It has only been a week since I left the Land of the Fjords and headed back to Minnesota and my job at Borton Overseas, after leading a successful group tour to Norway and I am already more than ready to go back! Norway may not be where I currently live, but it is definitely my home. My name is Nicole, and I am a Scandinavia Specialist at Borton Overseas. My job gives me the opportunity/privilege to help travelers experience and love Norway the way I do. Last fall, I was chosen to lead Borton Overseas’ latest Signature Journey Embrace Norway’s Wonders, and I have been excitedly and nervously awaiting the trip since. I knew it would be great to return to Norway, my home off and on for 7 of the past 8 years, but I was a little nervous to lead my first group. I needn’t have worried as the trip was incredible, my group was fantastic, and many of them were excited to experience Norway for the very first time.
But I’m getting ahead of myself… Let me explain a bit about what Signature Journey are. Signature Journeys are our series of escorted tours with a single departure date and hosted by a Borton Overseas Destination Specialist. What makes them different than your average escorted tour is the content. Signature Journeys are small-group tours that have been handcrafted by the Borton Overseas staff and feature exclusive experiences, themes, and events unique to our destinations. In the past we have created tours to celebrate specific holidays in a given destination, to participate in certain events such as a marathon, and others that have been hosted by a special guest. Embrace Norway’s Wonders was one of the later. I co-hosted the group with David Engen, a Minnesotan who won the Norwegian Reality TV show Alt for Norge in 2015. One of the biggest benefits of these hosted trips is that they allow the participants to travel with someone well versed in the culture, geography, and (possibly) the language of the destination while still having a touch of home with them on the journey.
Our tour started in Oslo, taking the Norway in a Nutshell journey to Bergen by train. Here we boarded the Hurtigruten and sailed up to Kirkenes, where we partook in a King Crab feast. In all, the journey was 13 days and everyone became more in awe of the country each day. Not to mention that we were extremely lucky to have amazing weather throughout as well.
Although I could go on and on about all the remarkable things we saw and experienced (and there were a lot of them), there is one thing that sticks out in my mind. This would be the excursion we took while aboard Hurtigruten from Geiranger to Molde. The excursion starts by getting off the ship onto a smaller boat that takes you into the Geiranger Fjord. Geiranger is a picturesque little fjord town where I could have spent hours looking at the cute shops and enjoying the scenery, but we were immediately escorted onto a bus that started taking us up the mountain, and here the hairpin turns begin! Looking out of the window I could not even see the railing on the side of the road; we were so close to the edge. Seeing the drop off admittedly made my stomach flip. Eventually, we reached the summit where we proceeded to take photos as a great guide gave us the history and facts about the area. After a bit, we got back on the bus and headed to Trollstigen, where we were allowed time to go and explore the valley from the viewpoint above. This outlook is actually a platform with glass walls built out over the beautiful valley below; it provided amazing views and one somewhat frightening view of the drop down. Then it was back on the bus, where I again put my trust in the experienced bus driver for another stomach dropping 11 hairpin turns (each with their own name) down the mountain. At the bottom, our group was awarded with a snack of waffles filled with cream and coffee, which were both delicious. Finally we were driven into the town of Molde where we had dinner while waiting for our ship to come sailing into port to pick us up. Although I do not recommend this excursion for those who are afraid of heights, it was definitely a defining experience for everyone who participated. Our group was in awe as to what they had just experienced and were so happy to have gotten the chance see Norway from such a height, and in such a light.
Again, I could go on and on about how wonderful Norway is, how great my group of intrepid travelers are, and how much fun this particular journey was, but I would rather just help you experience it for yourself. Let my colleagues and I help you plan your own trip to Norway and beyond. And don’t forget, we are always brainstorming more Signature Journeys for you to join. You can see our upcoming ones here and stay tuned as they change each year! Take my advice, they are not something to miss out on!
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