Sweden and Norway tour review, Charles August 2017

October 26th 2017

Dear Asko,

The trip went very well, thanks for all your planning and organising. The walking tour guides were all very good, we learnt and saw a lot with them.

The food tour in Stockholm was a lot of fun. We ate some things I would not otherwise have tried (boar salami, cold-smoked bear, and reindeer mousse, for example), and learnt a lot.The car transfers were all good, all arrived on time or early and were very professional. The hotels were (with one exception) all good.

The only thing which we did not enjoy completely was the Norway in a Nutshell tour. This was a train from Bergen to Voss, a bus from Voss to Gudvangen, then the fjord cruise to Flam. The train from Bergen to Voss was a 90-minute trip on a local train, with no seat reservations possible, and it was packed to about 125% capacity with large tour groups of Chinese. Even elderly Norwegian locals getting on could not get a seat - I saw one man of about 80+ years of age having to stand all the way, because the Chinese travellers had grabbed all the seats and even the young ones would not give them up to an obviously elderly man. The whole 90 minute train trip was very unpleasant. Trains with seat reservations would fix this.

The 60-minute bus trip from Voss to Gudvangen was nearly as bad, with a lot of pushing and rushing for seats on the buses.
When we got to Gudvangen we then had to stand in a long outdoor queue for about 20 minutes to get on the ferry. It was raining heavily (as it often does, on the west coast of Norway), and there was no cover, so everyone was quite wet by the time they were on board. There should be some sort of cover or building provided here, a shed or something like that.

The ferry trip on the fjord was very scenic, and the Fretheim Hotel in Flam we enjoyed very much, but did not make up for the other things - I would not recommend this journey to anyone, until (at a minimum) seat reservations are possible on the train from Bergen to Voss, and there is some overhead cover for the queue to get on the ferry at Gudvangen.

Thanks again, overall the trip was very good and we enjoyed it very much.