Norway Trip Report

Old Dec 19th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Norway Trip Report

We had a wonderful time in Norway this month. Although we were there for only a week, it seemed much longer considering everything we got to do.

We flew into Bergen and stayed at this wonderful pensione, Skansen (http://www.skansen-pensjonat.no/). The owners were incredibly hospitable. It is located up a hill above the funicular. It is easy to walk to if you are the least bit in shape. We stayed in their little apartment below the main house and it was so comfortable. We had a small kitchen where we were able to make tea each morning. But then we would jaunt upstairs to partake in their delicious Norwegian breakfast - hot breads, jams, meats, cheeses and eggs. It was my favorite meal of the day! Each evening we came back to cookies, coffee and tea. We checked out one of the regular rooms, which was decorated tastefully and included a terrycloth bathrobe. We would definitely return to Skansen Pensione. My wife and I were lamenting just this morning how we missed their breakfast.

We arrived in time for the festival of lights. There were carolers, music, and speeches topped off by the lighting of hundreds of torches around a lake in downtown Bergen. This was followed by a great fireworks display. The second day we did the Norway in a nutshell tour described below. On the third day, we got a beautiful sunny day so we strolled along the waterfront, took the funicular to the top of the mountain and took a walk in the forest.

We discovered a wonderful little coffee shop on the street below the pensione called Kaffekompaniet. The owner was very friendly and the drinks delicious.

BTW everyone we came in contact with spoke fluent English. They all seemed to like Americans and everyone loved talking about San Francisco. Numerous people expressed disappointment with the current state of affairs with the US, and reminisced about the America they used to look up to. We completely understood their sentiments.

We only got to one museum in Bergen, the Bergen Art Museum. The weather was so wonderful that third day, we just wanted to walk around, rather than be inside.

You can check out the photos of our entire visit to Bergen at:

http://danielsonkin.smugmug.com/gall...4200#234019511

The following day we did the Norway in Nutshell Tour. We walked to the train station in the dark and caught the train to Voss, where we got on a bus to Gudvagen. From there we caught the boat to Flam. The weather was really nice considering it was winter. The water was like a mirror, reflecting the beautiful scenery. Below is the link to our photos from the fjord trip.

http://danielsonkin.smugmug.com/gall...8362#232545748

The evening of our third day in Bergen, we flew to Oslo for the remainder of our visit. I was asked to speak at their first Nordic International Conference on Domestic Violence, so our sightseeing would be interspersed with networking and the conference. When we arrived in Oslo, I remarked to my wife, I feel like I am inside a Scandinavian Design store or Ikea. Now I know where that design stile comes from. Duh!

We took the airport bus that dropped us off right next to the Radisson Hotel where we stayed. It is a new hotel - very fancy - it is supposed to be the tallest building in northern Europe. Anyhow, it was visible from where ever we were in the city, so getting lost was not a problem.

After getting a good nights sleep, we woke up to a buffet breakfast that was wonderful. From traditional Norwegian food to bacon and eggs. The breads and jams were incredible. We brought home a few bottles just to keep the memories alive.

The first day in Olso, we went to Vigeland Park - and it was sunny again. Several people remarked, someone from California was here, because the weather is so nice. Later that day we visited the City Hall, met the Vice Mayor and saw the room where they were going to award the Nobel Prizes that following week. What an experience. But alas, we didn't bring home the prize - but we were in the room - not bad.

The next day was the conference, but we got to hear this great Norwegian folk band play. They opened the conference but we went to a pub that night and heard they play a few sets. They were really good. The name of the band is Valkyrien Allstars. They have some of their music on itunes.

Our third and last day in Norway was a museum day. First we went to the Munch Museum (http://danielsonkin.smugmug.com/gall...9369#232617191). Then we went to the Folk Art Museum and followed by the Viking Boat Museum. The photos from Oslo can be viewed at the link below.

http://danielsonkin.smugmug.com/gall...9170#232603598

The bottom line - Norway is an incredible country. The people are so friendly, the landscapes are absolutely beautiful, and their government is people-focused (as opposed to corporate-focused). Transportation was very accessible, their were no language barriers, and the food was delicious. It was expensive (they are on the Kroner), but not as bad as the Euro. We plan to go back and visit the northern part of the country and either see the northern lights or midnight sun.
danielsonkin is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2007, 07:01 PM
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Hello danielsonkin, you had a wonderful week and thank you for sharing it. There is a lady I know in my city whose late mother was from Norway. This lady tries to visit Norway about once every three years. Her comments are similar to yours (well not visiting the room where the award the Nobel Prizes are presented of course, lol). The food at breakfast sounds so delicious! Everyone I have ever met from Norway, not that many actually but..they have always been a joy to talk to and it seems to me they always look so much younger than their actual age. Bone structure of just their outgoing and pleasant personality? Thanks again for your trip report, I really enjoyed reading about your trip and what you experienced.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2007, 11:39 PM
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Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your great trip report, we had a visit to Norway in May this year too. We stayed our first night at the City Box hotel which was just fantastic then had the 12 day return trip on the Hurtigruten. We then stayed for a couple of nights at the Skansen pensione too so it was good to read that someone else was just as happy there as we were. We had a couple of really warm days and loved to sit with a cold beer in the front garden and gaze out at that incredible view.

Norway in a Nutshell is an absolute must for anyone going to Bergen. We booked our tickets at the tourist centre the day before and everything went like clockwork.

So, Daniel, I am going to spend the rest of the day thinking of Norway so thanks for reminding me. Where I live it is going to be 38 degrees on Christmas day, I bet it is going to be a lot cooler than that in Bergen!
Best wishes.
Maudie is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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Wonderful photos, Daniel.

It hardly looks like winter there.
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Old Dec 20th, 2007, 08:47 AM
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Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing.
Nikki is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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I was in Norway at the end of August. We did the Norway in a Nutshell tour as a daytrip from Oslo. We left Oslo at about 6am and returned about 10pm (it's about a 5-hour train ride each way). It was a long day, but well worth it!
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 02:10 AM
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Thank You for the nice words ! As you love Bergen, I love SF, hope to get back -
rjsol is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 10:08 AM
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We spent 2 weeks driving the fjord region from Oslo to Alesund to Geiranger, Balestrand to Bergen in June /July 2007. Thank-you for rekindling those memories with your photos.
deladeb is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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I'm dying to go to Norway, so thanks for the trip report. Is it possible to see the Midnight Sun if you go in the summer or is it way too far north from Oslo?
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Old Feb 11th, 2008, 02:51 PM
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Barbara,

Sorry for the late reply. I think you have to go up further north for the midnight sun experiences. Though a couple of people from Oslo told us that if they go to the right places, and in the right weather, they have seen the northern lights from Olso.

Have a great trip!

Daniel
danielsonkin is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2008, 06:05 AM
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Correct, we do see the Aurora a few times in southern winters. But even if you go north, there is no guarantee -
rjsol is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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thanks so much Daniel...it's reports like yours that really help especially in the initial stages
i had a look at the skansen pension and its very reasonable
can you answer a couple of questions please
is the bed a true double or can it be made into a double?
how steep is the climb to the pension?
my darling OH has just returned from a ski trip and has hurt his knee...he had a sore knee last time we travelled to prague and vienna and croatia and that was pretty flat going..
i was outstripping him ...mind you to be fair he was carring the backpack lol
are most of the pensions round Bergen in hilly locations? im guessing because its fjord land thats a dumb question lol
im happy to hear that the food was great
im not a big on food but i do enjoy a great breakfast to fill me up for most of the day
generally only eat twice when we are travelling
thanks again for a great inspiring report...!!
lanejohann is offline  
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