During this incredible journey, participants experienced the splendor of dramatic landscapes and the warm hearts of the people who live there. This tour was a feast for the eyes as we explored the beautiful southern coastline of Norway, with waterfalls, mountains, and fjords, and the island country of Iceland, with geysers, glaciers, and volcanoes. Along the way, we got to know the history and art of these areas, rich with tradition and culture.
The tour began in Oslo, the capital city of Norway, and travel through the region of Telemark, stopping in Kristiansand and Stavanger, and then along the Hardangerfjord to the picturesque city of Bergen. Some of the wonderful places we visited included Heddal Stave Church; Hardangervidda National Park Centre in Skinnarbu; Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum in Vemork; Rauland Folk School; Vest Telemark Museum in Eidsborg; Byrkjedal; Posebyen (old town) and Fish Quay in Kristiansand; the Hardanger Folkemuseum; and Gamle Stavanger. We sailed on the replica of the Restauration, dined at the historic Utne Hotel, and visited the famous colorful wooden buildings of Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen.
From there we flew to “the land of fire and ice,” home to diverse geological features, hot springs, mountains, lava fields, amazing bird cliffs, moonlike landscapes, and fishing villages. In Iceland we visited Reykjavík, the most northerly capital in the world. We wandered the cobblestone streets and colorful tin houses of Old Town and toured Hallgrímskirkja, a unique church in the middle of the city. We traveled alongside the Hekla volcano and visited the Hjálparfoss waterfall. Nearby, we explored the Viking farm ruins at Stöng and visited three of Iceland’s most important spots—Geyser hot springs, Þingvellir National Park, and Gullfoss “the golden falls.“ At Westman Islands we explored bird cliffs, walked up the volcano crater, and visited “Pompeii of the North,” a volcanic excavation project.
Mari Anne Roppe is a native Norwegian from the Toten area. With over 35 years of experience in leading tours throughout Norway, she brings unparalleled insight, knowledge and enthusiasm.
Michelle Whitehill is Vesterheim’s Coordinator of Tours to Norway. She has planned 14 tours, has been to Norway 8 times, and led tours in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Her organization and friendliness allow participants to sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip.