7 days | dogsledding in alta | bergen - flåm - oslo , Norway - Mar 26 - Apr 1, 2018
We had a fantastic time on our trip to Norway. The highlight for me was definitely the two days of dog sledding in Alta. We had two fantastic guides - Elaine the first day, who was very experienced, friendly and helpful, and explained everything we needed to know very clearly, and shared lots of great stories and knowledge about all the dogs and her experiences with them. I loved how they really let us do everything ourselves too, after they gave us some instruction, so we got to walk around the yard and find the five dogs assigned to each of our teams, meet them and get comfortable with them, then we got to harness and hook them up to the sled ourselves. That made it way more rewarding than if they had done everything for us. Our guide the 2nd day was not as experienced with teaching tourists the ropes, but her personal story was incredible (she is only 18, and is the youngest person to ever complete the Finnmark race, which is the northernmost and second longest dog sled race in the world at 1200km), and we had a great time with her as well. The actual experience of dogsledding was one of the coolest things I have ever done, it was amazing, and I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed it.
The first day we also visited the ice hotel in Alta (recommended by the cook from lunch), which was incredible. The ice sculptures and carvings in the walls were unbelievable. Even if you don’t stay there, anyone who visits Alta really needs to check this out!!!
Since we had some time the second day in Alta, we booked an ice fishing/snow shoeing excursion through the same company that did our northern lights outing, and I would highly recommend them as well. Our guide Rolf (and his trusty dog Javri) took us on a beautiful forest hike (on snow shoes) to a lake called Kvenvannet, nestled in the snowy mountains, where he showed us everything we needed to know to try to catch fish in a lake that was about a meter of solid ice with another half meter or so of snow on top. I did catch a small trout, which was pretty exciting. He then made us an awesome lunch of salmon and vegetables cooked over the fire. Which reminds me - you Norwegians know your food! We did not have a disappointing meal all week. The breakfast spread at the Thon hotel in Alta was phenomenal, and the staff there was great as well. I wish we had good bread everywhere in America like you seem to there! The meals we had at the dog sledding place and the northern lights place were both delicious, two very different style soups with local fish and vegetables, and of course really good bread.
The northern lights tour was great, but unfortunately it was pretty much completely overcast the entire time, so we did not get a chance to see them, but we still enjoyed ourselves. I guess we’ll just have to make a trip back!
The 2nd half of the week was great as well. We had an awesome time exploring Bergen, we had beautiful sunny weather when we were there, and we had a great dinner at the restaurant attached to the fish market. After dinner we took the funicular train up to the mountain overlooking Bergen and the fjord where we saw the sunset which was beautiful.
The train rides from Bergen to Flåm were great, and the views were gorgeous. The fjordsafari tour on the RIB boat was really fun as well. They gave us plenty of extra layers so we all stayed pretty warm except maybe the bottom half of my face, I guess I needed a scarf, but our guide (I forget his name) was great, the ride was smooth, we stayed totally dry, and he did a great job of stopping and telling us all about the fjords, the mountains, and the villages all along them. We got a great lunch afterwards at one of the cafes in Flåm before our train ride back to Oslo.
Kevin and Betsi took off that morning, but Cyndi and I had one last day in Oslo where we went cross country skiing at Oslo Winter Park which was great fun and great exercise (we had both downhill skied before, but never cross country). We figured when in Norway might as well do as the Norwegians do!
We had such a great time, and I left Norway just wanting to come back again. Thanks so much for all your help in planning this incredible trip!