Saturday, August 27, 2011


62° Nord – Skansekaia (Alesund); 011-47-7011-4430;; delivers off-beaten-track experiences (even by boat or helicopter); historic locations or modern facilities; day trips, half-day tours, or evening trips; destinations include Alesund (voted Norway’s most beautiful town both by Norwegian people and London Times, with Art Nouveau architecture nestled between sea and surrounding mountains, facing open ocean), fjords (on west coast, acclaimed by National Geographic as world’s best destination), Geirangerfjord (UNESCO World Heritage list, with s-shaped fjord that winds through sheer mountain walls, with tiny farms clinging impossibly to mountain ledges, and magnificent waterfalls cascading down from above), Hjorundfjord (mighty fjords cut through Sunnmore Alps, with Oye and Hotel Union as must-see experience), Ona (out in open ocean, inspiring Ingebrigt Steen Jensen to write his successful book Ona lighthouse), Runde (Norway’s southernmost bird cliff – sanctuary with most numerous species in Scandinavia, and Jostedal ice-field with outlet glaciers that cover over 487 square kilometers, creating largest ice-field in mainland Europe).
Ziniry – 6 Johannes Bruns (Oslo); 011-47-41-82-3150 or 011-47-9952-2990;; tours; excels at getting visitors deep into scenery.

Oslo to Bergen – “Bergen Railway” (from Oslo Central Station at Jernbanetorget); 011-472-315-1515;; from Oslo, scenic, 7-hour journey ascends to mountain resort towns (Geilo, Gol, and Nesbyen) and across vast Hardanger plateau on way to charming port city, Bergen.

Hotel Brosundet – 5 Apotekergata; 011-47-7011-4500;; room #47 is in tiny Molja Lighthouse, located in Alesund’s harbor.

Kviknes Hotel – 8 Kviknevegen (on Sognefjord); 011-47-5769-4200;; extensive art collection worth enquiring about.

Sights & Sites
Balestrand Village – Sognefjorden north shore (Sogn og Fjordane); or; see Kvamsøy Church on Kvamsøy island, serpentine County Road 13, St. Olaf Anglican Church (1897), Kvikne Hotel, Songnefjord Aquarium, Museum of Tourism, Balejazz (summer jazz festival) & Balestrand Art Village.
Gaupne – Sogn og Fjordane;; for glacier walking.
Myrdal Station & Train – Sogn og Fjordane; mountain railway station & junction on Bergen Line regional mainline.
Nærøyfjord – Sogn og Fjordane;; UNESCO World Heritage site.

FARSUND (includes Evje, Lista, Lysefjord & Vest-Agder)
Lista beaches – Havikstranda, Hauestranda og Bausje, Kviljosanden & Lomsesanden;; 10 kms beautiful, clean beaches; white sand dunes.

Farsund Resort – Bjørnevåg; 011-47-3839-2930;; clean & lovely; waterfront property, offering free Wi-Fi & modern accommodation with North Sea views, washing machine, fully equipped kitchen, flat-screen TV, dishwasher & spacious seating areas; each room has either private balcony or patio.

Sights & Sites
Flekkefjord (Hollenderbyen) – Vest-Agder;; old town gaining name following busy trade years with Holland between 1500-1700; whitewashed houses line narrow streets & picket fences frame beautiful gardens.
Hidra Island – Flekkefjord (Vest-Agder);; where Southern Norway meets Western Norway; canal divides island in half.
Knaben Mines – Kvinesdal;; tiny community was busy mining town between 1885-1973; situated in high mountains of Kvinesdal county; fantastic hiking.
Kristiansand Zoo – Kardemomme By; 011-47-8153-3900;; 150 acres; Siberian tiger, African lions, Nordic wilderness forest & Monkey jungle.
Lindesnes Lighthouse Museum – Lindesnes Fyr; 011-47-3825-5420;; most southerly point in Norway; this is Norway’s oldest lighthouse (1655); marked walking trails, war fort & art gallery.
Lista Lighthouse – Fyrveien; 011-47-3839-7776;; 38 m tall stone tower lit for 1st time in 1836; 132 steps to top, where spectacular views over Lista peninsula & sea beyond; next door is art gallery, information center & ornithology center.
Lysebotn – Lysefjord;; hair bend road is only 1.1 km long but has 27 switchbacks, including 3 inside tunnel; once you reach bottom & fjord mouth, take car ferry through Lysefjorden fjord to Lauvvik to see awesome fjord landscape.
Setesdal Valley Mineral Park – 1Mineralvegen (Evje); 011-47-3793-1310;; Europe’s largest mineral collection.

Dr. Holms Hotel – 2 Timrehaugveien; 011-47-32-095-700;; Geilo’s grande dame, overlooking slopes in back and Estedalen valley.
Thon Hotel Highland – 11 Lienvegen; 011-47-32-096-100;; big and rustic with fireside lounge; large conference hotel.
Thon Hotel Vestlia – 81 Bakkestolvegen; 011-47-32-087-200;; luxurious, smart, and stylish.

Hallingstuene – 56 Gellovegen; 011-47-32-091-250; decked out like mountain cottage; overseen by Norwegian celebrity chef; wild lamb and reindeer carpaccio.
Sofias Café & Bar – 33 Bardolavegen (at Bardola Hotel); 011-47-32-094-530; charming lunch and dinner spot with homemade bread and pastries.

Sights & Sites
Finse – highest railway station on Hardangervidda.
Flam – fishing valley on Auslandsfjord, surrounded by mountains and great hiking in summer.
Flam Railway – one of steepest railways in world, winding past remote hamlets and roaring waterfalls.
Hardangervidda – largest eroded plain in Europe.

Hotel Union – Geiranger Road; 011-47-7026-8300;; overlooks fjord.

Sights & Sites
Knut Hamsun Centre – Glimma River banks (Presteid); 011-47-7550-3450;; museum and educational center dedicated to writer Knut Hamsun's life and work.

Sights & Sites
Trolltunga – Odda;; rock that hangs out of mountain about 2K' in air; available to hikers from mid-June to about mid-September; worth special trip.

Sights & Sites
Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK) – 31 Sonja Henies Vei (Høvikodden, about 5 miles south of Oslo); 011-47-6780-4880;; art museum on headland jutting into Oslofjord; founded in 1968 by World and Olympic champion figure skater Sonja Henie (1912-1969) and her husband, shipping magnate and art collector Niels Onstad (1909-1978); their private collection of contemporary art, total 110 images, as well as funds for center construction and operation donated in 1961; designed by Norwegian architects Jon Eikvar and Sven Erik Engebretsen.

Hotel Ullensvang – 5787 Lofthus i Hardanger; 011-47-5367-0000;; composer Edvard Grieg chose this hotel for his summer vacation in 1878 & came back over many summers, finding inspiration for his music such as Springtime, Hoberg Suite & Peer Gynt Suite; original piano still kept in cottage on grounds; garden opens onto shoreline & views over Folgefonna glacier.

Sights & Sites
Romsdal Museum – 4 Per Amdams Veg; 011-47-7120-2460; founded by Peter Tønder Solemdal (1876-1963) in 1912; among country’s largest and most extensive folk museums (also several archives/libraries for photographs, prints, and text); in 1928, opened to public; in field’s middle, old Isdammen, previously used for ice production; area contains also idyllic lake, popular with birders, and stage space (used during Moldejazz, Molde International Jazz Festival); several houses included in guided tour: Hammervoll House, Holt Cottage, Erik Pålgarden Garden, and Tresfjord Cottage; includes Fishing Museum (Hjertøya Island) and Schwitters’ Merzbau (Hjertøya Island), both serviced by water taxi from Molde.

Lyngen Lodge – Djupvik; 011-47-627-853;; in stunning Lyngen Alps.

ORSTA (includes Oye)
Hotel Union Oye – 6196 Norangsfjorden (Oye); 011-47-7006-2100;; “Blue Room” is “haunted”; grand hotel in dramatic setting.

Sights & Sites
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) – Forsand;; popular hiking destination.

Sights & Sites
Kjeragbolten – Lysefjord;; boulder wedged in mountain crevasse by edge of Kjerag mountain; 5 cubic meter stone block suspended above 984-meter deep abyss; despite its impressive appearance, easily accessible on foot without any special equipment; take E39 out of Stavanger; head for Ålgård; after passing Ålgård, turn left to Sirdalen via Oltedal, Dirdal & Byrkjedal (Route 43); at toll station at Øvstabø, turn left for Sinnes, pass Fidjeland & turn left again for Lysebotn.

Basecamp Spitsbergen – Longyearbye (Spitsbergen Island); 011-47-7902-4600;; large portfolio of adventure trips; mainly offers winter activities, including stay aboard Noorderlicht, Dutch sailing vessel set into fjord ice as long freeze begins each autumn; also offers summer & winter stays at Isfjord Radio, ultimate remote getaway on upgraded, one-time radio station at western tip of Spitsbergen.
Nordenskiöld Lodge – Billefjorden (Spitsbergen Island); 011-47-7902-4600;; northernmost cabin for commercial trips on Spitsbergen; located far away from any civilization; offers excellent possibilities for longer expeditions; no electricity & running water; wood heats up cabin; drinking water from melting glacier; 5 bedrooms with fantastic arctic view, 10 comfortable beds, indoor toilet & traditional Finnish sauna; laying in glacier moraine; well-hidden.
Trapper’s Hotel – Longyearbye (Spitsbergen Island); 011-47-7902-4600;; family rooms, 24-hour reception & bicycle rental; ideally situated in town centre; non-smoking; 16 individually-decorated rooms offering all essentials; private bathrooms have shower.

Huset – Longyearbye; 011-47-7902-5002;; something of walk up here but worth it; dining in cafe-bar is casual, with well-priced pasta, pizza & reindeer stew; signature dish is hamburger med alt – meaty burger with all trimmings.

Sights & Sites
Svalbard Museum – Longyearbyen; 011-47-7902-6490;; Artic museum.

Ersfjordbotn Kystferie – 93 Nisevegen (Kvaloysletta); 011-47-9087-4190;; aurora-viewing above Arctic Circle; mid-September to late March; 3 cottages to let.

Utne Hotel – 5779 Utne; 011-47-5366-6400;; mountains & Hardangerfjord surround, this, 1 of oldest hotels in Norway, opening its doors to guests in 1722; intricate decorative details & antiques; fruit trees blossom in spring.

Sights & Sites
Vennesla Library & Cultural House – 19 Venneslamoen; 011-47-3813-7285;; library structure that includes café, open meeting places, and small scene; main building material is wood; building dominated by 27, glue-laminated timber arcs that support roof and give associations to whale rib skeleton.

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