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Truly a trip of a lifetime. My family of 4 (me, my husband and two adult boys) went to Alta in early January, where we went dogsledding, snowmobiling, and saw the northern lights. In Oslo we went on a very interesting architecture tour. The highlight was relaxing in the lodge sauna after a day spent snowmobiling and getting called by the lodge staff to come outside to watch the northern lights! The staff at all of the places Torunn and Mari sent us to were exceptional and would go out of their way to provide assistance. We can’t wait to go back sometime in the summer now and see the same location again.
My daughter and I traveled to the following locations in Norway between Oct 2-11, 2022: Oslo, Fjaerland, Hoyeimsvik, and Skabu. The trip was organized by Torunn Tronsvang, based in Oslo. I would rate every aspect of this trip as a 10 on a 1-10 scale. Torunn’s office was extremely thorough in working to understand what my daughter and I were most interested in seeing and doing during the trip. They arranged personally guided tours ranging from hikes to boat rides. They booked us into exquisite hotels and were also available for questions by text or phone at any point during our travels. In summary, they curated a magnificent trip for us and I would give them my highest recommendation.
Our trip to Norway was incomparable—far better than we could have imagined, and our expectations were high. That’s because we were supposed to make this trip in March 2020, and we postponed at the last minute because of impending COVID shutdowns. Our travel planner, Torunn Tronsvang, worked with us over the past 2.5 years to make sure that the trip could be made safely and easily. We can’t praise her and her team enough!
We’re very glad we traveled now, and so happy to have worked with Torunn.
Torunn and her team put together an itinerary that was full of special places: a luxurious yet rustic-feeling hotel on a fjord outside Ålesund, along with a fjord cruise and visit to a tiny fjord community; a night at an Art Nouveau hotel in Ålesund that was literally on the water; amazing visits to two islands above the Arctic Circle: Lofoten and Senja; a short, very wonderful stay in Oslo. We had amazing dinners, from fish tongues in Senja (they’re delicious!) to sophisticated French cuisine in Oslo to several tasting menu dinners that were each works of art.
When the trip was originally planned, we’d targeted March for the Northern Lights possibilities. But now when we were ready to travel, we didn’t want to postpone any longer and risk yet another outbreak in the fall-winter of this year. Torunn worked with us to shift the trip to September. By doing that, we saw Lofoten and Senja in an amazing array of fall colors. And although no trip planner can guarantee Northern Lights, Torunn helped us scout the best time in the fall (around the autumnal equinox) to improve our chances of seeing the Northern Lights. And we did see them, on two nights in Lofotfen!
We could not be more happy with Torunn. The live itinerary app that she uses was such a great tool! Her office updated it with any necessary changes (a couple meals shifted, for example), and they sometimes communicated airline gate changes to us faster than the airline’s own app. The chat function was super helpful as well.
All of the experiences, dining, and travel logistics felt COVID appropriate to us. COVID seems to have mostly abated in Norway, so it was not really a major consideration. But we always felt that the properties and people we were dealing with were aware of possible issues and attended to them.
We didn’t encounter any specific challenges or destination-related problems, but during our long planning process, Torunn did make changes from our original itinerary if she thought that she’d found a better accommodation or dining option. For example, our accommodation in Senja, a beautiful lighthouse-inspired tower on the doorstep of a national park, was a switch from the 2020 plan. We are so glad she made the suggestion. Not only was the lighthouse an amazing place to stay, the property’s owner, Hege, CEO of Norwegian Wild, was a warm and wonderful guide for us. She refashioned a planned night of Northern Light chasing when it became clear that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate. Instead, she spent a day with us, driving us to find the best photo spots. She also made two amazing meals during our stay: a salmon stew that she cooked on a wood stove in a fisherman’s hut on the edge of the fjord, and reindeer pizza in the cafe at the Norwegian Wild campground. We would never have met Hege without Torunn.
Without question, Torunn added value to our trip. She listened closely to what we were looking for in our trip and made those things happen. But she also planned for us lodgings, restaurants and experiences we would never have found on our own.
For example: Our host for an afternoon in a fjord village, Eli Anne, grew up there and is part of the community effort to keep the little town alive. She showed us the village school that her mother attended and which is now a little museum—and we met her mother at the lunch Eli Anne made for us at her home! She showed us the area’s steep gorges and described the importance of avalanche control in the area. She knows that from personal experience: Her grandfather and uncle died in a terrible avalanche in 1971—an event that changed how Norway addresses avalanche risks. You can’t possibly get that kind of experience unless the travel planner is very knowledgeable about the region and is attuned to the traveler’s interests.
If a traveler is going to work with Torunn, I would say to take her counsel on locations to visit, things to do and how long to stay in various places. For instance, we had asked about visiting Bergen, and she suggested Ålesund instead. The city center, which is composed of all Art Nouveau buildings, is so beautiful. But she also knew that Ålesund wasn’t worth more than a short stay. It is touristy, because it is a cruise-ship destination. Our hotel was a wonderfully calm place, and the overnight stay gave us a chance to buy some things we needed for the ongoing trip. She also told us about Senja, an island that is less well known to Northern Lights visitors than is Lofoten. It’s much less visited and possibly even more beautiful. We loved our time there and have talked about visiting again! There is nothing in the tour itinerary that I would have avoided!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We are glad that we chose to travel in Norway, as there were so few Americans there. Torunn was wonderful to work with. While she initially came back with a plan that was $9000 over our initial budget, she worked with us and respected our desire to stay within our budget. She paid close attention to our wants and needs and arranged a great trip for us. She surprised us by popping in to visit us at a restaurant at dinner our first night in Norway. It was nice to meet her in person. Most impressively, she dealt with our cancelled SAS flight from the fjords to the Arctic. She worked hard to give us a similar experience that we were hoping for in the Arctic (a fishing village) and managed to give us the same experience and booked us new flights on a different airline, all within 24 hours!!!! This experience solidified my appreciation for using a trip planner. Torunn asked us for feedback when we finished the trip in order to plan for future travelers. We gave a detailed and very positive list, with only a few change suggestions. Thank you for leading us to Torunn. I would absolutely recommend her to travelers to Norway.
My husband, 2 older teen agers and I spent 10 days in Norway. Our trip, planned by Torunn, was wonderful and exactly as we had asked. Our favorite part of the trip was meeting local people and having time to hear stories and explore the way people live, including a meal in the summer farmhouse on the mountain high over the fiord, a ramble in the hills of a generations old sheep farm and a fiord cruise captained by a technology professor. We had a mix of active and quieter days and stayed in hotels and guest houses that put us in the middle of beautiful scenery and offered excellent and kind service. We had some dietary restrictions that were carefully attended to in all the delicious meals we ate. I appreciated having access to Torunn throughout our trip via an online app and found her and her staff to be professional, organized and flexible. Torunn listened carefully to what we wanted on our trip, so be sure to let her know how you like to travel and then enjoy meeting people who feel like friends and family.