Subject: Scandinavia
My wife and I just completed a two month+ tour of Scandinavia and Estonia (Including Finland, although some do not consider it part of 'Scandinavia). I see that Flavio and Agneta have already put excellent comments on the area. In short, we found the trip exhilarating and exciting, if a bit on the chilly side for the 'summer'. The people are simply wonderful! Almost everyone is friendly and helpful. Many speak English so well you would think they were British or American, and the rest speak English very well. We did not meet a single person from this are (excluding Estonia) who did not speak at least understandable English.

We loved Stockholm, especially the Old City. The Vasa Museum is only one museum or attraction on a separate island whose name escapes me. We did a boat tour through the locks: just fantastic. Lots of ethnic cuisine. We stayed at the Gustav Vasa Hotel. While reasonable, it is not a rate-able hotel in our opinion.

We also loved very much Goeteborg. We had only a week there, and it deserves much more time. We will have to return. We stayed at the Radisson uptown and it was lovely (about 90 USD per night). The bus tour was all we needed to realize we had planned too little time there. We did both Archipelagos.

In Denmark we visited Copenhagen, Aarhus, Humlabaek, Freidrickshavn and Hilloeroed. Very interesting cities, each in their own ways. We saw many castles, many art museums and ate our way through this country.

We spent two weeks in Oslo, Norway: it was not enough time. There are so many wonders in this International City that we will have to return again and again. The Sculpture Park must absolutely not be missed. The Holmenkoll ski jump is only for those who are not claustrophobic and who can C L I M B, but worth the view from the top. We saw cigar boat races one day, which was very exciting, even watching from a restaurant with beer in hand. We did the Norway in a Nutshell tour: well worth the money. We stayed a day or two at each stop and really enjoyed the change of pace from town to village, etc..

We only had two nights and days in Bergen, Norway, which was our biggest mistake. We took the Hurtigruten cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes, which we would recommend without reservation. Do take some wine on board though: prices at dinner are outrageous. Meals and the sit down dinner were scrumptious. The fjord, mountains, clouds and overall scenery are simply indescribably beautiful. Thank God we have tons of pictures of all this to remember in the future that we really did this trip. Please take the day trip to Trondheim. We will overnight there next time. Its Cathedral is simply gorgeous. Boedo and Troemsoe are also worth a visit. You must go to Nordkapp, although we aren't really sure we would do it again. Very cold that far above the Arctic Circle. Only Marty did the initiation by Poseidon of the North; the snapps was not worth the ice water down his back .

We traveled down through Finland after disembarking in Kirkenes. Here we visited the Samis, took pictures with Nils, the most photographed Sami of them all we are told. Correction, Nils we saw on our day trip to Nordkapp. We saw many reindeer, who seem to prefer to lay on snow rather than grass or earth even when all three are available. We traveled down through Finland, from Kirkenes, Norway, via taxi, school bus, mail bus, train down to the railhead at Rovaniemi. We rested in this quaint city, visiting small museums and Santa's Village at the theoretical Arctic Circle latitude line. He was home planning for all our kids' Christmas.

We took a long train ride to Helsinki, where we had a wonderful time. We also did a one day excursion to Tallinn, Estonia. Cold city and even colder people. We would not do it again, either. Helsinki was celebrating its 450th birthday. Wow, what parties and festivities did we witness. There are also many cultural sites to visit, so don't miss this city. The Greek Orthodox Cathedral and Lutheran Cathedral are each magnificent in each its own way. We witnessed a wedding in the Greek Cathedral. The family *stands* behind either the bride or groom throughout the entire proceedings.

We started our trip in the beginning of July. Perhaps if you start yours early June as planned, it will be a bit warmer. All things considered, it was well worth the chill.

Have fun traveling. Marghe and Marty.