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Sampling Scandinavia: Norway, Stockholm and Copenhagen

Sampling Scandinavia: Norway, Stockholm and Copenhagen

Old Sep 8th, 2023, 08:06 AM
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Sampling Scandinavia: Norway, Stockholm and Copenhagen

We are in the middle of our trip and got stuck in Ure in Lofoten, due to heavy wind and rain. The trip started on Aug 27 ending Sept 17, total 20 nights. Itinerary as follows: Oslo 2n, Andelsnes 1, Geiranger 1, Styrn 2, Nes Gard 2, Flam 1, Bergen airport 1, Ure (Lofoten) 3, Svolvaer 1, Stockholm 3, Copenhagen 3.
We arrived at Torp airport instead of OSL, 1.5 hours to get in town, less transport frequency. Luckily connections were good. Got in bus after stepping out airport, bus took us directly to train station platform, bought ticket on Vy app while boarding. Thon Cecil is a good choice, with extremely good breakfast and light simple dinner included. Bought 24 hr Oslo pass. If you do 3 museums and 3 rides, you're break even. We did ferry to museum island (Fram, Kon Tiki, Maritime), bus to Vigeland, light rail to National museum, bus to dinner, bus to Opera and did roof top walk, bus back to hotel. Have reindeer steak at Engebret, very good. Next morning we joined guided tour at City Hall, beautiful. In general we like Oslo a lot, the center is beautiful day and night, the harbor is exceptional nice. Walkable for most attractions.
We picked up car at OSL, for 8 days, return to Bergen airport, one-way charge is 4000 nok plus VAT 1000. Not too bad. Drive 6.5 hrs to arrive Andelsnes, 1 n at Airbnb (abb). Last 30 min of drive is breathtaking. Beautiful town, water front is gorgeous. We could have taken cable car that evening but delayed to next morning, later found out they open at noon. So I hiked up to Rampestreken while DH stopped at certain viewpoint. The view is gorgeous and totally worth it. Started at 1pm to drive Trollstigen to Geiranger. Drive is fun and pretty.
Arrived Geiranger Union hotel for my massage appt at 5. Spa is nice and my masseuse is from Thailand, lucky me, en par with what I got in Bangkok. Spa and pool are nice but a bit untidy due to heavy use during the day. The relaxed lounge is nice with good views. Dinner and breakfast is included in my package. Both buffets. Good selections but taste is just ok. Drove to Dalsnibba next day and took 5pm ferry to Hellesylt, drove to Styrn abb for 2 nights. Beautiful lodging with good view. Geiranger is disappointing possibly due to the crowds, from cruise and tour groups. Dalsnibba is not as expected possible due to weather.
Joined Loen Via Ferrata the next day. Steep hikes to the starting point where you practiced the hooks on steel cables. Bailed out at this point because I don't think I can place my shoes on rocks at 90 degrees and walk vertically. If I have a private guide I may have continued but I don't want to delay my group. It's a shame because the weather is perfect and my group of young guys are super nice. One carried my heavy backpack! I walked back alone and foraged some tasty chanterelles. Joined DH and took Loen skylift and hiked a bit on plateau. View is unbelievably pretty. Saw my VF group crossing the single cable bridge and took picture for them.
Next day we drove from Stryn to Nes Gard in Luster area. Toured Briksdalsbreen on the way. I didn't plan on B as we are going to see Nigardsbreen the next day. Weather forecast was not promising so we toured B. The scenery along the narrow waters are extremely pretty and peaceful. Rain was getting harder so we paid for the 'troll taxi' to take us up to glacier, it was the right choice. After B, the drive supposed to be scenic as we will pass Fjaerland area and get a view of Broyabreen from Glacier Museum. The museum is nice but clouds and heavy fog covered most of the views.
We spent 2 nights at Nes Gard based on the good reviews and somehow closed to Nigardsbreen. We got their newly remodeled room with great view and kitchenette. What we did not know is we have to hike up to the room, and down to the barn for breakfast. It would have been okay if you pack diligently and the weather is good. Breakfast is so so and the barn smells. Missing a few things in the room and communication is horrible. They made it up to bring breakfast to our room the next day which is very nice.
Joined Icetroll for kayaking and glacier hike at Styggvatnet lake. We got wind, waves and rain but managed to kayak one way and motor boat back. Glacier walk is easy and fun, with the right equipment, and we didn't go very far. Ice is still very blue in the iffy weather. We got to taste glacier water, axed for an ice cube and got hot cocoa from the guide. This is so far the highlight of my trip. DH didn't join the tour but drove the toll road to get closed to N, and walked along the river.
Leaving Nes Gard, we took ferry to see Urnes stave church. I love both piers (Solvorn and Ornes) and the ferry rides, serene and pretty. The guide is very informational. Good to know that when arriving pier, always follow lane 1 instead of starting lane 2, cos they let all cars on lane 1 go first. We then drove Aurlandsfjellet scenic route and Stegastin to arrive Flam. Lots of scary hairpin turns, it's not worth the efforts in my opinion.
Flam town is surprisingly pretty despite being a travel hub. Lots of open grassy area with good views. Had dinner at Ag brewery, too busy but beer and food is good. Skip the train but did the ferry to Gudvengen next morning. It was a very nice cruise, not busy, lots of comfortable seatings, scenery is top notch. Bus back to Flam and drove to Bergen town center. Did cable car, strolled in town and tasted reindeer hotdog. Drove to airport to return car and stayed at Clarion Airport for next morning flight to Evens. Picked up car and drove 4 hours to arrive abb at Ure, Lofoten. Rain and wind today so I enjoyed my supermarket finds in the abb. Love all fish products. Their white fishballs resemble those you can get in Hong Kong, and the fish patties resemble a Thai dish. Hopefully we can get out and explore tomorrow...
travelkam is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2023, 08:31 AM
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Along for the ride...
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Old Sep 8th, 2023, 09:37 AM
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Looking forward to this -- thinking about Norway/Copenhagen for late next spring. (Suggestion - it would be easier to read with paragraph breaks - requires a double Return)
janisj is online now  
Old Sep 8th, 2023, 04:08 PM
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Yes .. along for the ride but smaller bites please!

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Old Sep 20th, 2023, 05:48 PM
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Third day in Lofoten, weather didn't improve but we drove to A to end of the National Scenic Route. Scenery is beautiful along the way. Flakstad is beautiful with a sandy beach right on E10. It was like Caribbean meeting Norway. A good trade off with Kvalvika and other beaches where I couldn't make! It was raining hard when we arrived Reine so hiking Reinebringen is not recommended! Stopped at all scenic spots and small villages along the way. Nordic Fisherman museum is so so but the visitor center in Reine has a good exhibit talking about the lives, history, fauna and flora in Lofoten, very informational. There are prehistoric cave painting in the area but not easily accessible. Anita seafood has good selections of local food and good view. We also drove to the end of Ures, there's a salmon farm there, in good weather they had RIB tour to see the fishes. After three nights in the lovely abb, we moved to Thon Solvaer to spend last.night in L. It deducts one less hour in driving back to EVES.

Instead of driving E10, we drove FV815 which is along the coast and saw lots of farms. A few time we had to stop for the sheep. It was a lovely drive. We got the best weather in Henningsvaer so we spent a good amount of time wandering around the football field and the surrounding fish trellis. We had booked a RIB fjord tour in Solvaer but got cancelled cos we are the only persons.

Thon Solvaer is a new and beautiful hotel. Guest parking is limited though. We started the Floya and Devil Gate hike and stopped where the serpa steps end. Wind and rain got heavy, I didn't want to risk walking on wet boulders and mud. At least we were high enough to have a good view of the area. The goat rock is easily spotted from bottom, quite cute.

Google is quite accurate so far in driving time, it took 2.25 hrs to arrive EVES. It was fast and smooth to return car and went thru security. We ended our road trip here and flew to Stockholm. From now on we are on public transport.

I booked Best Western Gio in Solna to tour Stockholm, it was a mistake. It is not as convenient as reviews suggest. The hotel is very busy and you have to sign up for breakfast time. However, the two restaurants closed by are really good. One Lebanese, one Szechuan.

We only have two full days in Stockholm. We used 24 hr day pass for one day. sl.se app is easy to use. You can buy group ticket (1 adult 1 senior) so you don't have to pull out two phones. You show driver your ticket or qr when entering the bus. We used mainly Uber the next day cos It is quite affordable. First day we did City Hall (with tour, good cafe) and strolled to Gamla Stan, bused to Ersta Terrass to have a good view of the whole city. Sunset brings in beautiful color to the sky and skyline. Next day we did Vasa Museum, Swedish History Museum and Ice bar. We had plan to do the 2.5 hr archipelago boat tour but scrateched off because of rain and mist. Vasa museum is stunning, the movie is good too. The TI office is closed by, the cafe there is v gd.History museum is a pleasant surprise. The Nordic World and Gold Room are very worthy. We spent two hours and could do more. Ice bar is gimmicky, we knew it but it was fun. We were the only one there.

After 3 nights in Stockholm we took train to Copenhagen where we spent last 3 nights of our trip. Sj.se app is easy to use. We're in first class, seats are wide and comfortable, free coffee and tea, fruits and candies. Most importantly you have fewer passengers in the car and most are respectful and quiet. It was a very relaxing ride with good scenery but not as good as some reviews suggest.

Motel One is our choice. Location is good and cheap, apparently Copenhagen's lodging is the most expensive. I think overall everyting in Copenhagen is more expensive than Norway and Stockholm. The list price is the same, but DKK exchange rate to USD is almost 50% higher than nok and sek.

We arrived on a Thursday so we could have made good use of some museum late closing, but I opt to have dinner at Merv&Bev. Big mistake! Their food does not work for me, I could have enjoyed a lot more in seeing the city in beautiful sunset!

We got two full days in Copenhagen and finally we got really beautiful weather. First day we did a bike tour with abb. We covered quite a lot and got a good orientation of the city. Bike ride is stressful for tourists because locals easily got upset if you're in their way, or, you accidentally ride on the pedestrian path. We had lunch at the top floor of Magazin du Nord, the view is beautiful. We strolled back to Nyhavn and took a canal boat tour. The audio guide is helpful and gliding under the bridges is fun. One could have done the harbor boat 991, 992 to see the same scenery but the narrative on tour boat is good. We then went to Our Saviors church to climb the tower. Booking can ONLY be done via app. The climbing is quite scary for me and view is excellent. Church closes at 3:30 but there's a "light show" at 8 PM that evening. It is mainly a piano solo concert, with some area being lit. It was very soothing and spiritual. A lot of locals joined in. I bought 24 hr City Pass Large to take bus back to hotel as we planned to go to Roskilde the next day. dot app is not as good as sl.se app as one needs to know the name of station or stop to buy tickets. I used Google to aid.

The train ride to Roskilde is relaxing. R is a beautiful small town. The walk to cathedral took about 10 min. Roskilde cathedral is top of my favorite in this trip. You got a booklet to explain highlights, very organized and nicely curated. We only have an hour cos they close at 11:30 for services. The Viking museum is so so as compared to all other boat museums we toured, but the water, swans, yachts etc made it up. Coming back to town we visited Rosenborg. We booked timed ticket. It was very crowded and hot inside. Not much illustration unless you access their web. It was not well ventilated there I regret that I did not bring a mask. The more worthy spot is the Treasury room. We could have fit in Round tower and Tivoli instead we took it easy to rest in hotel and had dinner at a nearby restaurant. I wish I found Karla restaurant earlier. It's a busy family restaurant with a good varieties of food (hot food).

Our flight departs at 6am from CPN. Hotel ordered a taxi for us at 3:45 AM,. It was 375 dkk. We sat at the gate within one hr. Most time spent in using the check-in machines, most kiosks froze and only print boarding pass. We need luggage tags. Our flight is CPH to AMS to SFO. Passport control happens in AMS. US passport holders can use the automatic scanner although the manned line has no wait. We arrived at gate C11 and flight departs at F6, the total walk plus passport control is about 20 min. On our way we witnessed the passport control line at the other side (international arrival entering Schengen, the same one we used when we arrived 21 days ago), that line is now at least half a mile long. Somehow US passport holders cannot use the electronic line at this direction, strange.

We did not use any cash in all three countries, with Chase ink preferred visa and capital one venture x. On two occasions gas station asked for four digit code and declined my chase visa but I inserted the card (chip) instead of touchless, it works.

Norway car rental provides Autopass automatically. Our eight days bill is 385 nok. We had Europcar via Auto Europe, they have no mark up fee, unlike Portugal. Always provide your flight details or call if you are late to pick up the car. At the counter, they cancelled a guy's reservation because he is one hour late due to flight delay, he didn't provide the flight info.

travelkam is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2023, 06:48 PM
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Wonderful details. Thank you!
PegS is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2023, 08:03 AM
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Your TR has been very helpful to us. Thank you.
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Old Sep 24th, 2023, 05:37 PM
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When we went to Scandinavia a few years ago, Norway was more expensive than the other countries. Interesting.
We found Scandinavia the easiest region to travel around, and almost everyone we met spoke very good English. Enjoy your trip to this beautiful region.
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