2010 Grand Tour of Scandinavia
Insight


Day 1, Saturday, May 29 Depart US
I've done a similar trip before - back in 2002. It was a great trip but we didn't get as far north as we do on this trip - which is why I chose this one. After the mid-April and early-May eruptions of a volcano in Iceland totally disrupted all flights between the US and Europe, particularly Scandinavia, I started to worry about a continuing or similar disruption when I head out for this trip. At least I don't have worry about a hurricane this time.

With a 21 day trip, it's back to the StuporShuttle again, but with an 8AM departure, I get up at 3AM for a 4:05 pickup. The way Insight wanted to book my flight, they "couldn't" get me to the airport with an "included" transfer on the last day, so I would have to pay an extra $150 (!!!) for a taxi. So I changed to booking my own flights with CreditCard points. After all the very hot, dry weather we've been having, I almost forgot to pack a raincoat and a couple of sweaters.

I pre-checked in my luggage and printed both my boarding passes yesterday so there aren't any problems. Off on the usual long overnight flight although traveling on Memorial Day weekend is an extra hassle - this is truly about what it seemed like getting through the airports:



There is more than enough transfer time in the Newark airport to make the connection and still have time for a junk-food lunch - 5 hours is more than needed, but safe.

1Continental CO 408Houston - Newark7:50 A - 12:12 P3:225:23
2Continental CO 122Newark - Copenhagen5:35 P - 7:35 A8:0016:45

Day 2, Sunday, May 30 Copenhagen at Leisure
After that long seemingly endless 8-hour flight, it's welcome to Scandinavia! I have been up for 21:35 and it's still a long time until "bedtime." On arrival at Copenhagen Airport, I have to wait for 3 hours since Insight's shuttle service doesn't leave for the tour hotel until 10:30. I probably couldn't check into the hotel if I got there any earlier, but the room IS ready when we do get there. Unfortunately, as promised in the airline pilot's weather forecast, it's beginning to rain lightly. There is time to relax, recuperate and settle in. Tonight we have a Welcome Drink and decent dinner at the hotel, followed by a visit to the glittering light and "enchanting atmosphere" of the famous Tivoli Gardens which is always enjoyable. But after that flight, and with a light rain, and since it's now (8PM) 35 hours that I've been awake (after only 2 ½ hours sleep) I skip what would have been the highlight of the Copenhagen visit - get to my room, and 10 minutes later I'm asleep. At least I've been there twice beforeand they did give us dinner and a chance at going to Tivoli. Otherwise it's just the usual arrival day. The Tour director is Tina Stromberg (who turns out to be one of my half-dozen best tour directors), driver is Michael with 38 passengers - for a very full 40-passenger bus. There's only 1 ½ seats open. Hotel: First Vesterbro (2 nights) The room, definitely set up as a "single," looks nice but is very cramped by 2-3 inches in too many awkward places. Great location though. (D)



Day 3, Monday, May 31 Copenhagen Sightseeing
This is my third time to do the Copenhagen - Stockholm - Helsinki travel route (and will be my 4th visit to Helsinki) so I'll skip the options here. See the ROSENBORG PALACE & CROWN JEWELS and Amalienborg Palace and the Renaissance Stock Exchange again. The world-famous "Little Mermaid" statue is on loan to some international festival in Japan so we don't get to see it. It will be back home in Copenhagen sometime in November. In the meantime, they have a very large video screen set up with a closed circuit live picture of the statue where it's on display there in Japan - high tech exhibitionism. (Don't) Consider also joining an optional tour through the Danish countryside (very doubtful). And no lunch or dinner either! After the morning tour, I get lunch in the town square from street-side kiosks. The light drizzle is still with us and holds on until mid-afternoon as forecast. I wish they were offering Tivoli tonight rather than last night. The afternoon is spent rearranging my luggage.

OPTIONALS: CPH02 NORTH ZEALAND CASTLE TOUR We drive along the Danish Riviera Road, the scenic coastal road, to the castles of North Zealand. We see Fredensborg, the summer residence of the Royal Family. Visit to the 17th century Fredriksborg Castle, magnificently situated on an island, where we see the State Apartments and the Coronation Chapel. En route we pass through small villages with thatched half- timbered houses. € 46 ~ $58

CPH03 TRADITIONAL FAMILY DINNER Join us and the locals for dinner - Danish style - at one of the oldest restaurants in the heart of Copenhagen. A glass of wine, beer or a soft drink of our choice is included. € 63 ~ $80 for dinner - NO WAY!

Day 4, Tuesday, June 1 Copenhagen - Stockholm
It's a long, long driving day. Up very early for a 7 AM departure. Drive to Elsinore to NOT see Hamlet's Kronborg Castle (except in passing at some distance) before taking a short 25 minute ferry ride across to Sweden. Our journey takes us through fertile farmland and beautiful lush green views, and along the shores of Lake VΓ€ttern to Stockholm, which is set on 14 islands. Arrive in Stockholm about 4:45. Another day with no regular meals except breakfast! I'm still skipping the optionals. Hotel: Clarion Stockholm. Much nicer room than in Copenhagen. (BB)

OPTIONAL: STO02 SWEDISH SUMMER DINNER This evening try some authentic local cuisine served in traditional surroundings. € 52 ~ $66

Day 5, Wednesday, June 2 Stockholm - Overnight Cruise
We have to pack an "overnight bag" since we won't see our regular luggage again until Helsinki. Off at 8AM for our city tour with our local guide. Visit the City Hall's 'Gold Room', where Nobel Prize banquets are held, the medieval Old Town and see the cathedral. Visit the 17th century Wasa Galleon, YEA! NUMBER THREE HIGHLIGHT, one of the greatest attractions of northern Europe (and one of the real attractions of the trip). Inga, our local guide, tells us about the comment made by an 8-year-old young lady on a previous trip. Totally appropriate and absolutely priceless!!! After driving around a while, we are then dumped in the town center about noon until 3:30. We see the Changing of the Guard, complete with Marine band. At this point - 1:30 PM, even after watching the filming of some commercial (car? At least the young lady model is attractive), it's still quite a while until time to go to the ship so I decide to "splurge" $10 and go to the View Tower. Bad decision - drastically over-rated and a total waste of time. It's the start of, for me, about 30+ hours of total boredom. When we come back from the tower to pick up the rest of the people (those smart enough to NOT go to the tower), one couple isn't there so we wait and wait … for 30 minutes until they finally show up. We go to the port, and embark on my third miserable Baltic Hellsinki cruise (one of the two least enjoyable parts of the trip so we have one of the best and one of the worst parts of the trip in the same 24 hours) to Finland through the largest archipelago in the world. I'm consigned to "pallet" A, shipping container 10191, deep in the stack and right near the bow. On board, we get one surprise, an actually very good buffet dinner (previous trips had a miserable set-menu plate of garbage). Then back to my shipping container until time for breakfast. (BB,D)

OPTIONAL: STO07 PANORAMIC VIEW TOWER We go by coach to experience the viewing platform of Kaknas Tower - Sweden's tallest building. Here we have the very best views out over the city and its archipelago - but the best is very poor and we can't see out far enough to see any of the archipelago. € 10 ~ $10

Day 6, Thursday, June 3 Helsinki Slightseeing
After a 7:30 (fair) breakfast, eventually disembark in Helsinki to visit, for my 4th time. As expected, it's the same old slightseeing. We visit the modern 'Church in the Rock' which has been cut right into the rock in the centre of Helsinki. Also as usual, see the unusual Sibelius Monument, Finlandia Hall, the Russian Orthodox Church and the market. Then we're dumped at the hotel (nice). The remainder of the day is at leisure boredom. And they don't include any meals today, either! For me, a boring day since I've been here three times before, but fortunately only one day here. Hotel: Radisson SAS Plaza (BB)

Day 7, Friday, June 4 Helsinki - Kuopio
Here I'm starting a "new" part on this trip, heading towards the North Cape - the real reason for taking this tour of Norway. Travel through a land of beautiful lakes and forests today! I've been through a bit east of here before, and it IS beautiful. Looking ahead to weather forecast for later, Tina switches our tower-view-stop to the 90m ski jump tower in Lahti. Too bad that clouds/overcast moves in just as we get there or the view would have been much better. We're not really into the lake district yet so not much of that to see either. Otherwise it's a very nice day. This afternoon's ascent of Kuopio's Viewing Tower is deleted since we went up the ski-jump tower in Lahti. Yea, Dinner! Hotel: Sokos Hotel Kuopio. Nice hotel and very nice dinner, so-so breakfast tomorrow morning. (BB,D)

Day 8, Saturday, June 5 Kupio - Rovaniemi
(new) We start out in a light rain and have several alternating periods of partly-sunny, rain, and hail (yes, hail). Beautiful wooded scenery though nothing really spectacular. The lakes are very nice, when we can see them - all those woods blocking views many times. We travel into the Arctic and into Lapland, the home of the Sami people. Our destination is Rovaniemi, the capital of the region. It would have been a great time to walk around except that it's quite cool (3C/37F) and still raining off and on. Hotel: Sokos Hotel Vaakuna. Very nice hotel and good meals. Nice place for 2 nights. (BB,D)

Day 9, Sunday, June 6 Rovaniemi Sightseeing
(new) We have a three-part day, two parts being optional. After a nice breakfast, we head out on our (fortunately) short city tour. The first stop is the Cathedral which is a nice stop. After that we visit the Aalvar Aalto's Lapponia House (where the local tour guide couldn't get the doors open) and we started wondering if this virtually emotionless Finnish lady would EVER finish the tour. Rovaniemi is a nice, modern city which had to be totally rebuilt after WW II - nice but not much of interest. Then we go back to the hotel for a 2-hour lunch break. After lunch Part Two is a visit to the nice, optional open-air museum. The old farmhouse is well restored, but I've seen lots of them. Then the highlight of the afternoon is the ARKTIKUM MUSEUM. It would have been fantastic, but they don't allow ANY pictures, not even with a photo pass option which made this extremely disappointing. The evening's optional part three: I decide to skip the traditional Lapp dinner since I've been disappointed on such dinners on several previous trips. I just scrounge around for something for dinner. (BB)

OPTIONALS: RVN01 THE ARCTIC CENTRE & PIONEER FARM An excursion to show us the conditions of a pioneering farmer in Lapland. We visit a typical 19th century farm, now converted into a museum portraying farm life and traditions. We then continue to the Arctic Centre, which gives us an insight into the past, present and future of Arctic life. This is the first museum in the world that portrays the demanding conditions and the challenge of coping with life in the dark, cold and barren Arctic. € 30 ~ $38

RVN02 DINNER WITH A LAPP FAMILY Tonight we leave the 20th century behind and visit a Lapp family at their farm situated right on the Arctic Circle. We meet Rudolf and his brothers and learn much about reindeer herding. During the evening we also enjoy a traditional Lapp dinner and a performance of local folk dancing. € 57 ~ $72

Day 10, Monday, June 7 Rovaniemi - Ivalo - Saariselka
(new) For the third day in a row, we have intermittent rain showers all day and it's also turning much cooler. First we visit the Santa Claus Village (10 minutes from the hotel) where it is Christmas all year round and they want all your money all year around. As we get there, we step across the Arctic Circle at the same time - and receive a certificate to prove it (my third time to cross the Arctic Circle). OK, I did help out the Finnish economy a bit, but NOT the 30 Euros for my picture with Santa. Next we head for the oldest church in Lapland - in the rain, of course. As we head north, we see occasional small groups of reindeer roaming freely along the way. Travel through Europe's last great wilderness to visit the national park (nice park center and excellent film - if it had had English subtitles. Supposedly we see the gold centre of Tankavaara but it's just a "drive-through shooting." We were supposedly scheduled to get to Ivalo, but our stop is actually about 40km south of there. Hotel: Holiday Club Saariselka where we have a half-mile walk from our rooms to the main lodge; otherwise decent, but not special. (BB,D)

Day 11, Tuesday, June 8 Saariselka - Honnigsvag (North Cape)
(new) Cross the rolling tundra into Norway where we visit a Lapp folk museum and stop at Karasjok, the seat of the Sami Parliament and a centre of Lapp culture. Very nice museum - but nothing really from our Karasjok stop. Then we travel on through unique scenery towards the North Cape passing through several tunnels including one which is the deepest in Europe - 200m below sea level. We do one extra photo stop to see a small fishing village (nice stop) then on to the hotel - mid afternoon arrival to beat the rest of the busses into town. Our hotel is in Honningsvag on Mager Island, from where we drive another 45 minutes about 9PM to the northern most point of Europe in search of the Midnight Sun. We travel there by local bus. There are a few things to do there before waiting around to see the midnight sun. NUMBER TWO HIGHLIGHT, Despite fears of occasional rain and overcast it turns out to be excellent viewing except for a low cloud bank. We don't get back to the hotel until after 1AM. Another Highlight/Lowlight combo: Midnight Sun and this (censored) Hotel: Rica Honnigsvag - definitely a "single" room, very basic, toilet unusable/unsittable (location/space - have to go down to the lobby and use the public access toilet), no heat except what came in from sunlight through the windows during the afternoon! Frigid! I definitely need all the "covers" tonight. (BB,D)

Day 12, Wednesday, June 9 Honnigsvag - Alta
(new) We have a very short driving day. Off at 10 since we got in so late this morning. Return to the mainland, travelling through stony, near deserted landscape but still with some very interesting scenery, of Finnmark to Alta, situated on one of the world's richest salmon rivers. Arrive at 2 even with our lunch stop. Hotel: Rica Hotel Alta - very nice hotel. (BB,D)

OPTIONALS: ALT01 WILDERNESS RIVER TRIP - I was going to take this but it's NOT OFFERED! Our tour on the famous salmon river, Alta, gives us a sense of the Lappland wilderness. We then sit around a camp fire on reindeer hides and enjoy coffee and waffles on the river bank. We also ascend the slate mountain with staggering views of the Alta valley before returning to our hotel. Supposedly the mosquitoes are awful right now. € 43 ~ $54

ALT02 ROCK CARVINGS & MUSEUM The Alta rock carvings are featured on UNESCO's World Heritage list. Etched into the rock Surface down towards the fjord you can see three thousand carvings some of which date back 6000 years. Could it possibly be the first sign of Lapp civilisation? This museum won the much coveted award 'Europe's museum of the year 1993'. € 33 ~ $42

Day 13, Thursday, June 10 Alta - Narvik
(new) Into Fjord Country - Hooray! Beautiful scenery today except the weather varies from partly cloudy to overcast with rain. Today pass the fjord at Alta where the battleship Tirpitz hid out during World War Two. Travel through some of the most stunning northern scenery, past mountains, fjords and fishing villages for a two-night stay in Narvik. Tina said that it IS a hotel, but the rest of the name is misleading. Actually I like it very much, and the food is good. Hotel: Grand Royal Narvik (2 nights) (BB,D)

Day 14, Friday, June 11 Narvik at Leisure
(new) We wake up to beautiful weather this morning so the scenery around town is great - nice mountains on the other side of the fjord. It would be a great day to take the gondola to the top of the mountain but the owners aren't interested in having 40 paying passengers, so they aren't opening for a couple of days yet. This happened to Tina once before - 3 full busloads of tourists - 120 passengers - and the owners couldn't care less.

This day has been set aside for us to enjoy at our own pace - all options. Perhaps a visit the War Museum, or as an option I've been looking forward to, take a mountain train into Sweden. It's not a long trip - just 50 minutes- and it's NOT the Fram railway. However with the great weather, it's really nice. It's too bad that reflections in the window glass prevented lots of good pictures. The description is mildly misleading: we DO get into Sweden - by about 200 yards - to the town that is right on the border of Sweden. We get back about 1:45 and the rest of the day is at boredom. No other activities are planned or offered. Lunch and munchies for supper are available at the shopping center next door to the hotel.

Due to a combination of its setting and the fact that the weather today is fantastic, Narvik is my favorite/most beautiful spot we've visited, at least, so far, but we still have Geiranger to come. I wish the gondola was running today - it would be a fantastic view from the top of the mountain. (BB)

OPTIONAL: NRV01 RAILWAY JOURNEY TO SWEDEN We take a railway ride on the Ofot Railway, an incredible engineering feat constructed 100 years ago to transport supplies of iron ore from Kiruna to Narvik for shipment around the world. The journey offers us incredible views of the surrounding fjords as the train clings to the mountain side. € 32 ~ $40

Day 15, Saturday, June 12 Narvik - Mosjoen
(new) It's lucky that the hotel just switched to their Summer schedule with breakfast an hour earlier (7AM) since we have to take the morning ferry across Tysfjord (30 minutes) to start out on our long day. We pass through Rago National Park, its fjords cutting deep into the landscape. We bid farewell to the Arctic before reaching Mosjoen, a town on the Vefsnfjord, and have a "drive by shooting" blindly into the woods where there may be the oldest octagonal church in Norway. Hotel: Fru Haugens. Similar to the hotel in Narvik but not quite as nice. Both have "local charm" which is good.(BB,D)

Day 16, Sunday, June 13 Mosjoen - Paradise Bay - Hell - Trondheim
(new) The weather turns overcast and gloomy again with intermittent light showers. We drive through Namdal then make a photo stop at the mighty Laksfoss Falls. Continue past Paradise Bay to the village of Hell for another photo stop at the train station, then on to Trondheim, seat of the ancient Viking Kings, to admire the cathedral. Hotel: Radisson Royal Garden. Nice hotel, but no dinner included tonight. (BB)

Day 17, Monday, June 14 Trondheim - Geiranger
(part new) Cross the Dovre Mountains which form Norway's oldest National Park. We make photo stops at the Taalka Bridge over the Pollfoos Falls and Djupvasshytta Lake (which is still mostly frozen). Arrive at the mirror-smooth waters (maybe sometimes, but not today) of Geirangerfjord to embark on a spectacular cruise beneath towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls though it would have been better if the boat windows had been cleaned in the last 6 months. Our hotel is in a superb setting overlooking the beautiful Norwegian Fjord landscape. Not our rooms; THOSE rooms cost about 5000NOK a night. My room looks out over the parking lot behind the hotel, someone's home, and part of a hillside. Note: we didn't stay here in 2002, just passed through and took the ferry on to the next location. Hotel: Union (2 nights) Nice hotel and nice location. (BB,D)

Day 18, Tuesday, June 15 Geiranger at Leisure
(new) A day of relaxation amid the fjords and mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage area. Another option I've been looking forward to, taking an excursion along the amazing Trolls' Road. Super Day Today!! We start out up the Eagle's Road on Geiranger Fjord, cross the high ridge, take a 10 minute ferry ride to cross another fjord, then climb up high so as to then descend the Troll's Road. Beautiful weather, best option of the trip. Fabulous. NUMBER ONE HIGHLIGHT! Now back to that horrible bed in the hotel.Insight does "throw" us a "Bon Voyage" party with drinks and a sales pitch to take more Insight tours - maybe to make up for the lack of an included Farewell dinner. One drink is certainly cheaper for Insight than including a nice farewell dinner. (BB,D)

OPTIONAL: GRN01 THE TROLL`S ROAD (new) Our tour of Geiranger includes a scenic drive up the Eagle's Road offering amazing views of the Geiranger Fjord and the stunning Seven Sisters Waterfall and the small village of Eidsdal where we cross the fjord by ferry. From here we climb through the abundant fruit growing valleys and leave civilisation behind as we go above the tree line, seeing some of the most breathtaking scenery before arriving at the Troll's Road, a masterpiece of engineering when it was built over 60 years ago. € 40 ~ $50

Day 19, Wednesday, June 16 Geiranger - Lom - Lillehammer - Oslo
Off early this morning. We travel via lakes and snow-capped peaks, including a brief photo stop at Djupvasshytta Lake for pictures in perfect weather, then travel on to see get a brief glimpse, maybe, through the trees, of the church in Lom - which is one of the biggest and most beautiful stave churches in Norway dating back to 1158-59. Continue through the countryside of 'Peer Gynt', immortalized by Ibsen, to Oyer to come face to face with the world's largest Troll - and another brief glimpse, maybe, by a couple of people, of the troll hidden in among some trees. We do get an occasional photo stop at some beautiful sights - which somewhat makes up for not being able to get any decent pictures from the bus due to reflections in the window glass. At this point, due to being back in "repeat" territory, the trip is essentially "over." After stopping briefly in Lillehammer we head out to the horrible traffic in Oslo (almost as bad as in Beijing). Sad note: one of my very favorite stops on my 2002 trip was a visit to Maihaugen which is just outside Lillehammer. I really wish that this tour had included a stop there - this is a major loss as far as I'm concerned. Hotel: Radisson Blu Scandinavia, nice hotel but "pricy" on everything. (2 nights) (BB)

Day 20, Thursday, June 17 Oslo Sightseeing
After a so-so breakfast, there's not much to do today except a repeat of a short "panoramic" drive-by-shooting tour of the city which takes in the Akershus Fort guarding the harbor and the Royal Palace. Visit Frogner Park which houses the unique, controversial sculptures by Gustav Vigeland - for me, more wasted time since our local guide "has" to tell us about each detail of every one of the sculptures. Lastly is another nice (repeat) visit to the Viking Long Ship Museum. HORRORS! There are 19 other busloads of school children, Japanese hoards, and other stray tourists. Wall-to-wall Sardines. Too bad that we didn't also visit the open-air museum which is just "right around the corner" even though, based on 2002, it isn't as nice as Maihaugen. So I've now missed both the open-air historical buildings museums. The afternoon is at leisure boredom since they don't even give us a "Farewell Dinner." It's "optional." So dinner is courtesy of "7-11." At least it gives plenty of time to figure out how to repack my luggage. (BB)

OPTIONALS: OSL04 HOLMENKOLLEN HILL AND DINNER Before dinner we take a scenic drive through the most fashionable residential suburbs of Oslo up to the top of the Holmenkollen Hill. From here we head to a delightful restaurant for our dinner with drinks included. € 59 ~ $75

OSL05 NORWEGIAN FOLKLORE AND HERITAGE Norway's rural past will come to life when we visit the unique 13th century stave church. We also see the collection of beautiful Norwegian National costumes and have a highlight visit to Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki. (Been there, done all that twice, so no thanks!) € 34 ~ $43

Day 21, Friday, June 18 Oslo - Depart
After having to skip breakfast due to Insight shuttle schedules (leave the hotel at 6:30) since departure transfers only arrive at Oslo Airport at 7:15 & 10:15 (which is why I had to change from Insight to direct reservations) finally start the long trip home - but not on time. The flight is 1:30 late and I'm really worried about making my connection in Newark since the original layover time is only 3:35. (no BB)

Fortunately Continental gets permission for a shorter route/higher speed and we make up most of that. There is enough time to make connections in Newark, even after Customs / Immigration, and I have time grab some junk-food. The last flight is on time, and even gets into Houston a bit early. I'll be taking the same CO 63 flight again in August returning from Maritime Canada.

3Continental CO 39Oslo - Newark12:53 P - 2:28 P7:352:57
4Continental CO 63Newark - Houston5:25 P - 7:55 P3:3014:02

With an 8:30 arrival and an unusually short wait for the StuporShuttle, I make it home by 9:30PM after a nice trip.



Selected pictures
Click to enlarge

Note: I took almost no pictures the first few days and the last day or two due to that part being a repeat of the 2002 trip.





GENERAL COMMENTS: Another nice trip despite two miserable nights. Some hotels were very over-rated; a couple were under-rated. Well planned and carried out; the extra leg-room on the coaches (max 40 pax) was really nice. I'm looking forward to another trip with Insight in 2012: Eastern Delights with Greek Islands cruise extension.

HIGHLIGHTS
1 The Eagle's Road / Troll's Road at Geiranger
2 The Midnight Sun at the Nord Kapp
3 The VASA Museum in Stockholm
4 A really super tour director - thanks, Tina Stromberg

LOWLIGHTS
1 The hotel in Honnigsvag, even though it is supposed to be the best in town.
2 The 'shipping container' cabin on the floating barge
3 No visit to Maihaugen even though we were close-by in Lillehammer
4 Not getting into Tivoli Gardens this time.

OPTIONS:
COPENHAGENCPH02 NORTH ZEALAND CASTLE TOUR € 46 ~ $58NO
CPH03 TRADITIONAL FAMILY DINNER€ 63 ~ $80NO
STOCKHOLMSTO02 SWEDISH SUMMER DINNER€ 52 ~ $66NO
STO07 PANORAMIC VIEW TOWER€ 10 ~ $10out of boredom
ROVANIEMIRVN01 THE ARCTIC CENTRE & PIONEER FARM € 30 ~ $38Yes
RVN02 DINNER WITH A LAPP FAMILY€ 57 ~ $72NO
ALTAALT01 WILDERNESS RIVER TRIP€ 43 ~ $54Yes
NOT OFFERED
ALT02 ROCK CARVINGS & MUSEUM€ 33 ~ $42NO
NARVIKNRV01 RAILWAY JOURNEY TO SWEDEN€ 32 ~ $40Yes
GEIRANGERGRN01 THE TROLL`S ROAD € 40 ~ $50Yes
OSLOOSL04 HOLMENKOLLEN HILL AND DINNER€ 59 ~ $75NO
OSL05 NORWEGIAN FOLKLORE AND HERITAGE€ 34 ~ $43NO

HOTEL/MEALS:
The hotels on my August, 2002, trip to Scandinavia were mostly ok but no a/c and it was their hottest summer on record. By going in early June it is much better this time. I skip all four optional dinner excursions - way too expensive for what we get which I learned on many previous trips.

DayCityMealHotelRanking
Day 2Copenhagenx DFirst Vesterbro12
Day 3B
Day 4StockholmBClarion Stockholm1
Day 5On ShipB DFloating barge15
Day 6HelsinkiBRadisson SAS Plaza2
Day 7KuopioB DSokos Hotel Kuopio9
Day 8RovaniemiB DSokos Hotel Vaakuna3
Day 9B
Day 10SaariselkaB DHoliday Club Saariselka10
Day 11North CapeB DRica HonnigsvagBAD
Day 12AltaB DRica Hotel Alta5
Day 13NarvikB DGrand Royal Narvik6
Day 14B
Day 15MosjoenB DFru Haugens Hotel11
Day 16TrondheimBRadisson Royal Garden4
Day 17GeraingerB DUnion7
Day 18B D
Day 19OsloBRadisson Blu Scandinavia8
Day 20B

AIRLINES: For some reason the computer system wouldn't let me make seat reservations for the return flights, only the outbound flights but I finally called Continental and got seats assigned on Apr 15. At least no 10-12 hour flights unless there is an "ash" delay.

1Continental CO 408Houston - Newark7:50 A - 12:12 P3:225:23
2Continental CO 122Newark - Copenhagen5:35 P - 7:35 A8:0016:45
3Continental CO 39Oslo - Newark12:53 P - 2:28 P7:352:57
4Continental CO 63Newark - Houston5:25 P - 7:55 P3:3014:02