Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Trafalgar Travel Director? We caught up with Lasse to discover what it’s like on the road.
The Copenhagen-based Travel Director leads our trips all across Scandinavia and after a decade on the road the young father knows the north like the back of his hand.
Today Lasse shares his travel diary from Trafalgar’s Best of Norway tour. This is Day 3, starting with a walk beneath a waterfall and finishing in Norway’s second biggest city with traditional fun and dancing. Let’s go!
7am – Wake up, check the weather
I set my alarm usually one hour before breakfast time. I get up early and do everything that needs to be done, you know, paperwork, pack up and I always check the weather. In Scandinavia our drives are not just about the destination, it’s about the journey. So we want good weather for all the stops that we do along the way. I also prepare my music for the day.
Today we did luggage and breakfast at the same time. All the guests put their luggage out when they went for breakfast. I went to sort the luggage to have the coach loaded and ready before running for a quick bite to eat.
9am – Check out Steinsdalsfossen
I always play the same song every morning. I play The Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun. In Norway the sun sets really late and gets up really early because we’re so far north. Today the sun’s going to set at 10.45pm, and it rises at 4am. Our first stop today is a three-minute drive, which is just enough time to play this song and say good morning.
Steinsdalsfossen is a stunning waterfall photo stop. We spend about half-and-hour here so the guests can walk underneath the falls and we got a cool group photo.
GET INSPIRED: Best of Norway
11am – chasing the past in Bergen
After just over an hour’s drive we stop in the heart of Bergen at the funicular railway. Most people choose to join an optional experience that’s like a three-in-one where we start with the house of the famous composer Edvard Grieg. His most famous piece is called Morning Mood and we do a guided tour of his 1880s-built house, which is in a stunning location on top of a hill by a lake. Then we head back into town to explore Bergen’s UNESCO World Heritage site, Bryggen.
This harbourside area started out as a viking settlement and trading area, then in the 1240s a group of German merchants called the Hanseatic League was formed. They made Bergen one of their four main hubs where they traded Norwegian wood and dried codfish. A huge explosion during World War II left all the old wooden houses ready to be torn down. The Norwegians thought it was all built by the Germans, but as they started to tear things down they realised the vikings had been in this area.
12.30pm – Views over Bergen
I take the group on a walking tour through the lanes filled with authentic and old souvenir shops with little jewellers and the like. From there, we take the funicular railway up one of Bergen’s seven surrounding mountains. You don’t go to the very top, but the view is brilliant.
At the top there’s a really nice bakery and I always go up and get a cinnamon bun. I’ve got a big sweet tooth. My thing as a Travel Director is sharing music and local treats with my guests. I usually hand out a local treat each day – today I gave out Bamse, which is a little teddy bear shaped marshmallows covered in chocolate.
1.45 – Moose burger for lunch
I’ll go up the funicular with the guests then venture back down to town leaving everyone to enjoy the town and get lunch at their leisure. I usually go to the markets and get a moose burger or reindeer burger. In Norway they eat reindeer and moose, so it’s a regular burger but the meat is different and a bit more gamey. There’s an old guy with his burger stand at the market – you can’t miss it.
2.15pm – Luggage drop
I’ll then head over to the bus and we’ll go to the hotel to do a luggage drop so everyone’s bags are in their rooms when they arrive. We can actually walk from the pick-up point to the hotel, so if it’s nice weather we’ll find our guests at 3pm and walk back to the hotel rather than take the coach.
GET INSPIRED: Capitals of Scandinavia
3pm – Time for a walk…
If the weather is nice I’ll go for a walk in town. But it’s Bergen, and here it rains about 90% of the time. This city gets more than 300 centimetres of annual rainfall – to have beautiful fjords you need rain.
There’s a joke about Bergen: “I’ve been to Bergen so many times, but last time I had to find a local to ask if it ever stops raining. I found a boy and he said, “sorry sir, I don’t know – I’m only 12-years-old”.”
I’m usually very organised or do all my organisation before the trip, so during this time I can enjoy the break and video call my 17-month-old son.
4.45pm Be my guest dinner
When we arrive at the Øvre-Eide family farm, we say hello and go for a little walk through the land, which is right by the lake that provides drinking water for most of the city. The farmer Arild explains about his land, how farming is subsidised in Norway and how things work. We greet the sheep and horses and try some local juice from the Hardangerfjord, the area we left that morning.
Around 6pm we’ll head to the main house for dinner where they serve up Norwegian party food. It’s traditional food that you might eat at celebrations. There’s rømmegrøt, which is a local sour cream porridge, plus sliced ham, smoked salmon, potato salad, scrambled eggs, bread, butter and loads of different cheeses. For dessert there’s kransekake, which is ice-cream with little Scandinavian treats like almond marzipan.
Arild plays the piano and they get dressed up in traditional Norwegian costumes, which are very expensive. They can cost like $10,000 but you usually get one for your confirmation or when you turn 18 and you’ll have it your whole life. It’s common to wear it to weddings and celebrations. There’s music, people dance and have fun – it’s such a good experience. He plays some Grieg on the piano too. Lots of guests say to me this is one of the best Be My Guest experiences.
GET INSPIRED: Scenic Scandinavia and its Fjords
8.30pm – Back to the hotel
Bergen is the second biggest city in Norway, with a population of around 420,000 people in the greater city, so you could go out to the town for a drink, but I usually go to bed, call my family and relax at the hotel. I check my music and make sure my playlist for the next day is organised, pull up my quote-of-the-day, and then Facetime my wife and son, if he is still awake.
Today’s quote was: “Life is not measured by the breath you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”
So, that’s a day in the life on Travel Director Lasse when he’s on tour in Norway. Have you been to Norway or other Scandinavian countries? Let us know in the comments…