Friday, October 5, 2012

Planning a Family Trip to Norway with Borton Overseas

Today we've got a great post from Borton Overseas' Scandinavia Specialist Jan Schubert! In it she shares her expertise and insights on planning a family trip to Norway!

What makes you a Scandinavia Specialist?
My father grew up along the Oslofjord, between Oslo and Drøbak, and my mother’s side of the family is from Småland in Sweden. We took our first family trip to Norway when I was 14. That trip led to a B.A. and graduate studies in Scandinavian Studies and Norwegian. I spent eight summers teaching Norwegian at Sons of Norway’s Camp Norway program, and lived in Norway for over two years, working and attending the Unversity of Oslo. I have traveled extensively throughout the country by car, train, plane, and twice on the coastal steamer roundtrip between Bergen and Kirkenes. I have sailed along the southern coast, skied on the Hardanger Plateau, and hiked in the fjord country.

Have you taken other family trips to Norway?
One of my most memorable trips was a family trip in 2007, a 2,400-km journey with my parents, three brothers, our spouses, and all 11 grandchildren. Five station wagons brought us from Stockholm through Småland, across Telemark to Bergen, along the Sognefjord and back east to Oslo.

Planning a two-week trip for 21 people ranging in age from 6 to 79 was an adventure in logistics and innovation. I enjoyed finding activities that would be fun for the kids and give them a break from the long drives and coffee visits with relatives. We took the Color Line ferry from Strömstad to Sandefjord to cut off three hours of driving, and we stayed in cabins when possible. We ate picnic lunches by mountain lakes, visited a moose park, rode a ski lift up a mountain, threw snowballs in June, hiked along a mountain creek, jumped on the giant inflatable “hoppepute” in Vrådal, took the Flåm Railway, and threw rocks in the fjord. 

3 Tips for planning a family trip:

  •   Allow “down” time.  If possible, spend at least two nights in each place. 
  •  Picnics work better than restaurants, because they don’t require sitting still or being quiet. They are also great money savers, and grocery shopping is a fun cultural experience for all ages.         
  •  Make sure that each member of your family has a fun and memorable activity - coffee with Great Aunt Sigrid for you, mountain biking for your teenager, a hands-on aquarium for the youngest. Many activities, like RIB boat safaris, the Fløibanen funicular, and outdoor folk museums, are popular with everyone. The Borton Overseas Scandinavia Department can give you lots of good ideas.

What makes a family trip more than “just” a vacation?
Our family trip became the source of a lifetime of “remember whens” for all of us, and it passed the family ties down to the next generation. The daughter of a cousin we visited spent a school year in Phoenix with my brother’s family; my daughter attended a folkehøgskole and spent school breaks in the homes of several of my cousins. Now they all stay connected through Facebook. Seeing the long-term impact of that family trip has been really rewarding.

What have your travels taught you about being a Scandinavia Specialist at Borton Overseas?
I have learned that we are not just arranging trips; we are crafting life experiences.  People, places, and adventures along the way - the thunder of Feigumsfossen waterfall in Luster, the glow of the midnight sun in Lofoten, the salty wind on ferries across the fjord, sheep lounging in the middle of the road, the breathtaking view from the Pulpit Rock near Stavanger, fresh shrimp bought off a boat in Drøbak, the store clerk who turns out to be a distant relative – all have a lasting impact on how we view ourselves and the world, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

If you'd like help planning your next family trip, whether it's for a few people or a family reunion, definitely contact Borton Overseas! Their expertise is exactly what you need to put together a flawless trip that will make memories for a lifetime!

1 comment:

city said...

thanks for sharing...