Norwegian Heritage Tour (summer 2016)

Carol Palm from United States traveled to Norway
5

Our small-group trip to Scandinavia was perfect. Everyone was very happy with the arrangements and sad to leave Norway. For most part the weather cooperated so we were able to do almost everything that we were scheduled to see and then more. We had a very thorough tour of Lillehammer with our relative who has more knowledge of the country then history books, and has done so much work on our family background that we were filled in on family dating back to 1700's.. Our grandson was quite excited to find out that his family name of Jorgen can be traced (so far) back in the family first Jorgen of 1730. We spent a lot of time on the farms and land of the family. Our driver was a delight and we were delighted and surprised to have a guide to add her knowledge and expertise to Even (relative.) The Molla was a great hotel in which to stay. The staff was fantastic and very helpful. The hotel had the wonderful charm and flavor of Norway. I would highly recommend this hotel. Our son Thom said it was his favorite of the trip. Next was the Clarion in Oslo. Unfortunately, we had a very rainy day in Oslo, however, it did not impact our tour there so very much as we were in and out of the car and lucky to have the rain go to a drizzle when walking. The guide was wonderful to be able to work around the rain so it did not interfere. We found that we did cut ourselves a bit short of Oslo by staying in Lillehammer later on Sunday although we did leave a couple hours earlier than our original train schedule. It would have been nice to tour the new Opera House but our schedule did not meet their tour. Thom and Melanie did get into the lobby. We were very surprised at the hotel. They, the hotel, included dinner and afternoon tea during our stay there. The trip to Flam was great. The weather was very warm and sunny the whole time so the cruise was wonderful. We loved the hotel and the Pub beer tasting was fun. However, they did not understand that we were there as part of our FireBirdTour so they were not sure what to do with us for a while. We were then seated and served, but asked for our voucher. I had given them the confirmation number but they were not able to find anything to correspond. They wanted something with a bar code they could scan such as is shown on the train tickets. This is not something that is downloaded from the itinerary, only the sheet with the confirmation is part of the itinerary. I was carrying all of that so I gave the manager the sheet and underlined the confirmation number and description. It all worked out and it was fun. The day in Balestrand was great and just what we needed after moving around so much. We were placed in the beautiful historic part of the hotel with a wonderful large balcony overlooking the fjord. Thom and Jorgen rented a canoe for a time. We sat on the rocks with our snacks and drinks, walked the area, went to the Cider Store, and spent a very long time on the "Public Beach" skipping rocks and relaxing. Of course, the public beach is a very very small strip of rocks, and absolutely beautiful. Then to Bergen. Our boat rides were fantastic with the only way a person could really see the beauty of Norway with the Mountain looming on both sides, the snow on the tops and the fantastic waterfalls with the charming villages along the shores. Our grandson made the comment that it did not look real but a beautiful photograph. Again it was a day with perfect weather which made the boat ride so much more fantastic. We saw all of Bergen. The guide was great in her explanation and knowledge of the history to Bergen. She kindly answered our many questions. On our own we later toured the old section across the fjord from the Clarion Admiral. It was fun to go into the stores. When you look across the fjord to them it looks like a postcard painting. A wonderful surprise and coincidence happened in Bergen. Thom's educational degree and career is that of a lighting designer for theater - 30 years ago he toured Europe and the US with the Phillip Glass Music Ensemble. Thom was the Lighting Designer for the Ensembles Performances/Concerts. Phillip Glass was in Bergen performing while we were there. Thom was able to get two tickets to the performance for he and Jorgen and after the concert meet with Phillip Glass and the Ensemble members (which somewhere still the members during his touring with them.) It was so great that he was able to attend this concert and meet with Phillip Glass after 30 years. Small World! So that ends our tour and I would only, if I had a do-over, make one small change. That would be to depart from Lillehammer late evening after our 8 hour tour, or early on Sunday so we could have spent a bit more time exploring Oslo. We have no complaints. The food was fantastic. The breakfast in each of the hotels are unbelievable. The people in the hotels helpful with everything included umbrellas in Oslo. We learned so much from the guides assigned to our tours. They were knowledgeable, gracious, and helpful. We could not have had better. But I must say, if a person is not in good shape and able to walk they could not do what we did. We walked so much and so many hills every day and every place we went. I am very grateful that my husband and I are and were able to do all of the waking - hills and stairs - because we were able to see so much more that way. We all kindly thank you.

Published,
May 25, 2016
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