Scandinavia 18 Day Bus Tour with Globus
Commenced 11th July 2014

This is not a travel log where the events of every day are detailed. Instead, I have presented some of the highlights, lowlights, unusual, humorous and embarrassing events of the trip along with relevant photos and some opinions.

Others may have seen things differently but this is the way I saw things. Anything I say about anyone or anything is purely in fun. Some information and photos I obtained from others on the trip. I may have enhanced some of the information I gathered. Anything that is blatantly incorrect please let me know. All photos used have been converted to a smaller size for faster downloading.

Words, photos or video can never convey the visual impact and "feeling" of some of the places we visited. You have to be there.

Navigating the Photos
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Trip Summary
A bus strip starting in Stockholm and travelling through Denmark and Norway up to North Cape and back down through Finland to Helsinki. Total bus distance of about 4,500km. There was also some ferry trips and a plane flight.
35 people took part. Two dropped off in Norway for medical reasons leaving 33 people to complete the trip,

Rick & Ann
Peter & Jannene
Nancy & Rus
Walter & Trudy
Mary & Eric
Terry & Bob
Alicia & Aimee
Wayne & Kerry
Kevin & Terry
Michael & Anne
Gordon & Judy
Elaine & Brook
Barbara & Patricia
Jose & Luz

Peter was our Tour Director. A Norwegian, he could not have been a better tour guide.. Passionate about Scandinavia and in particular Norway.

Things That Did Not Particularly Excite Me

  • The "Littlest Mermaid" in Copenhagen.

  • The two city hall tours we did in Stockholm and Oslo. The buildings are very stark on the outside and inside but there were some interesting features inside.

  • The funicular to Mt Floyen in Bergen. A train pulled up the mountain by a cable. It was raining at the time so maybe that made things seem depressing. Nice views of Bergen at the top. See this photo of a sign on Mt Floyen. No idea what it means.

  • The new modern church in Alta. It looked like a ships funnel. See this photo.

  • Finland. Nice scenery for a while but then lakes, more lakes, more forest and flat

  • The "Rock Church" in Helsinki.

  • The islands boat cruise in Helsinki.

Things I Liked

  • North Cape, the most Northern point of Europe. We were very lucky to have good weather and able to get a great view. Not cold or windy. The Tour Director told us that at times the fog has been so thick you could only see a few metres. A nice visitors centre that went way underground. Watched two films there. Just being there was exciting. See this photo.

  • Norway landscapes. This includes the fjords (we did a lovely two hour boat cruise on one), snow covered mountains and waterfalls. These photos were our best.

  • Tapestries in the City hall in Copenhagen. They were large, impressively intricate and each told an interesting story.

  • The Vasa Museum in Stockholm. It was very interesting. A must see visit.

  • The Tivoli amusement park in Copenhagen. Although we did not go in you could see the extent of it through the fence by the main road. See these photos.

  • Folk Dancers in Skansen park in Stockholm. They were very good.

  • Opera House in Oslo. All the opera houses we passed in other cities looked very ordinary on the outside but this one was very different. It is meant to represent an iceberg on the water. After our dinner on the waterfront in Oslo, we walked down to the Opera House and walked around the top of the building which it is designed to do.. See this photo.

  • Stave wooden church in Heddal and the interesting talk by a guide. Parts of it are over 1,000 years old. See this photo.

  • The Frogner Park in Oslo, featuring Gustav Vigeland's sculptures. The sculptures are family oriented and excellent. A must see. Not sure if anyone else noticed, but the courtyard near the fountain was a maze. See this photo.

  • Visit to Vemork, where the "heavy water" incident took place in WWII. That evening, in Telemark, we viewed the film "The Heroes of Telemark" which followed the events of the time. See this photo of the bridge we went over in a small bus to visit Vemork.

  • Plane trip from Oslo to Tromso. Magnificent views. See this photo of a glacier taken from the plane.

  • The Arctic Church in Trumso. See this photo. Reminded me of the Sydney Opera House.

  • Rock carvings at Alta. Difficult to see in the bright sun but some had been overdrawn with red paint.

  • The two hour boat cruise up a fjord to the town of Flan. The scenery was fantastic. Some interesting villages on the banks of the fjord. Some with no road access.

  • The Bergen "Old Town" buildings. We did a tour through there and it was very interesting.

  • The monument to the Finnish composer Sibelius in Helsinki. It consists of hundreds of tubes welded together, superficially representing organ pipes. I just liked it. They could have made the surroundings better though. It didn't seem to fit in where it was. See this photo.

  • The Arctic museum in Oslo. In particular, being able to walk around inside the boat used by Roald Admunsen on his expeditions (the Flam). It was very interesting.

  • Visit to the Sami village near Rovaniemi in Finland including the ceremony in the Sami teepee like building which was very entertaining, the reindeer encounter and evening meal in another Sami building.

  • The market square in Tallinn (Estonia). We were there on a Sunday so it was buzzing. It had much more character than any of the other markets we visited.

Best Meals

  • The Kaffegillet restaurant in Stockholm where we went for dinner one evening. Set in an underground vault. Traditional Swedish meal and good service. See this photo.

  • The Kobenhavner restaurant in Copenhagen where we had dinner one evening. A bit squishy seating but the food was excellent with very fast service. In particular, the crackling was delicious. See this photo.

  • A restaurant in Bergen where we had dinner. The Reindeer soup was a meal in itself and the rest was excellent.

  • We stopped for lunch at a place before Alta. The meal was OK but the setting was lovely overlooking a lake with snow on the mountains in the distance.

  • On the overnight ferry between Denmark and Oslo we had dinner in the "7 Seas" restaurant. A buffet, it had a very large selection and was very good.

Biggest Table
In the City Hall building in Copenhagen. Seated at least 50 people. See this photo.

The Best and Worst Local Guides
The best by far was our guide in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The guide in Copenhagen was very good and others were all OK.

Worst Meals

  • Breakfasts were always buffets and there was usually plenty to choose from. The location of things always seemed confusing or was it just me? People darted between tables of food not taking much notice of anyone else.

  • Having good toasting facilities for breakfast does not seem important in Scandinavia. Most hotels had a crappy toasters. One did not even have a toaster and the hotel in Invalo had two toasters (but in different locations)

  • Lunch at Flan. We choose a place away from the crowds. Had a roll which was stale and dry with little filling and expensive.

  • In the Louise restaurant in Oslo on the waterfront where we went for dinner one evening. Food portions were sparse and service slow. Even after we had to select our main meals days in advance. Strangely, when we entered the dining room and seated ourselves, all the Australians were sitting at the same table which was very strange. See this photo.

  • In Helsinki, at a local restaurant, the meal was good but the venue was in an underground area and it was VERY hot. No fans, no ventilation and when someone mentioned about getting air-conditioning they did not seem that interested.

  • At the hotel in Rovaniemi, we were supposed to have dinner in the main restaurant but it was full. We were shunted upstairs and given poor portions. It was a bit embarrassing for our Tour Director who had no control over this.

Is There Wine With That?
Became a joke with us because of the cost of alcohol. If beer/wine was part of the meal deal then that was a good thing. The highest price paid for a glass of wine was in Norway at AUS$18.00.

The "Arctic Circle" Circus
As our tour director called it. At the place where people cross the Artic Circle, Finland has created a collection of activities related to the North Pole

  • You can take a photo of someone straddling the imaginary Arctic Circle line. Like in this photo.

  • You can have your photo taken with Father Xmas. We lined up to do this but discovered we could not find out the cost until after the photo was taken. Luckily, we overheard that the price was 38 and decided to leave. Franklin had his photo taken with Santa.

  • You can send a Xmas postcard immediately or have it delayed until Xmas. Post the card in one of the two mailboxes shown in this photo.

  • You can have your passport stamped with the "Artic Circle" stamp.

  • You can select souvenirs and Xmas decorations from the largest selection in Finland.

We all received a signed certificate of our "Arctic Circle" crossing complete with a passport stamp. It was so exciting to receive this. Norway has not capitalised like Finland but they apparently have some activities at the Artic Circle crossing. Bit disappointed with the sign in this photo. It had no reference to anywhere in Australia.

They were having a heatwave in Scandinavia so it was unusually hot. Even at North Cape it was not very cold. It rained in Bergen and somewhere else but did not stop us doing anything. The weather in Scandinavia is affected by the Gulf Stream which is a warm sea current.

Most Uncomfortable Seats
See this photo of an outdoor setting we saw in Telemark

Lost Underpants
See this photo I took at Telemark, where we stayed one night in the mountains between Oslo and Bergen. I asked everyone on our trip but nobody would own up to owing them.

Lost, Broken, Embarrassing and Mistakes

  • On the Royal Reception Rooms tour in Oslo, we had to wear these blue plastic covers over our shoes. Ann forgot to take hers off and was nearly out the front door before she realised. See this photo.

  • Many hotels used magnetic cards in the door locks and for the lifts. We had many problems with them not working and having to be reprogrammed. The hotel in Bergen was the worst.

    • We entered the lift using someone else's card. Got to our room and the card would not work. Back to the lift but card would not work. Out of lift and tried stairs door. It was locked. Back to the lift lobby and luckily it was exposed and we could see the service desk. One of our bus colleagues was just walking in and we yelled out to her to help us. She used her card to get us to the service desk.

    • Another colleague got stuck in the lift when her card would not work. She was starting to panic when the doors opened and someone entered the lift.

  • When we arrived in Tromso about lunchtime, Mary's luggage was missing. They found it and it was delivered that evening.

  • Robbie left his jacket somewhere (cannot remember) in Oslo but managed to get it back.

  • Judy left her camera a few times. Once she remembered herself, another time Ann found it and gave it to her.

  • Ann left a bag of souvenirs in our hotel in Alta. Luckily, we were able to go back and it was still there. In any case, going back to the hotel was useful because a few others had forgot to hand in their keys.

  • Peter (Our Tour Director) left his iPad on the seat at Vemork, Ann noticed it and gave it to him.

  • Some hotels did not have fridges in the rooms, so Ann would leave her insulin in the hotel fridge. In Tromso, we asked for the insulin back in the morning but they initially could not find it. Took about 15 mins to locate it.

  • In Jyvaskla (Finland), when we arrived at our hotel, there was a fence around the entrance in preparation for some event. The hotel staff had to lift our cases over the fence. See this photo.

In Bergen, the mannequins like to display everything. See this photo.

Midnight Sun
I did not stay up or get up to see it but I believe some of the others did. I could not get used to it being daylight all night which was the case north of the Artic Circle. Even though most hotels had good blocking curtains the light always leaked through somewhere.

Trudy (88)/Brook (16).

Did You Photograph That
The Flam train is a great journey with beautiful landscapes. The problem is the tunnels and there were lots of them. Whenever the train came out of a tunnel there was a beautiful landscape but by the time you got your camera out and battled everyone else to get a window shot the train entered another tunnel. We did have a reserved carriage but that did not stop others coming into our carriage for photos. The train did stop at a beautiful waterfall and everyone got out for a look. See these photos including the two "sirens" that came out near the top of the waterfall and danced and sang.

I Should Have Saluted
In Oslo, we passed near the royal houses. There were cattle grazing and were informed they were "Royal Cattle". Not sure if I should have saluted. See this photo.

About Globus
In general, Globus was good. However, a few things annoyed me.

  • The "New" name tags could be pulled off very easily.

  • They should supply a map of where we were going.

  • The information booklet advised you to take some Danish currency. I could not see the purpose of doing this and queried it with Globus. I got a half baked answer. It turned out was was not necessary. I took some Swedish currency with us which was useful.

  • Our gratuities for the Bus Driver and Tour Director were prepaid (although we did not ask for it or know about it till later). However, we changed buses (and driver) at Trumso. How to give each driver a gratuity? Again, I queried Globus and got a half baked answer. As a couple we were lucky because we had two driver gratuities and gave one to each driver. In the future I would not prepay gratuities. Prepaying assumes that their services were good. How do I know that in advance?.

  • The Globus information booklet needs to be urgently changed to explain better how the airport transfers work and Travel Agents need to advise their clients better. We arrived late at Stockholm airport and the booklet implied that we could take a taxi to our hotel and be reimbursed for the cost later. However, this is only the case for prepaid transfers. This was poorly explained and we were not the only ones that got confused.

Injuries and Illness
Trudy had a medical problem and had to leave the trip with her husband.

Interesting and Unusual Things

  • Flowers in gumboots. See this photo.

  • Norway does not offer personalised number plates for vehicles. Missing out on some revenue there.

  • Worlds smallest instant portrait studio In Trumso (or so it said on the window). See this photo.

  • In a toilet at one of our arvo tea stops they had a huge roll of hand towel. See this photo. Good idea.

  • A sign that seems to indicate no cars. See this photo.

  • Another confusing road sign. See this photo.

  • In Copenhagen see this photo of a man taking his children for a bike ride.

  • In Copenhagen, in a lego shop, there were walls full of trays of lego bits. See this photo..

  • In Copenhagen, see this photo of a sign where you can get your feet cleaned by fish.

  • Trudy told me she paid US$5,500 for travel insurance and Margaret paid AUS$1,200.

  • In most large supermarkets the cashier does not give you change. It is dispensed via a machine chute into a tray and you have to get it out. Also, have to pack your own bags.

  • We did see a few beggars. A couple I noticed were smoking profusely.

  • This photo of an embarrassed model.

  • There are very few beaches in Scandinavia. At least not like what we have in Australia. I told our Tour Director about the pristine "90 Mile Beach" in Victoria, Australia where we have a holiday house and how you can walk for kilometres along the beach and not see anyone.

  • They have these "Ski Jumps" in many locations in Scandinavia. Large structures that allow people to be lifted up to a huge height and then go hurtling down a narrow slope. Used all year round by lots of people.

  • Saw many grass roofs. Even stood on one. See this photo.

  • We passed through the town of Rjukan, where they have installed mirrors on a mountain to direct winter sun onto the market square.

  • On the way to the North Cape, we stopped briefly at the town of Skasvag, Europe's most Northern inhabited town. I have to admire the people living there. Not bad in Summer, but terrible in Winter. No sun all day, often isolated by bad weather.

  • The writers of the computer applications Skype and Angry Birds were from Estonia and Finland respectively.  In Finland in the town of Rovaniemi we discovered an Angry Birds children's playground. See this photo.

  • Alcohol in Scandinavia has a massive tax on it so people go over on the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn (Estonia), buy cheap alcohol, and bring bit back to Finland. See this photo. Saw many people with huge caches.

  • The "Zander" store in Bergen. Our grandson's name. See this photo.

  • We had a few birthdays along the way. Patricia, Trudy and Terry.

  • At the hotel in Ivalo (Finland), the wakeup alarm was on the television.

  • In Helsinki, in the evening, the people sit outside restaurants drinking with the seats all facing towards the street. See this photo.

  • We tried to buy sunscreen in a few supermarkets in Helsinki but they don't stock it. Did not try any chemists.

  • We passed close by a town in Finland called "ii". You can find it on Google or Sygic.

  • Finnish is a very complicated language. Our Tour Director could speak many languages but was not fluent in Finnish. For example, the number 987 (Nine hundred and eighty seven) is written as yhdeksänsataakahdeksankymmentäseltsemän.

  • Took this photo of a restaurant in Helsinki. Would you eat a meal there?

  • In Helsinki, saw a group of older guys riding (driving?) these cars (bikes?). See this photo.

Some Scandinavian Sayings

  • "No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes".

  • "I am not from Norway, I am from Bergen".

  • "Nine months of Winter and three months of road construction".

Tunnels Tunnels Everywhere
In Norway, lots of tunnels, even on the railway and under a fjord. The one under the fjord was on the way to North Cape and cost a fortune to build.. One tunnel amused me because they were building it in the open air. See this photo. Norway has the longest vehicle tunnel in the world at 22km.

The Biggest Troll
See this photo.

Mobile Phone Reception and WiFi
Very good in most places. Every hotel had free WiFi. Even the buses had WiFi.

Do not see many cats, This photo was taken in a shop in Bergen. Lots of dogs and they were very well controlled.

Toilets & Bathrooms

  • See this photo of an outside toilet in Stockholm.

  • Many bathrooms had a shower in the bath and the bath was not sealed against the wall. Like in this photo. I lost my soap down one of the gaps even though I was very aware of the gap..

  • Most bathrooms had mechanisms for directing water to the shower or bath and controlling the temperature and flow of the water. The problem was that every mechanism was different and not always logical. It always took a few minutes to work out what to do.

  • The hotel in HonningsVag had no soap holder in the shower and the toilet roll holder was in such a position that the toilet paper got wet from the shower.

  • In Tallinn, I took this photo of an old toilet built on the outside of a building. Centuries ago, the bottom was open and everything went straight out onto the footpath.

  • Liked these photos of men an women signs outside the toilet in a Sami building.

Markets and Handicrafts
We went to a few markets.

  • The fish market in Bergen was a disappointment. It has been hijacked by multiculturals and was not what I expected. It once traded in fish but now seems mainly setup to sell fish meals to the tourists. We had fish & chips there one night and it was just average and expensive. They offer whale meat which I did not like. They claim to speak all languages and accept any method of payment. See this photo.

  • In Oulu (Finland), we stopped for a break at lunchtime near a market and a large food court (where we had lunch). Wandered around the market but it was just average.

  • In Helsinki, we went to the market a few times. Even had lunch there once. There was a few interesting stalls but it was very hot.


  • All hotels were adequate. Some did not have air-conditioning but we were warned about that. Our air-conditioning worked in the hotels that had it but others had problems with it not working.

  • In Trumso, we were able to fully open the window (which was rare) and this helped to dry our washing.

  • The further North we went, the standard of the hotels diminished and were not the quality that some people expected.

  • The hotel in Honningsvag had set tines for meals, no toaster for breakfast (or bread),

  • The "Glo Art" hotel in Helsinki where we stayed for two nights was strange. Our room had seductive lighting which seemed a bit kinky. There was a cube light between our beds which I could not turn off. The staff were no help so I found where it plugged in a pulled it out. Margaret's room was so dark she had to use a torch. She complained and they moved her. Pat pulled a cord in the bathroom which set off an alarm.

The Price of Things
Much more than Australia for most things. As an example, we went to a Pizza restaurant on Trumso one evening. For a medium Pizza (with not much topping), two beers and two banana splits the cost was AUS $88. In Australia, the same would be no mare than $30.

What We Did Not Need or See

  • Warm Clothes

  • Any Moose except for one lady on the bus who saw one in the bush as we were driving past.

  • Visit to the house of Edvard Greg, the famous Norwegian composer. It was an optional excursion but not people enough wanted to go.

  • Occasionally, we felt like a nice cup of chips (like at the footy in Australia). Could not find any at our lunch stops or the markets. They seem to like small fried potatoes.

  • Could not find any Rune stones.

Thank You
To everyone on the trip for your fantastic company. All the guides and helpers along the trip.

Final Word
The trip was better than expected. My rating of this trip is 8/10.