I TOOK A LIKING TO THE
The history of the Viking is closely linked to
their role as masters of the sea. For more than 200 years (from
800-1050AD), the Vikings were feared as fierce and ruthless pirates. But
this is not the full story. The Vikings were also poets, lawmakers and
artists. Their ships explored unknown seas, and they settled new lands.
brave and aggressive: be direct; grab all opportunity use varying
methods of attack; be versatile and agile and
attack one target at a time.
prepared: keep in shape, find good battle comrades and choose one
a good merchant: find out what the market needs, don’t demand
overpayment and arrange things so that you can return.
camp in order: keep things tidy and organized.
is the edge of Europe’s most northern land mass, where sea and
mountains have merged to produce one of the world’s most breathtaking
This is a country whose ancient peoples, the
Vikings, helped shape the history of northern Europe. The Vikings once
controlled half of
Britain, sent mariners as far west as
and as far south as the
It is this vigorous and resourceful national
character, reflected in Viking foundation that still exemplifies modern
The broad southwestern half of the country is known
as the South Country. Here, on the coastal fringe and around
is Lowland Norway where the sheltered coast is a favorite vacation
destination for Norwegian families.
Farther north lies fascinating
Bergen, against a setting of island and mountains.
is the starting point for boat journeys to the north along the coastal
islands and into the 120-mile long Sognefjord, the deepest and longest
fjord in the world.
is an extremely well run constitutional monarchy. Norwegians are
level-headed, open and generous people. They are unfailingly courteous.
You can eat very well in
Norwegians are experts at buffet preparation, the ideal lunch
experience, often with smoked salmon, trout and smoked lamb dishes as
“gateway to the Fjords,” is a world heritage city. It is the
north’s largest city with a population of 235,000 people, situated in
the heart of Fjords of Norway, which makes it a natural starting point
for exploring this exciting landscape.
is a cosmopolitan city, rich in tradition and history. It dates back
nine hundred years and contains an old world charm and atmosphere
amplified by wooden houses, narrow alleyways and a busy historic harbour.
It’s an old city with a young outlook.
is unique not only because of its magnificent location and world famous
surroundings but also due to its seven spectacular mountains and
Aside from their commercial interests,
merchants had a nose for culture. They laid the foundations for
to be the cultural city it is today.
has one of the world’s oldest symphony orchestras, the country’s
first national theatre, a host of international festivals and a whole
range of museums and institutions that owe their existence to the
generosity of merchants.
Tourist Board: www.visitBergen.com
[Purchase a Bergen Card at tourist info, which
entitles you to free bus travel as indicated on map and to most museums
Start your day with a stroll around the fish market
and the old Hanseatic area, Bryggen. Visit one of the city’s many
museums and visit composer
Grieg’s home in Troldhaugen.
’s home lies on a promontory jutting out into
with an outstanding view of the lake.
lived here from 1885 until he died in 1907. Today, Troldhaugen is a
living museum consisting of the museum, villa and the composer’s hut. www.troldhaugen.com
is a well-established cruise port. More than 245 international cruise
ships with a total of 190,000 passengers visit
from May to the end of September every year.
Year round, the famous coastal voyage, Hurtigruten,
starts and ends its popular round trip to the North Cape Kirkenes and
the Russian border in the
You can board the coastal
ships at any port and disembark where you like. There are 34 ports of
various sizes. www.hurtigruten.com
With 34 ports of call, the Norwegian Coastal Voyage
is a life-line along the west coast of
It provides services
carrying freight, cargo and passengers -showcasing the dazzling scenery
of fjords, snow-capped mountains and farm communities tucked away in
between rolling hills, as well as bustling fishing villages and
picturesque towns-every day year-round.
The fleet provides adequate comfortable small
cabins, a variety of public areas and panoramic lounges fill the ships.
Breakfast and lunch buffets are typically a marvelous Norwegian fare. At
night there are two sittings and it was time to be waited on by the
pleasant and hard-working staff that does double duty as housekeepers as
The guests onboard the ship originated from all
corners of the world. You have an opportunity to meet people from a
variety of countries and cultures. Time to brush up on your languages!
The 7-day northbound voyage, Bergen-Kirkenes is
considered “The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage.” Each day the ship
offered a selection of enriching and educational shore excursions for
the passengers who want to learn more about the nature, history and
people along the Norwegian west coast.
Our ship sailed into Geurangerfjord and we took an
excursion via the
and along the panorama of Romsdalsfjord. The 11 hair-pin turns kept me
at the edge of
my seat and extremely awed by the spectacular scenery.
The sightseeing tour of
included a visit to
’s biggest Gothic-style medieval church, which is considered most
beautiful church in entire country. www.visit-trondheim.com
Bodo sightseeing included a visit to Saltstrumen,
the world’s strongest tidal current. www.visitbodo.com
Tromso city tour included Polaria Arctic Experience
center, an interactive museum and Tronso museum. www.destinasjontromso.no
The North Cape bus excursion from Honningsvag
through reindeer-filled Arctic landscape to the north-most point in
Europe brought us to a small
camp where we stopped for a photo op. www.northcape.no
On the ship, there was an initiation ceremony to
receive your certificate of the Arctic Circle, indicating you crossed
Arctic Circle. You had to either sing a song or have an ice cube put down your back
by a costumed “King
Neptune,” a ship’s officer in a grotesque rubber mask, aided by the
Captain. I chose to sing “You are my Sunshine.” That’s about all
the entertainment we had on this cruise.
No cruise-ship airs await on the
Nordnorge, but stunning sights along the way will make you forget there’s no
casino, entertainment or shopping mall onboard.
Instead your entertainment is breathtaking scenery!
For brochure information: 800-582-0836
Reservations and Info: 212-319-1300
From Kirkenes, we flew to
Oslo, where we enjoyed some sightseeing before flying back to the
is the capital of
and offers a pass which gives free admission to museums, sights and
public transportation. It is
available at tourist centers. www.visitoslo.com
is a small, modern city of great character, but without the grandeur of
many larger European capitals. Its spacious suburbs, forests and parks
are all within sight and sound of the sea and give the city great
vistas. The capital has
outstanding art galleries and maritime museums.
Outstanding among attractions:
has the preserved Arctic vessel Fram, with a bow like a battering ram
and hull as solid as a castle wall built in 1892, which was used by
Norwegian explorers in polar expeditions. www.fram.mueum.no
has the vessel from
Heyerdahl's expedition on display and the original Kon-Tiki’s balsa-wood raft
and papyrus boat Ra II. www.kon-tikt.no
exhibit has the best preserved Viking ships in the world. The ships were
used 1,100 years ago to serve as vessels for the royal owners. www.khm.uio.no
and Museum Vigeland covers an area of 80 acres, which is open 24/7
year-round. The park contains 192 sculptures and more than 600 figures,
all modeled in full size by
fulfilled my aesthetic enthusiasm for glorious breathtaking scenery
coupled with Viking culture and history.
Definition of Fjord:
Fjords are found in locations where current or past glaciations
extended below current sea level. A fjord is formed when a glacier
retreats, after carving its typical U-shaped valley, and the sea fills
the resulting valley floor. This forms a narrow, step sided inlet
(sometimes deeper than 1300m) connected to the sea. Fjords are some of
the most dramatic landscape features on earth.
A cruise on the fjords is best way to experience
their incredible beauty.
Transportation: SAS Scandinavian Airlines
Norwegian Coastal Voyage Information:
and information: 800-323-7437
Solstrand Hotel and Spa
In outskirts of
Bergen, our first overnight as we went on sightseeing tours near
Bergen. What a magnificent hotel, where we also had a delightful dinner
Ullensvang Fjord Hotel www.hotel-ullensvang.no
Neptune Hotel was centrally located in
within walking distance of most attractions
Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania in
was in heart of the city and convenient to most attractions www.choice.no