Week 269 – Norway Trip Planning

Since Alexandra and I went to Brazil shortly after her graduation (not a graduation trip, a lack of employment trip), Annelise decided she wanted a trip for graduation too. Her first choice was for her and Sharon to go to Morocco – then Alexandra and I glommed on and after some beheadings in Morocco and a great airfare to Norway the selection was made. We were concerned with the cost of a Scandinavian country, but the cheap airfare combined with the sharing economy of AirBNB and Turo, the trip became viable. Annelise and I plotted the framework of the trip hitting the major sites in southern Norway:
Southern route to Pulpit Rock

Planned about 1,800 KM (1,100 miles) and 24 hrs driving over 7 days – ended up at 1,965 km and closer to 28 hrs driving with side trips and scenic drives.

After we arrived, we made a change to go to Stavanger a day later to hit the 17th of May holiday (like 4th of July). Good decision.

May is shoulder season – I like it as it is cheaper and less people and we got lucky on weather. Reality is Northern Europe getting warmer earlier and May isn’t terrible anymore.

Then the boyfriends were brought in and were a great addition to the trip – Pat was good at logistics and Jake learned basic Norwegian. Rented a large van through Turo (Uber for personal cars) and bought a metropass for Oslo. Gas / tolls / ferry / parking added more. Ended up costing $700/per person for airfare, 6 nights accommodation, and ground transportation across the country. No real entry fees – everything was wrapped into tolls / ferry / parking. Except for Icelandic Air changing planes, the discount airfare and sharing economy was great.

Now comes the expense – Food. Nothing like Scandinavian expensive. So we ate at a lot of 7-11’s and gas stations. Before you judge, one of few nice meals was $225 for 6 which included – $50 for a round of bottled water (rookie mistake), $125 for some pizzas with minimal meat, $50 for salads, pasta, and 1/2 oz of reindeer meat as an appetizer. That excluded our one round of real drinks. But we had nice ambiance and blankets. Like the owner of our rental car told us – “nothing is free or even cheap in Norway”. In addition to being somewhat remote and little ability to farm, Norway has a 25% VAT tax which drives the cost up. Currency-wise – they are not in the EU so it is the Norwegian Krona and it has slightly depreciated against the USD over the past year – so that isn’t the problem.

Overall from a logical standpoint, we did a lot in seven days and AirBNB worked – 5 of 5 were good and 3 of the 5 were outstanding. If we had more time, a second night in Oslo and a night in Stavanger would have been good. And this was only southern Norway – covered less than 25% of the country.

Just arrived in Oslo with our home for 7 days. The VW Caravelle – looked like a toaster.

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