Sunday, January 30, 2011

Norway

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my hubby and I just took a mini-vacation to northern Norway.  It was a fantastic trip!  I have so many photos and stories of adventure to share (which I will do over the next few days).  However, I thought I'd start by sharing some of the resources we used to plan the trip.  Turns out that we don't know anyone who has ever traveled to Norway or who is from Norway - so planning the trip was an interesting process.

Through a Norwegian friend of a Swedish friend of an American friend, we ended up finding a Norwegian travel agent who helped us plan an amazing trip.  Her name is Christine Gaffney and she owns a travel agency called The Travel Designer.

Our itinerary overview, planned by Christine:

  • Thursday, January 20th
    • Departed California (United) and connected in Newark, NJ (Continental) on our way to Oslo 
  • Friday, January 21st
    • Arrived Oslo around 9am
    • Immediately boarded another plane (SAS) to Tromso, Norway (north of the Arctic Circle)
    • Arrived Tromso around 2 or 3
    • Checked into the water front Rica Ishvahotel
  • Saturday, January 22nd
    • Explored Tromso
    • Around 5pm departed Tromso for a nighttime snowmobiling adventure
  • Sunday, January 23rd
    • Had a lazy morning in Tromso
    • Headed to the airport around 2pm to catch a flight to Sorkjosen, Norway
    • Flight was canceled, so took a 4 hour bus to the Lyngen Lodge in the Lyngen Alps
  • Monday, January 24th
    • Snowshoeing in the Lyngen Alps
  • Tuesday, January 25th
    • Early flight from Sorkjosen to Tromso and then on to Oslo 
    • Explored Oslo
  • Wednesday, January 26th
    • 11am flights out of Norway
I put together the Google My Map to show you where we were on a map!


View Norwegian Vacation in a larger map


If you're interested, before we found Christine we had planned a strawman itinerary for ourselves.  Looking back, had we done this itinerary we would have missed our favorite part of the trip - Lyngen Lodge!  I also think that the Hurtigruten would have been too much of our previous 5 night timeline.  We should have considered flying between the two cities (a very short flight).  I say this in case anyone who stumbles across this post wants to plan something similar. 

Our almost itinerary:
  • Thursday, January 20th
    • Departed California (United) and connected in Newark, NJ (Continental) on our way to Oslo 
  • Friday, January 21st
    • Arrived Oslo around 9am
    • Immediately boarded another plane (SAS) to Tromso, Norway (north of the Arctic Circle)
    • Arrived Tromso around 2 or 3
  • Saturday, January 22nd
    • Explore Tromso
    • Around 4pm departed Tromso on the Hurtigruten coastal steamer
  • Sunday, January 23rd
    • Day on the Hurtigruten popping in and out of the coastal inlets of northern Norway
  • Monday, January 24th
    • Hurtigruten arrives in Kirkenes (near the Russian / Norwegian border)
    • Dogsledding in Kirkenes
    • Night at the Snow hotel in Kirkenes
  • Tuesday, January 25th
    • Fly to Oslo
    • Explore Oslo
  • Wednesday, January 26th
    • Leave Norway
So would we do anything different next time?  Honestly, we would have probably preferred one less night in Tromso for one more night at the Lyngen Lodge.

Our itinerary for next time:
  • Thursday, January 20th
    • Departed California (United) and connected in Newark, NJ (Continental) on our way to Oslo 
  • Friday, January 21st
    • Arrived Oslo around 9am
    • Immediately boarded another plane (SAS) to Tromso, Norway (north of the Arctic Circle)
    • Arrived Tromso around 2 or 3
    • Checked into the water front Rica Ishvahotel
  • Saturday, January 22nd
    • Explored Tromso
    • Around 5pm departed Tromso for Lyngen Lodge by bus or flight through Sorkjosen
  • Sunday, January 23rd
    • Dogsledding or snowmobiling from Lyngen Lodge
  • Monday, January 24th
    • Snowshoeing in the Lyngen Alps
  • Tuesday, January 25th
    • Fly to Oslo
    • Explored Oslo
  • Wednesday, January 26th
    • 11am flights out of Norway
Last, but not least, we rounded up some Norwegian recommendations from our friends of friends.  I have put them all in a Google doc in case they might be useful to others.  I apologize in advance, I didn't really take the time to format - but I think it is still readable for the most part.

Enjoy!!  Norway was one of the best places I have ever been in my life. 

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