Subject: Re: Norway
Hi Barb and Joe and other Ziners!

When we went to Norway, we stayed in Oslo for several days and took local tours. Then signed on for the "Norway in a Nutshell" rail-boat-rail trip to Bergen, stayed a few days there and took the Norwegian Coastal boat (Hurtigrute) to Kirkenes and return. We were nutz for we did this at Xmas time - wanted to see Northern lights and also how people lived in almost 24 hour darkness (they use floodlights!) .

On the coastal cruise, you can check out which boat you want to take - some are much newer than others, some are bigger than others. Much like the Alaska Hiway (coastal boats), serving the local communities as well as tourists. We took the oldest smallest one; had very few extras, but was a nice feeling between staff and passengers. The Nordstjernen (sp?) which I think they refurbished and are still using, not necessarily for the Coastal cruises.

Rick Steves' Europe has some good suggestions on what to do in Oslo. We did this trip before I had a computer, so I can't give you websites but Rough Guide's Europe talks about the train to Flam (part of the Nutshell trip). We stayed in a centrally located 3* hotel in Oslo and a Pension in Bergen. This was long enough ago that I think you could get better current info but if you want, I'll look it up.

I would suggest either spring or fall as the ideal time for the cruise. Christmas was interesting but unless you are really into Northern Lights, darkness and snow, skip it! It's a wonderful trip and you will surely enjoy it.

Jo in Sunnyvale!