There is a very popular tourist itinerary called Norway in a Nutshell.
We have named our itinerary Norway in a Nutjob.

This is a long post since we’re boondocking at a small city park in Douglas Wyoming on our way north and I have nothing but time, feel free to just scroll through the photos.
What we capture here on RT is just as much for our future memories as it is to share with friends and family.
Many of the photos are along the route, bits and pieces that we captured of the countryside and life outside the tourist lens. Day-by-day links ‘should’ go to the blog posts from the last 2 weeks.

Norway Is

Extremely beautiful.
Extremely expensive.
Extremely friendly.
Extremely difficult to get to from Colorado.

Suggested Nutjob Itinerary

Your mileage may vary, we assume no liability, blah blah blah.

Day 1

Catch a flight from Pueblo Regional Airport (PUB) to Denver International Airport (DEN).
Or, one-way a rental car from Pueblo when the shuttle airline cancels your flight. Again. Southern Airways is the absolute worst, we’re 0/4 for flights with them.
Drop the rental, take the rental shuttle to the airport, then a hotel shuttle to spend a night in a DEN hotel.
Lots of moving parts just to get to the launching pad .

Day 2

Catch an oh-dark-thirty DEN-JFK (John F Kennedy Airport, New York City) flight.

Airport Lounging

Airport Lounging
Lounging on the outside deck at the JFK SkyClub


Spend several hours at JFK before catching a red-eye JFK-AMS (Amsterdam, Netherlands), and finally AMS-OSL (Oslo, Norway) on what turns out to be day 3 after the redeye flight takes you from day 2.
Roughly 36 hours to get to Oslo makes for a really long trip.
Flytoget (flea-toe-get) train from OSL to your hotel downtown. The Flytoget trains are amazingly simple, clean, relatively cheap, and run every 20 minutes.

Days 3 and 4

Explore Oslo – plenty to see, but not more than two days worth.  Nothing extra to add that isn’t already in the linked post.

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard - Norway Palace
Pomp and Circumstance – changing of the guard at the Norwegian Royal Palace in Oslo


Day 5

Hop the Flytoget back to OSL, pick up a rental and then hit the road.

Rental side note
We ended up with an electric Volkswagen Id.Buzz microbus which I protested vehemently, however Avis was completely sold out and that was the only thing they had for us. So much for renting an Avis car 45 weeks per year for the last 25 years…
But – the EV worked out extremely well for us. Spacious, quiet, and charging stations are everywhere here. Look for a charger by the grocery store, plug in, go get your goodies. Our cabin in Geiranger even had a plug out back and we charged up overnight for $10 – pretty nice.
Bottom line – don’t be worried about getting an EV in Norway. It was actually weird when we would hear a petrol-powered car.

 

Fill Me Up

Fill Me Up
It’s convenient to fill your gas tank out back while you sleep!


Visit the town of Nesbyen in the Hallingdal valley where Colette’s ancestors are from. Poke around, dig up some additional history of the area, and head up the road to Gol to sleep in a tall barn at the Hesla Farm.

Day 6

Have a home-grown farm breakfast (served on a shovel) at the Hesla Farm, then hit the road.

Farm Fresh

Farm Fresh
Welcome snacks at Hesla Farm


Hesla Farm

Hesla Farm Gol Norway
Hesla Farm is very picturesque


Tall and Lean

Tall and Lean
The VW Microbus looks pretty squat compared to this tall lean traditional Norwegian barn that we’re sleeping in.


Interesting Serving

Interesting Serving
I’ve heard of Shyte on a Shingle before, but never eggs and bacon on a shovel!


From Gol head to the village of Aurland, one of the stops on the Flam-Gudvangen fjord cruise that is part of the Norway in a Nutshell itinerary.
Explore the nearby tourist town of Flam and take mandatory photos while the tourist crowds are pretty light.

Flamsbana

Flamsbana Norway
The Flam Railway


The Public Docks

The Public Docks
A few pleasure boats tied up at the public docks in Flam


Your Place Or Mine?

Your Place Or Mine?
Symmetrical boathouses in the Flam harbor


Flam Floating Fjord Sauna

Flam Floating Fjord Sauna Norway
So many floating saunas in Norway


Day 7

Do the V-Cruise from the Nutshell itinerary.
Get a call from the tour operator an hour before your fjord cruise ship pickup that they won’t be stopping in Aurland to pick you up, but you can drive back to Flam and hop on/off at the cruise start and end point there. Drive fast.

Day 8

Pack up and head to the town of Stryn, centrally located for glacier exploring.

Day 9

Explore Stryn, take the Loen Skylift cable car up to Mount Hoven, explore Olden, and view the Briksdal and Kjenndal glaciers.

Bright Green Arrows

Bright Green Arrows
Gorgeous reflections in Olden Norway


Few Colors

Few Colors
It’s a palette of a few colors, but they paint a gorgeous portrait


Olden Cruise Ship Hell

Olden Norway Cruise Ship Hell
The cruise ship Iona looms above Olden


High Expectations

High Expectations
It’s a long walk, but it’s filled with high expectations


Looks Like Home

Looks Like Home
This could be a lot of Colorado gulches


Lovatnet

Lovatnet Norway
A beautiful view down over the Lovatnet from the Kjenndalsbreen glacier side


Where Are The Sheep?

Where Are The Sheep?
You need sheep to mow your roof!


Breng View

Breng Norway View
Not a bad view when your house is covered with grass


Breng Sod Houses

Breng Norway Sod Houses
Sod the roofs and stick em close together


Olden Church

Olden Norway Church
The Olden Kjirke stands out from the green background


Cruise Ship Iona

Cruise Ship Iona in Olden Norway
This massive cruise ship dominates the small fjord village of Olden. The streets were very different from one day to the next!


Fosdal Summer Farm

Fosdal Norway Summer Farm
It takes hardy people to bring their sheep all the way up here for the summer months. It’s not an easy hike up, I can’t imagine how they brought the building materials up.


Day 10

Head east and then north from Stryn, up through the mountains and glaciers with our fingers crossed that the roads are open. Reverse all of our altitude gain as you descend into the scenic little town of Geiranger for a night.

Day 11

Flee Geiranger in the morning as the tourist crowds descend, and head up the Troll Road towards the coastal village of Alesund.

Day 12

Enjoy Norway’s Constitution Day in Alesund.

Day 13

Split the long drive from Alesund to Bergen up by picking a rural midpoint and spending a night away from every single tourist in the country in Davik.

Portable Sauna

Portable Sauna
For those times when you simply must drag your sauna along with you…


Norsk Tipping

Norsk Tipping
No idea what this means, but photo worthy anyway


NCR Berlin

NCR Berlin
Pretty cool old NCR cash register


Velkommen

Velkommen to Davik Norway
Welcome duck on our apartment in Davik


Down Day

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Small but picturesque


Day 14

Arrive in Bergen, drop your rental car and do a little wandering.

Day 15

More time exploring Bergen while testing your tourist tolerance. Finally have some Norwegian fish.

Day 16

Take the famous train from Bergen-Oslo. The trains aren’t Deutsche Bahn quality, but they are decent. Opt for the private car and have room to stretch out with some privacy. Lay down and nap when needed.

Room To Spread Out

Room To Spread Out
Always book the private train car if you have the chance.


The World Is Passing Me By

The World Is Passing Me By
Watching the scenery roll by


Whizzing Past

Whizzing Past
Fjord, lakes, mountains and marinas whizzing past


Myrdal Norway

Myrdal Norway
Myrdal is quite a scenic little town


Stark Contrasts

Stark Contrasts
It’s stark yet beautiful up here


Ready and Willing

Ready and Willing
Always waiting for the chance


Tall and Short

Tall and Short
Not a bad beer selection for a train


Short But Sweet

Short But Sweet
Traveling is hard work – sometimes you need a quick nap.


Fatol Aass

Fatol Aass  Norway beer
Too much beer gives you a …


Pick up some light snacks at the Oslo train station, then hop on the Flytoget again to your OSL airport hotel.

Day 17

Catch an early flight, OSL-AMS-JFK-DEN, and spend a night at a DEN airport hotel.

Day 18

Catch an early DEN-PUB flight, oh wait – this one was cancelled too! Southern Airway is horrible.
One-way an Avis car from DEN-PUB, pick up your vehicle and drop the rental, do some grocery shopping and head towards home.

Day 19

Sleep, sleep, sleep. Get ready to hit the road for the summer.

Things that worked well

Ferry planning

The Norwegian ferry system is quite simple in that they just photograph your license plate and bill you. The timetables are available online and they seem to run on schedule pretty well. We have yet to see what “convenience charges” Avis tacks on the the rental, but that’s just part of the package.

So. Close.

So. Close.
Watching the ferry pull away from Eid, I guess we’ll be waiting for a bit.


So. Many. Ferries.

So. Many. Ferries. In Norway
Good thing that the ferry system here has set schedules, and they just snap a photo of your license plate as you drive on and charge you later. Easy-peasy, show up, drive on, have a nap or just enjoy the amazing scenery as you cruise across.


Like Ships In The Night

Like Ships In The Night
Passing another Nordled ferry while sitting on the Starheim-Isane ferry.


Route planning

We are master route planners, and Colette is a master navigator on the fly. There were never any oh-crap moments, and we never ended up in Denmark or in the North Sea. I call that success.

Food planning

We’ve learned to bring Starbucks instant coffee (really, really good stuff), instant oatmeal, Kind bars, plasticware, hand wipes and a few other goodies with us. We’re not big restaurant eaters, so smaller, normal food on our timetable works better keeping us energetic and happy. It lso makes our luggage about fifteen pounds lighter on the return trip in case friends and family have special requests.

Lefsa Everywhere

Lefsa Everywhere in Norway
No shortage of lefsa here. Note that the Norweigan Kroner is roughly 10:1 to the US Dollar, so it’s easy to do the math.


Mmmmm

Mmmmm
The Petersons love their lefsa


More Lefsa

More Lefsa
Lefsa everywhere!


Also plan ahead for Sundays and holidays when grocery stores are closed. There are small shops such as Bunnpris, Joker, or Navesen which have a very good stock of essentials, but no beer and nowhere near the selection of a Rema or other normal groceries.

Alcohol side note
Grocery stores can only sell alcohol up to 4.7%, which excludes a lot of microbrew and all wine. These are sold at Vinmonopolet (literally The Wine Monopoly) along with liquor, but they are closed on sundays and holidays.
The Summerol beers are decent, the Fatol is just a pilsner that they modified to taste like it’s on draft and not canned, and there’s pretty much nothing interesting about any of the 4.7% beer and I tried most of them. Vinmonopolet has a good selection if you’re picky.
The Norweigan alcohol is Aquavit, it tastes like vodka with caraway seed in it. Apparently the winter variety is spicier, we got the lighter summer version. We also noted that it’s most flavorful when it’s super chilled, when room temperature there’s almost no flavor in the two brands that we tried.
Alcohol is crazy expensive here, a single regular beer at the grocery store will run you 4-5 dollars, imagine spending $30 for a 6-pack of Budweiser in the states!
Expect to pay $12-15 for a beer at a restaurant or tourist location.

Aass Halling Pilsnerol

Aass Halling Pilsnerol
If you’re going to get a beer while you’re researching family in the Hallingdal Valley…


Dessert Plate

Dessert Plate
A bit of local Solvegg Aquavit with date cookies


Lodging

It takes a ton of research, reading reviews, and pivoting as driving routes and pushpins change, luckily Colette enjoys making all of this happen. VRBO isn’t a thing in Europe, so it’s AirBnB and booking.com. We stayed in several hotels, in the city, in a barn, in a house, in several apartments, and in two lower flats – none of which sucked. Of course the bedding, cookware, and noise levels all vary, but that’s all part of the adventure.

What didn’t work so well:

Loading the GPS

Remembering to put all of our pushpins into our Garmin RV 785 GPS and email ourselves the pushpins with details, but forgetting to put the European basemaps on said GPS… I forgot that we bought this GPS after we moved back from Germany. You could see WHERE you were at, and you could see pushpins, but no roads or other features. Luckily the VW had a good GPS built in, and there is great cell service in most of the country so Google Maps worked well on Colette’s phone.

Holiday planning

We knew about Norway’s Constitution Day being a holiday, but were unaware of Ascension Day, Pentecost, or Whit Monday being complete store closures as well. Who knew?

Let Me In!!!

Let Me In!!!
High hopes dashed when Ascension Day closed all the stores…


Charging Cables

Only having two USB-C cables and having one of them crap out. With more of our technology moving to USB-C ports, this creates a charging merry-go-round for the remaining good cable.
We’ve also noted that our last two rental cars have only had USB-C outlets and not the older USB-A, luckily I had a C-A adapter with me. There are also no cigarette lighter plugs on newer cars so having a cigarette adapter with USB outlets does no good.

And Lastly – Clothes Planning

We watched the weather right up until we left, and planned for cooler temperatures with some precipitation.
We only had rain early on the second morning in Oslo, and we slept in to recalibrate and missed it all.
The rest of the time was sunny and hot, with temps in the 70s and some 80s.
And not a single short-sleeve shirt in the luggage…

The Verdict

We think that Norway is the second-most beautiful country we’ve visited, just behind Switzerland.
I teased Colette for several days that the only English she could say was “This is soooo beautiful”.
There are plenty of countries with pockets of sheer beauty, including the good old USA.
Norway and Switzerland have been the only two where EVERYTHING is beautiful, with only a few pockets of meh interspersed.

Will we be back?

Probably not to southern Norway again since our go-see-do list is huge and we only have so much lifetime, but we will definitely be going to the north to see Northern Lights properly.

Should you do it?

If you can swing the time commitment and huge hit to the wallet, we would consider this an absolute must-do.

Eldrevatnet Contrast

Eldrevatnet Contrast
It’s white on black out here, snow and ice on stone


In The Clouds

In The Clouds
Parked at the Eldrevatnet enjoying the alpine.


Fiske Forbudt

Fiske Forbudt
Norwegians are scared of my fishing prowess


Kids Hanging Out

Kids Hanging Out
A couple kid lambs hanging out as we poke around the Jutlamannen area


Farm With A View

Farm With A View
It’s amazing to think of generations farming these lands with these mountains and waterfalls out their back door.


I could stand here for hours

I could stand here for hours
Why do we love the water so much?


Fjord Stitched Panorama

Fjord Stitched Panorama
Huge panorama – zoom in and scroll around


Home Is Down There

Home Is Down There
Looking down at our AirBnB in Aurland


Glasshytte

Glasshytte
We won’t be buying any of their shytte glass


Aurland Norway

Aurland Norway
Another shot over Aurland


Aurlandsfjord

Aurlandsfjord Norway
The deep blue water of the Aurlansfjord is spectacular


Watching The Ships Roll In

Watching The Ships Roll In
Waiting for the Fodnes-Mannheller ferry


Innvikfjorden

Innvikfjorden Norway
Looking down at the Innvik fjord from the Skjorbakkane viewpoint


Hidden Beauty

Hidden Beauty
It looks start and uninviting to most, but I love it out here


Glacial Blue Stripe

Glacial Blue Stripe
Glacial ice and water really is amazing


Djupvatnet Ice

Djupvatnet Norway Ice
I guess it’s not fishing season on the Djupvatnet yet…


Making The Cut

Making The Cut
Watching them clear the road with massive snowblowers on road graders and wheel loaders, the cuts in some spots must be 30 feet high.


Eidsvatnet Reflection

Eidsvatnet Norway Reflection
An amazing reflection from the north side of Eidsvatnet


Off The Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path
When you have a half hour to wait for the next ferry, grab the camera and just stroll around.


Hornindalsvatn View

Hornindalsvatn Norway View
Hornindalsvatn is the deepest lake in europe at 1,686 feet. The shoreline looks a lot like the North Shore of Lake Superior except for the mountains in the background.


Dark and Stormy

Dark and Stormy
This does not look like a good day for a swim


Nordfjord

Nordfjord Norway
Clever artwork along the waterfront in Nordfjordeid


Salmon Farms

Salmon Farms in Norway
Salmon farming pens outside of Rugsund


Rugsund

Rugsund Norway
The picture-perfect town of Rugsund


Some Random Videos

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