggage (you pay for luggage in the hold) and seat reservations. We arrived in Oslo airport at 21:45, found an ATM and purchased two tickets to go to the central RR station. We were given a senior discount--sometimes it exists, sometimes it does not; one has to ask. We then asked at a coffee counter where to catch the city bus and where to buy bus tickets. Fortunately they sold bus tickets and told us where to find the bus. We did not get to the B&B until close to midnight.

The B&B The Blue Door (http://www.bbnorway.com/hosts/02.denblador.html) is located in the Kampen area of Oslo, apparently a 15 minute walk from the Munch museum and above the immigrant neighborhood--lots of Indian and Middle Eastern stores and restaurants on the bus route. It just takes one bus ride from the central station to the B&B. It was the most convenient for the price. The B&B is an old two-story house that has been renovated, the rented rooms are on the first floor, facing the street. The renovation took place in the last 30 years. Our hostess explained that she purchased the house for a relatively low price because it was due to be razed for apartment buildings, but somehow never was, although with several blocks in the area--there are new apartment houses farther into the neighborhood. When she purchased it, the house had an outdoor privy, which is surprising knowing how housing codes changed such requirements since the turn of the last century--I am thinking of the Tenement Museum in NYC, But in this case, toilet facilities entered the house only around 1975. A further surprise was the bathroom that was presumably allowed by code for the B&B guests: It could not have been more than 4X4 ft. (120X120cm), with the door opening inward and included a sink, the toilet and a shower. There was a curtain that could be used to close off the back area, giving the user a 2X4 space to take a shower which included the toilet. After the shower, one had to wipe down the toilet and squeegee the floor. The shower head had a straight line head rather than a circular head which did minimize the range of the spray. This shower is smaller than the one photographed in the Kristiansund motel. My wife was not crazy about the bathroom and we would have preferred a double bed rather than the two singles are right angles. We paid the extra for the first breakfast, but decided that we did not need the subsequent breakfasts because they simply were relatively expensive for what they were and we are non-breakfast eaters. Besides, from our B&B the central station was our pivot point for the rest of the city and we could get a coffee and a roll there. It turned out that we got along fine with our hostess, and she offered us free coffee in the morning, and when we asked for the location of a laundromat, she offered to do our laundry for free. I can only describe her as an alternative lifestyle person, a vegetarian, who has decided to give up plane travel after watching Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Somehow the fact that we had just seen Josephine Baker's château and that my wife had just read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver eased our relationship with her. Cost: 1960 NOK ($302) for four nights including one breakfast for 160 NOK ($25).

My wife's plantar fasciitis had gotten much worse, so our touring was much less than normal. At times, while she sat on a bench, I was like the dog running back and forth, telling her that maybe she does want to walk here to see something. For example, we visited the Norsk Folkemuseum twice because of one section I discovered at the end was too much for her on the first day and we went back to see it another day. But on the first day we did see that museum, and the Viking Museum, and the Kon-Tiki Museum. These museums are a short walk one from the other, but her foot was so bad that we took the bus. I am going at length about this to explain that we probably saw less of Oslo in our three full days than the normal visitor. We did purchase the three day Oslo card that included museums, and while it was definitely worthwhile in terms of convenience, I am not sure that it is necessary. The Fine Arts museum was free, as was the Decorative Arts Museum. The one day visiting the Norsk Folkemuseum museum, the Viking Museum, the Kon-Tiki museum and the Frammuseet required obtaining tickets (free with the card). If a three day transportation pass is available, I think that it is a better deal than the Oslo card.

What We Saw: We were not overwhelmed by Oslo as a whole. Its architecture is not unusual or particularly appealing except for a building here and there and some of the old streets, although we missed the "old" neighborhood near the downtown because of walking limitations. We were less than impressed by Karl Johans Gate, the walking street that goes from the Central Station to the royal palace. We were very impressed by the interior of City Hall which is a great sample of mid-20th century public art and furniture in the second floor rooms and halls surrounding the great hall--in other words, go up the staircase. It should not be missed, and it is free. The new opera house, which is to anchor the renovation of that part of the waterfront is definitely worth a visit--It is like an iceberg rising out of the water. Beginning with Oslo, it is striking how many wooden sailboats are floating in the harbors of Norway. They add a tremendous amount of eye appeal to the waterfronts.

We have been seeing outdoor museums which gather farmhouse buildings from various part of a country for years. The first one we saw was in Czechoslovakia, then we saw one near Copenhagen, and two in Romania. The Norsk Folkemuseum has some impressive buildings, particularly the stave church, but it is easily overtaken by the Skansen Museum in Stockholm. Its most interesting part in my mind are the suburban houses and the reconstructed apartment building. It is this latter building that we went back to see on a second day. The original building was built around 1865 and was demolished in 1999. It was rebuilt in the park and contains various apartments illustrating the varying lifestyles in the 100+ years of its existence. It has "Nora's" apartment, which is a bourgeois apartment from the last part of the 19th century. It also contained a washer woman's mid-20th century apartment with all her furnishings because she died without inheritors, a Pakistani family's apartment with a Bollywood video blaring, a 1970s student's room that probably was no bigger than 8X8, etc. Most interesting is the house painter's workshop on the ground floor--behind the government liquor shop--with an explanation of the profession this represented and how important it was until the advent of water-based paints.

The Viking Museum, a short walk down the road, is a must. The Kon-Tiki museum has a reconstruction of the Kon-Tiki which was wrecked on a reef and of Ra II. The Kon-Tiki is truly just a raft, and it boggles the mind that someone would consider crossing the Pacific on it, knowing full well that if the trip lasts longer than anticipated, the raft would become fully water-logged and sink. The Fram museum is for those interested in polar expeditions and boat construction. This boat was built to spend winters in Arctic ice without being crushed.

The National gallery is free (at least the day we were there). It contains enough Munch paintings, including a version of The Scream, that we did feel we had to visit the Munch Museum. Generally, when it comes to official sites, we relied on the Michelin Green Guide of Scandinavia and Finland. But it does not mention the Decorative Arts museum (also free) which is worth a visit for its Scandinavian tapestries of the early 15th century (I think that might even predate the general dates of Flemish Renaissance tapestries) and a large fragment of a late 11th century tapestry (woven, not needle work like the Bayeux tapestry) whose colors were as vibrant as the day it was made.

Vigelandsparken is interesting, but we did not like the statues on the bridge. The fountain was better, as was the central column. I generally preferred the stone work to the bronzes. On a nice day, it would be pleasant to stroll through the park, and maybe plan to have a picnic there (many Oslo residents do that) as a break from sightseeing.

Where We Ate: We arrived in Oslo on June 29 and the 30th is my wife's birthday. I had called from France to reserve a table in a restaurant recommended by Fodor's and Michelin. We knew that it would be closed in July, but this year it closed early and we had to choose another one. We made a reservation at Hos Thea ($232--prices given for two where applicable), which definitely upgraded itself from the "cheery family atmosphere in this traditional neighborhood restaurant with its red-gingham tablecloths and typical Scandinavian decor (whatever that it)" (Guide Michelin, 2007). The decor is now upscale informal in beige and grays, and the food is international--in fact we had antelope imported from South Africa, and I would have preferred Norwegian reindeer or moose. Good but pricey for what it was.

Our hostess at the B&B recommended a nearby restaurant, the Kampen Bistro ($94), although clearly it was beyond her price range. We preferred it to Hos Thea in atmosphere, and the food was less pretentious. We had fish (probably cod) and (Norwegian) horse meat for the main courses. The restaurant is apparently more than a neighborhood café, very popular and crowded. We had hoped to eat at a restaurant recommended in Fodor's which was near the Vigelandsparke; that was my dog moment, going from the main entrance of the park to the restaurant to make a reservation and coming back without the reservation because it was closed for the month. Our hostess had also recommended an Indian restaurant at the Gronland subway stop which was cheap by Norwegian standards, but double the price of a similar restaurant in NYC. That's what we chose; the food was OK. The Gronland stop seems to be at the core of the immigrant neighborhood, with many different ethnic stores and restaurants.

The rest of Norway: from Oslo we took the Norway in a Nutshell ($398) package. For those who do not plan a similar itinerary such as ours, Norway in a Nutshell is the way to experience some of the fjord country. For us it turned out to be unnecessary, even if we did get to see one big waterfall up close. When we left Bergen by car and wanting to go to Urnes, we were told by two different persons, one of whom was from the area, that the fastest way was via Flåm. So while during that part of the trip we did not go on a long boat ride to experience the fjord, we did that later in the Gairanger fjord. Had we had an extra day, I think that we would have gone via Vik which would have been interesting according to some postings. Were we to do the same trip, I would simply take the train directly from Oslo to Bergen, arrive in Bergen early enough to experience the port that afternoon and just stay a full day in Bergen. The Norway in a Nutshell trip is pleasant, and everything connects smoothly. The only moment of uncertainty was with the bus connection. There are two different buses connecting the boat to the ferry, but no one told us that, and those with Norway In a Nutshell passes wait for the buses clearly identified for pass holders--I think that that bus takes a detour on the steepest and twistiest road in Norway while the regular bus just goes straight to the train station. We later heard a report from someone on a cruise who decided to take its Norway in a Nutshell option. From what my wife describes, they were driven to Flåm (more on that later), took the train back up to Myrdal and trained back to Bergen. That is a complete waste, because without going on the ferry, one misses an essential part of this trip.

Bergen is a very nice town, and very manageable in terms of tourist interest. There is Bryggen, the Hanseatic Museum, St. Mary's Church (well worth it), and the market by the harbor (our caviar paste was confiscated when leaving Trondheim by plane because we had forgotten about it and it was in the carry-on luggage). There is some good shopping to be done there. I picked up a Norwegian sweater (not the colorful type but made in Norway) for not much more than I paid for French sailor's sweater six years ago ($137). My wife found an exceptional woolen coat (made in Norway), which in this case was a little pricey ($415), although we almost walked out without paying due to a clerk error. The funicular ride is a must for a view of the city, and the fine arts museums are interesting. Bergen is known for its rain but we were lucky in that we had practically no rain during our entire trip (we were in a heat wave for both Oslo and Bergen), and the one day of real rain was during one of the least interesting drives to Trondheim. That's the thumb sketch view of our touring. The photos will enhance it. We did see one particular exhibit which was temporary--it was an exhibit of Die Brücke painters from the Berlin museum of that name; but the information is out of date as of this writing. We probably could have seen more of Bergen, and I took a walk one day while my wife was resting, but her foot problem precluded any time of ambling around town--no meandering as flâneurs.

We stayed at the Bergen Guesthouse for three nights for 1350 NOK (paid in cash), which turns out to be about $70 per night. We arrived in the train station around 8 p.m., it was deserted and the shops were closing. We found a taxi and he could not find the address and for some reason did not want to use the phone number we had for the B&B. But we eventually got there. The room was small but spotless with a standard size double bed and Ikea like furniture for the little that there was. The W.C. was down the hall and the shower was in the laundry room. The B&B is in an alley a 5 minute walk from Bryggen at a normal pace, more like 15 for us, in one of the oldest sections of Bergen. Contact person Mats K. Nordvik, post@bergenguesthouse.com, +47 411 40 349.

We ate well in Bergen. The market by the waterfront is an obvious choice for lunch. A word of warning though: the relatively inexpensive plates of mixed seafood turn out to have a lot of sirumi under the slice of smoked salmon and other tempting delicacies. Our personal discovery was whale meat, grilled and slightly smoky but still rare inside, served cold. Another stand had it well done, but I think that whale meat should be eaten like tuna, still rare inside if at all possible. The meat does not taste fishy, more like a very mild steak with a consistency halfway between a tender steak and tuna.

Pingvinen was recommend by Lonely Planet--and in spite of a guide's recommendation did not seem touristy--and was well worth it. The main courses ran between 130 and 150 NOK, the beer was 52 NOK (for 40 cl.). A main course is sufficient as a meal, and we shared a dessert for a total of 360 NOK. The menus are hand written on a board in Norwegian, but the young woman behind the bar translated everything for us. Nothing fancy, more like home cooking, but satisfying--cash only, I seem to remember; we considered going there a second day but for the walk that was out of the question with a painful foot.

So we ate at Bryggestuen (recommended by Fodor's) once we decided that we wanted to try whale steak. Fodor's seems to be a little coy about whale meat, but the restaurant advertises it prominently on its outside board and that is why we chose it. We were not disappointed; I asked for it rare, and that is how it was served and it was delicious ($115 for the entire meal).

We rented a car through Autoeurope for five days, asking for the smallest available and were upgraded to a Passat station wagon diesel. That it was a diesel was fine, and one tank lasted until we returned the car in Trondheim. But I would have preferred a smaller car and I did not like some features. For example, you must have the foot on the brake and clutch to disengage the manual "hand" brake which is just a release button. Not good when starting from a full stop on a steep uphill--I know, I drive a manual in SF. There is a hold button for that purpose, but it takes getting used to and I felt that I could not control the brake/gas pedal ratio very well with that system. But I had no problems with it otherwise. We picked up the car "in town", which meant a bus ride outside the center of town to a warehouse district. But this would be cheaper than the bus to the airport and the added airport fee. Picking up a car (and returning it in Trondheim) is simply a pain however one looks at it.

We had to pay the toll for driving into town because our drive out of town was on the other side of Bergen. This is collected automatically, and if I understood it correctly, all rentals are equipped with the sensor to pay these tolls going into large cities--I believe that we paid tolls for Bergen and Trondheim only, at least I did not notice any toll warnings for Ålesund and Kristiansund. We drove off going to Flåm, which was the fastest way to get to Urnes. The road is not for the claustrophobic; we went through at least a dozen tunnels, one 21 km. long. But at least it was a standard two lane highway. From Urnes we drove north on a road that was so narrow that it had turnouts, but so far apart that at one point the car coming toward us had to back up about 200 yards before he could reach the turnout (we would have had to back up farther). Our fuel lasted the 1000 km. or so that we drove not only because it was a diesel in a large fuel tank but because with very few exceptions, the top speed limit is 80 km/h (50 mph). There is no need to get a powerful car because the speeds are so low. When it comes to climbing, the roads twist and turn enough in the mountains that speed becomes irrelevant and any modern car will have the power to go the 40 or 50 km/h required to keep up with traffic.

We drove off at 10:30 in the morning, and did not have a picnic lunch picked up in Voss until Flåm. I had hoped to see the Urnes church the same day, but we did not get to Solvorn to catch the ferry until fairly late in the afternoon. I had seriously misjudged the distance/time factor, and taking the ferry at that hour was pushing it, as it would arrive on the other shore 15 minutes before the churches closing time. There is one hotel in Solvorn which is very expensive (the May 1 to June 15 special rates 1500 NOK half pension per person), as is its prix fixe dinner. But they recommended and called a "hostel" which is also recommended by Lonely Planet, and Rick Steves had just been by that morning. That place had a room with a double bed and was perfect.

A general paragraph about traveling outside the large cities. For information, we found the Lonely Planet Guide to be the most useful. It of course depends on the level of comfort and what one is willing to pay. But we were happy with what we got which was closer to our normal travel budget than the hotels generally recommended in guides oriented toward a better-heeled clientele. These observations are based on five days of travel and must therefore be taken as a limited view. As mentioned before, we had difficulties finding some general listing of B&Bs on the Internet in that the listings were very limited. I was worried about finding acceptable accommodations and being stuck in expensive hotels. It turns out that one need not worry about it. Norway is an outdoor country and there are quite a few campgrounds that also have cabins and rooms. This was the case in Solvern and in Kristiansund, to name the two places where I observed such a setup. Many of the rooms had an equipped kitchen corner which would allow reducing the cost of travel by by-passing restaurants, although food costs in supermarkets also create sticker shock. However, July is a popular travel month in Norway, so that one must stop fairly early in the day to assure oneself of a room. Solvorn has only one financially reasonable accommodation and the local café--the only eating place aside from the hotel restaurant--stopped serving food at 5:30 or 6:00. We were not prepared psychologically to do a shopping other than picnic items and cook, so we essentially followed the more expensive option of eating out. A careful reading of the information provided in Lonely Planet will help reduce costs while traveling in Norway.

Back to the narration: In Solvorn we stayed at Eplet, which is as LP described it. To elaborate: There is a renovated barn with three rooms with double beds and a dormitory with 7 single beds that share the shower and the two W.C.. The kitchen dining-living area is also shared, and I believe that the campers can use the kitchen also; there is a small campsite just below the barn. Most people are there for outdoor activities. One person had gone kayaking on a glacial lake the day it opened, and planned to go horseback riding that day. There are hiking trails indicated in the area, and the LP mentions bicycles available for riding around, although Solvorn is at the bottom of a long steep hill--biking on the other side of the fjord would make more sense. I do not recall the mini golf, but the living room has a climbing wall. Given its mention in more than one guide I suspect that reservations might be useful, even though we did not have any.

We took the ferry over to see the Urnes church (ferry crossings will cost between 90 and 120 NOK--car and passengers are billed separately--and our itinerary involved many ferry crossings) which is in the middle of renovation. Guided tours only, and the inside had limited access. We could go upstairs to the back choir but not walk farther in the church. Photography is not allowed inside, which is a pity because the end of the posts in the choir have beautiful carvings which are not available in the form of postcards. We did not cross back to Solvorn, but rather took the previously mentioned narrow road along the fjord. We picnicked on our way to the pass, and were lucky because it was still feasible. By the time we reached the pass the weather was stormy, windy and just plain uncomfortable for a picnic. In Lom we had one of the cheapest espressos of the entire trip in a café recommended by LP, visited the stave church which was extensively renovated in the 18th century (again no photography), and then drove to Gairanger where we had cloudy weather with occasional rain. The tourist office directed us to cabins, but it turned out that they were out of small cabins and we had to take a big one for 800 NOK (two bedrooms that slept 6 with kitchen living-dining area and porch overlooking the fjord). The manager was probably the unfriendliest person we met in our entire trip. The two hour cruise on the fjord is definitely worthwhile, and it is possible to get off to visit a farm built on the cliffs of the fjord and even hike back to Gairanger from there, although it is impossible to see evidence of any trail from the boat (described in LP). We did this boat trip in the morning and then left for Ålesund.

Ålesund burned down in the early part of the 20th century and was rebuilt as an art nouveau town, with Wilhelm II of Germany providing a good portion of the financing. The art nouveau is nice, but does not have the exuberance of the Guimard or Horta. A half day of wandering around should suffice to see the town. We found our accommodations through LP (Annecy Sommerpensjonat, 490 NOK cash + an automatic charge for linen) which is a student dorm right behind the art nouveau museum. Photography in the museum was not allowed, but I photographed one of their windows from our room. The room was very plain, with a cooking corner and an en suite bathroom, facing a courtyard and unfortunately noisy. It was hot, we had to keep the window open and the museum AC compressor was going all night long. It was perhaps the least attractive room of our trip, although not the smallest. We ate well, at a harbor restaurant (XL Diner) which specializes in bacalão in all sorts of different ways, some of which the Portuguese would not recognize--reservations recommended. While I had a special which was good, from what I saw it would be best to aim for those versions that are inspired by Spanish or Portuguese cooking. Generally speaking, we had no bad experience with cod, but then never ran across the notorious lutefisk, which may be a seasonal specialty. On the contrary, the reconstituted cod was amazingly good.

From Ålesund we drove off toward Kristiansund. The tourist office actually recommended that we go via Bud and stay in that town. Luckily we did not follow that person's advice in terms of staying for the night as the drive from Kristiansund to Trondheim was longer than anticipated. But we did go by Bud which is or was a small fishing village right on the coast. Its one tourist attraction aside from the small fishing port and its warehouses is the German blockhouse which apparently still has its sick bay as installed in W.W.II. The restaurant recommended by LP has changed hands and name, and the person at the tourist and ticket office recommended another restaurant across from the base of the block house. She knew exactly what their menu would be. So we went there. It is a local place, although is large enough to accommodate touring groups, which offers a fixed price all you can eat steam table with the following items: a soup, potato dumplings, potato and fish dumplings, fish dumplings (all dumplings the size of golf balls), a very mild sausage somewhat like bratwurst but steamed, bacon warmed in its own liquid fat, and boiled potatoes. It sounds much worse than it is. The bacon can be drained to be added to the boiled potatoes for flavoring. The fish dumplings were milder than the potato and fish dumplings and were quite good. The beer was the cheapest I came across. I believe that the meal cost 110 NOK per person (exclusive of alcohol)--inexpensive by Norwegian standards. The restaurant obviously had set daily menus for the tourist information person to know what was offered. I would not have wanted to eat these items every day, but it was a nice change and probably offered us a local food that is usually not found in tourist restaurants. Although on a much more limited scale it reminded me of the chain cafeterias in Texas (Luby's?).

We continued along the coast and spent the night in Kristiansund in a campground/cabins/motel complex recommended by LP. All the small cabins were taken, and the motel rooms were less than the large cabins, so we took a motel room (see photos 281 & 282) which was reminiscent of the easyHotel rooms in that they clearly are single modules attached together and stacked on top of each other, each module prefabricated off site. It was clean, and an en suite bathroom. Kristiansund is a pretty town but seemed quite dead. Nothing was going on a 6 in the evening. We had a pleasant meal at Sjøstjerna, recommended by LP, but were wondering how such a restaurant could make it; it was a Friday evening and there was no one around.

Going to Trondheim the next day was the rainiest; we had to eat our picnic in the car. We passed two toll stations. At the first one we deposited 20 NOK and got no change back, and at the second, knowing that I did not have the right change, decided to take the rental agency at its word and just used the through lane; I have not yet received a ticket. We had made reservations with the Comfort Hotel Park (1590 NOK for two nights) which had an expansive buffet breakfast, free computer access in the lobby and complementary fruit and coffee any time of the day. The room was quite small but sufficient for our needs. By this time my wife's foot was really bothering her, so our touring was constrained. We saw the cathedral which has a wonderful modern rose window--no photographs allowed, and also the Decorative Arts Museum with beautiful modern weavings in particular. I did walk around the town on my own. We went to the Ringve Museum using the local bus. By the time we walked to the museum, my wife just sat in the lobby and did not visit it. I took the tour and quickly visited the barn that contained all the musical instruments. I think that the tour is less than advertised, although almost obligatory for its period rooms. The collection itself offers musical recordings to illustrate the instruments, but I felt it was too hodgepodge. I was more impressed by the Basel music museum which limits itself to period instruments that were played in Basel--no Oriental instruments, etc., or by the music museum in Paris, although when we went there its recordings of other than 18th & 19th century Western European music was limited. We ate at the Café ni Muser, recommended by LP, for a pleasant light meal. We probably did not do Trondheim justice. We took the airport bus to the airport, which is very far out of town.

All in all, two extra days for the trip we took might have been helpful. One to go by Vik on our first day out of Bergen, and another to perhaps hike in the Gairanger Fjord area. Obviously, anyone wishing to do more outdoor activities (go up to the glaciers, for example) would have to plan on more days.

Stockholm will be another shorter trip report.

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