Birkebeinerrennett then see a bit of Norway
Mar 16 - Mar 22, 2019
When I was planning a trip to Norway for a mid-March Nordic ski race, my family (with two teen kids) knew we wanted to see more than the area between Rena and Lillehammer but didn't know anything about Norway or where to begin. I completely trusted the local knowledge of Vilde and Ingrid to make a recommendation for what more we should see in the time we had and without a car. The trip completely exceeded my expectations!
Several friends joined in after they heard the trip plan. We had excellent easy travel and a lot of fun. Ingrid chose super hotels and made reservations or provided directions for train and bus travel that was simple and perfect with many highlights. Stig was our excellent local guide in Oslo who told us about music, local culture, and a little history as we walked along the Akserselva River, urban art district, the fortress, and metropolitan downtown on a rainy day. The train to Flam was a magic ride the next day with blue skies and views of mountains, frozen waterfalls, plus beautiful towns, homes and farms going from snow up high down to the Naeroyfjord arm of the Sognefjord. We had a full moon that night at our both historic and modern hotel in Auerland and enjoyed a cruise on the electric Future of the Fjords sightseeing vessel. Ingrid was flexible to help us decide where to go at this point and four friends decided to ski an extra day in Geilo while my family continued on to Bergen. We were impressed by the completely different look and culture of Bergen. Our local guide David helped us know so much more about where to go and interpreted what we saw in his beautiful city as well as gave us a feel for how Norwegians live. We had so much fun with David that we went over our time more than an hour. Geilo was our last place to explore with downhill resorts on two sides of the city and lots of Nordic trails. On a sunny but windy day, we caught the ski bus, rented average quality downhill ski equipment, and bought a ski pass that worked at both Slaatta and Vestlia. Our friends enjoyed the ski tracks there for Nordic skiing.
Overall, the best things about Norway were the scenery, the breakfasts so do opt into breakfast at the hotel, interesting history and the happy people. Ingrid was our best find since she reserved the best places to go and stay and gave us detailed directions on how to get around. Her directions were so good there were only a couple occasions I messaged her with questions and she helped right away. Ingrid also was able to reschedule a hotel stay for two friends who left a bag on the train from Lillehammer and were able to retrieve it in lost and found in the morning just before our flight home. I would not have changed anything about what Ingrid planned for us except maybe staying more days! We enjoyed a "God Tur" and I am grateful.