Monday, July 9, 2012

Norway & Travel Etiquette

Norway is an extraordinary place.  It is a combination of many take your breath away elements of which I tend to be drawn to -- Water, rock, colour, elevation, pristineness.  And the people I met, albeit a skewed example, were purposefully intense, honest and straightforward -- How I attempt to come across so we got along well.

Outside of Oslo, I travelled mostly along the west coast of the lower half of the country via cruise ship.  You can do it with ferries too but I wanted to unpack once and be done.

Here's where I went: 

Day 1     Amsterdam
Day 2     At Sea
Day 3     Stavanger
Day 4     Olden
Day 5     Molde
Day 6     Geiranger
Day 7     Alesund
Day 8     Skjolden
Day 9     Bergen
Day 10   At Sea
Day 11   Olso
Day 12   At Sea
Day 13   Amsterdam

You had full days in each port.  To get to many ports, you sailed along long arms of some of most beautiful fjords in the world.  It was a busy schedule and if you were travelling independently (you could chose to do organized excursion too), you had new maps to acquaint with almost everyday. 

Before I start into my thoughts of Norway, I'd like to write a bit about travel etiquette particularly applicable during high season (whole families) travel time.
  • Please book your airline seats way ahead of time if you wish to sit together.  Otherwise it creates major back up during boarding when you have families and couples blocking everywhere, trying to ask people to switch seats.  Please realize some people chose their seats deliberately.  (I was asked both ways...)
  • It isn't the end of the world to not sit together.  People are watching 3 plus movies anyways.  And despite what you may have seen in Hollywood movies, you are not going to get lost on a plane.
  • It is a good thing to be able to sit quietly, by yourself, without need for constant stimulation.  Besides, you could end up meeting other interesting people that you didn't know existed outside of your own sphere of life.
  • Just because an airline allows you to buy a connecting ticket doesn't mean it is because they think or will guarantee you will be able to make your connecting flight.  I would not buy a flight that connects in Paris CDG or Heathrow or AMS with less than a 2 hr connection time.  I heard many complaining people who were within 15 min of boarding waiting in line (switchback lineup of 6 rows) at passport control.  Even if they got sent to the front of the line, they would not make it to their gate in time.  Folks, European hubs are large airports.  I managed to get turned around twice even though I've flown quite a bit.  Thank goodness for Sky Priority or else I would have been late.
  • Yes, I realize you may be embarking on a "once in a lifetime" trip but so are most of the other families you see.  Please do not throw your common sense out the door and start walking 8 abreast or create extra mess because you've "paid" for other people to pick up after you and thus expect to be treated like royalty...Airports and cruise ships have a lot of room but not enough for everyone to behave like that.  Act like you've been there...
Now that I've got that out of my system, I'm ready to start with Stavanger in my next post.  Until then, a little teaser...I didn't mess around.


  1. Oh, I LOVED Norway! It was spectacular on every level. My word you are inspiring me to add yet another country to my year away. I'm going to have to save more money I think! So wonderful to be able to travel vicariously with you, though, revisiting these wonderful places that I went to oh-so-long ago. Brings back memories and reminds me that I need to get back and revisit them with a much greater - and different - appreciation.

  2. I want to hear more about your year away! When and where? It will be my turn to travel vicariously with you.

    Revisiting is a great idea. We all grow and change and I find it neat to see if things feel the same even though the country has grown too.