Once upon a time in Scandinavia … A Literary Tour of Sweden, Denmark and Norway

25 Jul – 16 Aug 2018

  • Region:
    • Denmark
    • Europe
    • Norway
    • Sweden
  • Status: waitlist
  • Code: 21823
Overview

Tour Highlights

  • Lectures and site visits by Susannah Fullerton, President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, with the assistance of Russell Casey.
  • Evening performance of Peer Gynt at Lake Gålåvatnet. Henrik Ibsen wrote the verse play in 1867, inspired by stories from the Gudbrand valley in Norway. The accompanying music is inspired by Edvard Grieg’s original theatre music.
  • A guided walk around Bergen in Norway with award-winning crime writer Gunnar Staalesen, following in the footsteps of his detective character Varg Veum.
  • Dinner at The Den Gyldene Freden, the place where every Thursday the Academy (who nominate the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature) convene.
  • Knut Hamsun was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature for his novel Growth of the Soil in 1920. In Grimstad we enjoy a 7-course banquet, a replica of the meal served at Nobel Prize award ceremonies.
  • Wonderful Astrid Lindgren visits, as we get to know more about the creator of Pippi Longstocking, seeing the towns where she set her books, and taking a look at the Lindgren archive with a renowned archivist guiding our visit.
  • A Girl with the Dragon Tattoo walking tour of Stockholm.
  • A Henning Mankell guided walk in Ystad, with a visit to the film museum to learn about the film versions of Mankell’s Kurt Wallander novels.
  • Scenic drives through two UNESCO World Heritage fjords and boat trips on fjords to enjoy spectacular mountain scenery.
  • Visits to fairy-tale castles which inspired Hans Christian Andersen, as well as a visit to his birthplace and viewings of his intricate paper cut-outs in museums and libraries.
  • Discover Australian writer and bush poet Henry Lawson in Norway, with a specially arranged visit to his father’s birth town; and seek out Roald Dahl’s Norwegian roots, enjoying a ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’ afternoon tea along the way.
  • Visits to homes of familiar writers – Henrik Ibsen, Karen Blixen, August Strindberg, Søren Kierkegaard – to see how their writings were shaped by landscape and Scandinavian history.
  • Visits to homes of some less familiar writers, so you can learn about their fascinating lives and works – Elin Wagner, Knut Hamsun, Sigrid Undset, Selma Lagerlöf and Hulda Garborg.
  • Discover the literary associations of historic ships – the Vasa, the Kon-Tiki raft, the Viking ships.
  • Cross over the Øresund Bridge, setting for the acclaimed TV drama The Bridge.
  • Visit Elsinore Castle, setting for the most famous and performed play in the world.

23-day Literary Tour of Scandinavia

Overnight Stockholm (3 nights) • Eksjö (1 night) • Ystad (2 nights) • Odense (2 nights) • Copenhagen (3 nights) • Grimstad (3 nights) • Oslo (3 nights) • Vinstra (2 nights) • Geiranger (1 night) • Balestrand (1 night) • Bergen (2 nights)

Overview

The lands of fairy tales and fjords, Norse Gods and Vikings, have produced wonderful novels, plays and legends. This exciting new tour will explore classic Scandinavian authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, but will also include more modern authors such as Astrid Lindgren, famed for Pippi Longstocking, Karen Blixen of Out of Africa fame, Nobel Prize winning authors Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset and the Nobel Prize Museum itself.

In recent years ‘Nordic Noir’, as Scandinavian crime fiction is now known, has become a worldwide publishing success. We will follow in the footsteps of Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander in Ystad, walk around Stockholm on a Girl with the Dragon Tattoo guided tour, see places connected with Jo Nesbø and his characters, and have the privilege of exploring Bergen with award-winning crime novelist Gunnar Staalesen himself as we follow in the footsteps of his character Varg Veum. We will cross over the bridge between Denmark and Sweden which formed the focal point of the hugely popular TV crime series The Bridge.

Ships have been vital in Scandinavian history and stories. We will visit the Vasa Museum in Stockholm and in Oslo will see the Viking Ship Museum and also the Kon-Tiki Museum to see the balsawood raft on which Thor Heyerdahl made the memorable journey described in his book. We will take boat rides in the spectacular scenery of northern Norway, viewing two UNESCO World Heritage fjords from the water.

Scandinavian writers have been shaped by their unique landscapes, whether isolated Norwegian valleys or the many islands just off the coasts. This tour includes the fjords that inspired Roald Dahl, Elsinore Castle which Shakespeare never saw but which he made world famous in Hamlet, and the fairy-tale world of Hans Christian Andersen (the ugly duckling who turned into a swan), from his humble birthplace near the river where his mother washed clothes for a living, to the gorgeous castles and stately homes where Andersen was an honoured guest and where he found inspiration for his tales.

There will be art, with the enchanting paper cut-outs Hans Christian Andersen snipped so skilfully with his big scissors, and the Edvard Munch Museum to see The Scream, which Munch not only rendered as art but also as a poem. Composer Edvard Grieg, whose Bergen home we will visit, wrote Peer Gynt for Ibsen’s play and composed songs to poems by Kipling, Heine, Goethe and others. We will watch a renowned outdoor performance of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt at a lovely lakeside setting. Also included are a visit to an historic schoolhouse, several cultural museums, an historic stave church, and there will be guided walks in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo.

This tour takes the traveller on a literary adventure, but there will be exciting gastronomic experiences along the way – a replica of the 7-course banquet served to winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, a sampling session of the famed Nobel ice cream, Hulda’s soup from the recipe of Hulda Garborg, pioneer feminist and writer, a ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’ afternoon tea in the Roald Dahl Bar, inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and many other fascinating tasting and dining experiences.

The topographies of these three countries are extremely varied and we will see many different types of landscape – a hairpin drive amongst some of the highest mountains in Europe, islands and waterways with picturesque harbour fronts, coastal towns and isolated villages. As we travel we will learn about Scandinavian history, some very different cultures and varied lifestyles. Crime and castles, legends and lovers, swans and statues and so much more – you will see Scandinavia through the eyes of its great authors and their works.

Itinerary

Draft Itinerary

The following itinerary lists a range of site visits which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but some require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. Furthermore, a number of the sites have not yet confirmed their opening hours for 2018. Therefore the daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight/ferry schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunch and evening meals as indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal.

Stockholm, Sweden - 3 nights

Day 1: Wednesday 25 July, Arrive Stockholm
  • Short Orientation Walk
  • Introduction & Welcome Drinks
  • Light Evening Meal at the hotel

“What other city in the world has a better prospect?” asked Danish Hans Christian Andersen of Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. Encompassing 14 islands and more than 50 bridges, the city is the cultural, media and economic centre of Sweden. We begin our tour with a short orientation walk around the city before having welcome drinks and a group dinner together. (Overnight Stockholm) D

Day 2: Thursday 26 July, Stockholm
  • Vasa Museum
  • National Library of Sweden: Special viewing of selected items from the Astrid Lindgren Archive, the Selma Lagerlöf Collection & the Strindberg Room (pending confirmation in 2018)
  • August Strindberg Museum
  • Astrid Lindgren Apartment with archivist Lena Törnqvist
  • Welcome Dinner at Den Golden Freden

In 1628 a ship named the Vasa sank to the bottom of the waters off Stockholm. 333 years later it was raised from its watery bed and is now the only 17th-century ship on display in the world. We will visit the Vasa Museum and see why this ship has been so popular with authors, who have written essays, articles from marine archaeology to culinary history, and children’s books (such as The Vasa Saga, The Vasa Sets Sail and The Vasa Piglet) about it in many different languages.

The National Library of Sweden has been a legal deposit library since 1661 (though some books were destroyed in a terrible fire of 1697), so it is a superb repository of Swedish literary and cultural history. In 2005 the library’s Astrid Lindgren archive became a UNESCO World Heritage ‘Memory of the World’ record. Pending confirmation, we will view this wonderful archive relating to the world-famous creator of Pippi Longstocking and Kalle Blomqvist. We will also view some of the items from the Selma Lagerlöf archive which runs to 70m of shelf space. Lagerlöf wrote The Wonderful Adventure of Nils and was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

August Strindberg was a hugely prolific author, famed for plays such as Miss Julie and The Father, but also known as a novelist, essayist, poet and even as a painter. He spent the last four years of his life in a building he called The Blue Tower. We will visit his apartment which has been reconstructed as it was when he lived there, with rooms set up like sets from plays. His library holds 6800 books – we are lucky to see them, for he once had to redeem them all from a pawnbroker.

Lena Törnqvist, archivist of the Astrid Lindgren collection in the National Library and board member of the Astrid Lindgren Society, will give us a personal tour of the Astrid Lindgren apartment at Dalagatan 46. Here Lindgren wrote such books as Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, The Brothers Lionheart and The Six Bullerby Children. It was these novels and others that have made Astrid Lindgren the world’s third most translated children’s author (after H.C. Andersen and the Brothers Grimm). The apartment of four rooms was her home from 1941 to her death in 2002, and remains just as she knew it.

Our dinner tonight will be enjoyed at Den Gyldene Freden, a distinguished place because this is where the Nobel Prize for Literature Academy members meet for a weekly dinner every Thursday. It has been serving Swedish home cooking since 1722 and is in Stockholm’s Old Town. Poet/songwriter Carl Michael Bellman (18th century) helped to make it famous through his works, as did songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk (20th century). It is listed in The Guinness Book of Records as the oldest restaurant in the world that still has almost unchanged surroundings. (Overnight Stockholm) BD

Day 3: Friday 27 July, Stockholm
  • Guided tour of the Stockholm City Hall including the Blue Hall and Golden Hall – venue for the Nobel Banquet
  • Nobel Museum Stockholm
  • Lunch at the Bistro Nobel, including the famous Nobel Ice Cream
  • Millennium Walking Tour: In the footsteps of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander

Stockholm’s City Hall is one of the city’s major tourist attractions because every year this is the venue for the presentation of the Nobel Prize. This prestigious set of international awards was established in 1895 through the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. It includes prizes in Literature, Peace, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, Physiology, Medicine and so on. The Peace prize ceremony takes place in Oslo, but all the others are awarded at the Stockholm City Hall. Each laureate is required to give a lecture, then a banquet is held in the building’s Blue Hall, and a ball in the Golden Hall.

Nearby, we visit the Nobel Museum which provides information on the Nobel Prize, Nobel laureates from 1901 to present, and the life of the founder of the prize, Alfred Nobel. We will eat lunch at the museum’s Bistro Nobel and sample the famed Nobel ice cream which was served as a dessert for all banquets from 1976 to 1998. Each chair at the restaurant has been named for one of the winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature – which author’s chair would you most like to sit on?

Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced the world to Lisbeth Salander, one of literature’s most unusual and intriguing heroines. She has been described as “Pippi Longstocking as an adult, but with a much harder life”.  The novel was published posthumously, as were its two sequels, and became an international best-seller, with two separate film versions also being made of what became known as The Millennium Trilogy. Much of the story is set in Stockholm and this afternoon we will take a guided walk to see places connected with the novels. You will see where Lisbeth’s apartment is located (where she sits on her window seat “watching the water on Saltsjon”), see the coffee shop where Mikael meets his mistress Erika, and the area of Södermalm where Larsson himself lived until his sudden death in 2004. (Overnight Stockholm) BL

Ullinge, Lake Södra Wixen, Sweden - 1 night

Day 4: Saturday 28 July, Stockholm – Vimmerby – Pelarne – Sevedstorp – Ullinge
  • Light Lunch at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs Café
  • Astrid Lindgren’s Näs (Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home). Guided tour of the house, and free time to explore the exhibition and gardens
  • Literary walking tour of Vimmerby visiting the settings that inspired Astrid: Kalle Blomkvist’s alleys, Emil’s market & the house with Pippi’s sweet shop
  • Wooden church of Pelarne
  • Sevedstorp: the model for Astrid’s books about Bullerby
  • 2-course evening meal at Hotel Ullinge, overlooking Lake Södra Wixen

This morning we drive to the city of Vimmerby, a town that received its charter as far back as the 14th century. Today it attracts tourists because it was the background for the stories about Emil of Lönneberga, the prankster who is the hero of 12 books by Astrid Lindgren. Emil looks angelic, but has an amazing knack for getting into trouble and he lives in a village just outside Vimmerby. Lindgren was born in Näs and it was here she experienced a childhood that was a “fairy tale without end”.

After a light lunch at the Näs Café, we will explore her childhood home and have time to walk in the gardens (where she climbed the lemonade tree and jumped in the hay). We will then take a guided walking tour of Vimmerby to see places associated with her life and fiction, such as Kalle Blomqvist’s alleys, Emil’s market and Pippi’s sweet shop.

It was at the intriguing old wooden church at Pelarne in 1905 that Astrid’s parents, Samuel and Hanna, were married. Their marriage, according to their daughter, was full of “more love than I’ve ever read about in books”. They gave Astrid the freedom and security to write. We also visit Sevedstorp, where three small farms were the model for Bullerby – this was where her grandparents lived.

Dinner will be at the Hotel Ullinge on the shores of Södra Wixen lake. (Overnight Ullinge, Lake Södra Wixen) BLD

Ystad, Sweden - 2 nights

Day 5: Sunday 29 July, Ullinge – Berg – Jämshög – Ystad
  • Lilla Björka: Elin Wägner’s house in the village of Berg, Lahammult
  • Light Lunch in the heritage building close to Lilla Björka
  • Jämshög Hembygdsmuseum (subject to confirmation in 2018)

Elin Wägner, teacher, journalist, pacifist and writer, was a pioneer feminist in Sweden and a member of the Swedish Academy. She was born in Lund, but her mother died when she was only 3. As an adult she was committed to getting women the vote, to civil rights, welfare reform and fighting environmental pollution. She founded the Swedish chapter of the International Save the Children Alliance, and she was married to literary critic John Lindqvist. We will visit her house in Berg where she wrote articles, letters, and novels such as The Wind Turned the Pages, Men and Other Misfortunes and The Penholder.

After a light lunch we will visit the Writers’ Museum of Jämshög Hembygdsmuseum, which is situated in a charming historical schoolhouse. Two former students of the school were Harry Martinson (1904-1978), who wrote award-winning Swedish literary history, and Sven Edvin Salje (1914-1998) and the writers’ museum focuses on these two authors. We can see Salje’s original study, where he wrote the novels On These Shoulders and Home to the Sea. (Overnight Ystad) BL

Day 6: Monday 30 July, Ystad
  • Walking tour of Ytad: In the footsteps of Kurt Wallander
  • Guided tour of the Cineteket/Film Studio
  • Time at leisure in Ystad
  • Ales Stenar
  • Dinner at the Brasserie du Sud, one of Wallander’s favourite restaurants

Kurt Wallander, the detective created by Henning Mankell, is grumpy, divorced, troubled by his prostate and occasional drinking binges, lonely and disillusioned. He is based in the town of Ystad in the dozen or so novels in which he features. Today we will enjoy an Ystad walk in his footsteps to see the police station at Kristianstadsvagen, his home in Mariagatan and his favourite coffee shop of Fridoff’s konditori. The first novel in the series was published in 1991 and there have been more than 50 films featuring this memorable detective. To learn about some of those films (Wallander has been acted by Kenneth Branagh, Krister Henriksson and Rolf Lassgard) we will look around the Ystad Movie Museum, which displays costumes, sets and props not only from the Wallander films, but also from The Bridge.

Ales Stenar is a stunningly situated clifftop megalithic monument, shaped like a boat, perched above a little fishing village on the southern coast of Sweden. Irish poet Seamus Heaney visited the monument in 1990 and was inspired to write two poems about this special place:

In May, in sunlight
The stone boat lies becalmed.
Larks
Sing at the masthead

Anders Österling captures the spirit of this atmospheric place in one of his poems:

Where the coast plunges from sky to sea
Ale built a giant ship of stones,
stately resting where throngs of pale wheat
blend with the boulders´ dark immobility.
A tale hidden within the
murmur of the Baltic Sea,
which alone knows the ship´s meaning.

Grandiose resolve subdued the hill,
iron met bronze, when the adventure began.
The sea king´s ship, stuck to the ground,
is here making its journey to the end of time.
It just has stone for bow
and clouds for sails,
but is still the free ships’  equal.

Dinner will be enjoyed at the Brasserie du Sud, one of Wallander’s favourite restaurants. (Overnight Ystad) BD

Odense, Denmark - 2 nights

Day 7: Tuesday 31 July, Ystad – Torup Castle – Malmö – Odense
  • 16th-century Torup Castle
  • The Bridge: Guided tour of Malmö with Eva Roos Davidsson
  • Cross the Øresund Bridge to Denmark

Selma Lagerlöf won the 1909 Nobel Prize for Literature for the “lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception” that characterise her writings. Today we visit 16th-century Torup Castle where she often stayed while visiting her friend Baronesse Henriette Coyet. It is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Sweden and it is easy to see why Lagerlöf loved to visit.

We leave Sweden this afternoon, taking the dramatic route of the Øresund Bridge, a combined motorway and rail bridge over the strait dividing Sweden and Denmark. It connects Copenhagen and Malmö and was the setting for the acclaimed Swedish/Danish TV crime drama The Bridge. (Overnight Odense) B

Day 8: Wednesday 1 August, Odense
  • Walking tour of Odense: In the Footsteps of Hans Christian Andersen
  • Hans Christian Andersen Museum. Note: In 2018 this museum will be closed for renovations, and a temporary museum is planned to display the collection.
  • Hans Christian Andersen’s childhood home
  • Funen Village: Guided tour with a focus on life during the times of Hans Christian Andersen

In 1805 a little boy was born in the Danish town of Odense. His father was a shoemaker, his mother a washerwoman, and the family was poor. But that ugly duckling would one day turn into a swan, and become famed around the world for his fairy stories. The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, The Tinderbox and The Emperor’s New Clothes have truly enriched children’s literature.

This morning we will explore Odense to see the City Hall, the cathedral where Andersen was confirmed, the Charity School, the castle where his mother worked, the place where she washed clothes in the icy Odense River, and the Hans Christian Andersen garden with statue of the author with a book in his hand. Around the city are statues of some of his characters.

At the museum are displayed examples of his incredible paper cut-outs. With a large pair of scissors in his big hands, Andersen could cut intricate scenes of dancers, soldiers and shoemakers from pieces of folded paper. He gave them as gifts to little children. We will also visit his childhood home where he lived from the age of 2 to the age of 14, when he left to seek his fortune in Copenhagen.

In Hans Christian Andersen’s work we find illuminating remarks on both Funen village life and the world of the 19th century. “It was lovely summer weather in the country, and the golden corn, the green oats, and the haystacks piled up in the meadows looked beautiful. The stork walking about on his long red legs chattered in the Egyptian language, which he had learnt from his mother. The corn-fields and meadows were surrounded by large forests, in the midst of which were deep pools. It was, indeed, delightful to walk about in the country.” The Ugly Duckling (1843). This afternoon we take a guided tour of Funen Village, a Danish open-air museum located in the Fruens Bøge district of Odense. It features 25 buildings from Funish villages, most of which date to the 18th and 19th century. Our visit will focus on village life during the times of H.C. Andersen. (Overnight Odense) B

Copenhagen, Denmark - 3 nights

Day 9: Thursday 2 August, Odense – Broholm Castle – Holsteinborg Castle – Copenhagen
  • Guided tour of Broholm Castle & Buffet Lunch
  • Holsteinborg Castle: Hans Christian Andersen rooms and Church

Hans Christian Andersen made his way to Broholm Castle in 1836. His 1837 novel Only a Fiddler records the experience: “Briskly they walked towards Broholm Estate. The leaves of the forest were transparent, the violets grew in bushes, the woodland fields were in full bloom, and between the trees they could look out across the water to Langeland, which rose high above the sea with its woods and windmills.” We will have a buffet lunch in this castle which dates back to the 12th century, and which has a park with moat and lake.

Nearby Holsteinborg Castle has rooms dedicated to Andersen, who was invited there by Count Ludvig Holstein. He first visited in 1855, but returned almost every year, making 35 visits. He felt wonderfully at home in its lovely rooms: “At Holsteinborg my sun-picture was created. For here sunshine in my heart was laid.” His rooms have been preserved, with the desk on which he wrote travelogues, essays, letters and some of his famous tales. The rooms lead to an upper floor of the church and according to tradition, Andersen sat on a chair in his doorway with his back to the pulpit because he so disliked the minister. The castle is straight out of a fairy tale, with its turrets and towers, lake and parkland but for the Father of Fairy Tales it was a “comfortable, old castle, surrounded by forest” where he could ride in a heated carriage and indulge himself in making paper cut-outs for the Count’s little daughter. (Overnight Copenhagen) BL

Day 10: Friday 3 August, Copenhagen
  • Literary Walking Tour of Copenhagen with historian Christian Holm Donatzky: Hans Christian Andersen & other writers
  • Treasures in the Royal Library
  • Afternoon at leisure

Today we enjoy a guided literary walk of Copenhagen, following in the footsteps of Andersen and other Danish writers. Andersen was constantly on the move and there are many homes where he lived and wrote. At no. 67 Nyhavn he stayed for about 20 years – we will see that home and also the Royal Theatre which he frequented and where he hoped to either act or dance his way into fame.

Sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen actually collapsed and died in the Royal Theatre. He was a friend of Andersen’s and was celebrated for his sculptures around Europe. We will visit the Thorvaldsen Museum, continue on to Christiansborg Palace, the Parliament building so important in the TV series Borgen. We end the tour at the Royal Library to view its Treasures exhibition – rare books, manuscripts, letters, a Gutenberg Bible, notes by philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and Andersen’s diaries.

The afternoon is at leisure – you may wish to stroll in the Tivoli Gardens (Andersen was friendly with the founder of the gardens and he loved the Chinese style buildings there – these gardens inspired his story The Nightingale). There is a shop with merchandise devoted to his stories. Or you may prefer to stroll around Copenhagen, which began as a Viking fishing village and is now Denmark’s sophisticated and cultured capital. (Overnight Copenhagen) B

Day 11: Saturday 4 August, Copenhagen – Kronborg – Ryngsted Kyst – Copenhagen
  • Guided tour of Kronborg (Elsinore Castle)
  • Guided tour of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art: The history, architecture and art collection of Louisiana
  • Karen Blixen Museum, Ryngsted Kyst
  • The Little Mermaid

It is estimated that every minute of the day Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is being performed somewhere in the world. And, of course, the setting of that play is Elsinore Castle (which Shakespeare never actually saw). Elsinore is actually the anglicised name of Helsingør, which is the town where Kronborg Castle is located. Hamlet was performed there for the first time on the 200th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, with a cast drawn from the castle garrison. Today the castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site and we will visit it and take the ‘In Hamlet’s Footsteps’ guided tour.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is located on Øresund Sound and holds an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum itself has been acknowledged as a milestone in modern Danish architecture and is today the most visited art museum in the country. The name comes from the first owner of the property, Alexander Brun, whose three wives were all called Louise. It hosts a Louisiana Literature Festival, has a sculpture garden, and hosts many exhibitions.

“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong hills”, wrote Karen Blixen in her novel Out of Africa. But Karen Blixen, who also published under the name Isak Dinesen, also had a home in Rungstedlund in Denmark. This was her birthplace and the home to which she returned after her 17 years as a farmer in Kenya. This was where she wrote Out of Africa, Babette’s Feast and her essays and short stories. The rooms of her home are almost exactly as she left them and they give a vivid picture of her daily life. Furniture on display came from her Kenyan home (the favourite chair of Denys Finch Hatton, played by Robert Redford in the film version, is there, as well as the chest given her by her butler, Farah). Her artworks are also on display, some dating from her time as a student at the Danish Academy of Art. Near the house are Blixen’s grave, the bird sanctuary created according to her wishes, and an extensive park. Karen Blixen was considered for the Nobel Prize for Literature, but never won it. She was hard working and a true professional: “Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost!”

Before returning to our hotel we stop off to see one of the world’s most famous statues. Designed by Edvard Eriksen, it depicts Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, perched on a rock by the Copenhagen waterside. It was unveiled in 1913 and on several occasions has been vandalised, but each time restoration has been done. The Little Mermaid has been copied around the world and is an iconic figure. (Overnight Copenhagen) B

Grimstad, Norway - 3 nights

Day 12: Sunday 5 August, Copenhagen – Kristiansand – Grimstad
  • Guided tour of Rosenborg Castle, including the Danish Crown Jewels
  • Literary Walking Tour of Copenhagen with historian Christian Donatzky: In the Footsteps of Søren Kierkegaard
  • Light Lunch at the Cultural Centre Assistens
  • Guided tour of the Cultural Centre Assistens: Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Christian Andersen and other famous writers
  • Fly from Copenhagen to Kristiansand, flight Widerøe WF 267 (late afternoon)

We begin this morning with a guided tour of the Renaissance Rosenberg Castle, used by Danish regents as a royal residence until 1720. Of special interest is the Great Hall with the coronation throne and the Schatzkammer displaying the Crown Jewels and the Danish Crown Regalia.

Historian Christian Donatzky will show us the Copenhagen of Søren Kierkegaard, philosopher, poet and theologian. After seeing a statue of Hans Christian Andersen in the Kings Garden of Rosenborg Castle, we go on to Kierkegaard’s house at Rosenborggade, where he wrote Sickness unto Death. At Kultorvet he lived as a student and wrote a review of one of Andersen’s novels. His Either Or was written when he lived in Nørregade, which we will see. Also included in the walk are the Church of our Lady, the University of Copenhagen, the Old Metropolitan School (which novelist Hans Scherfig describes in his novel Stolen Spring) and Kierkegaard’s last apartment and the memorial plaque. At Vandkunsten, a small square near Vartov Church, a man named Grundtvig, an opponent of Kierkegaard’s, was employed as priest.

The Cultural Centre Assistens is a combined museum, park and graveyard. The graveyard was founded in 1760 and is the last resting place of Andersen, Kierkegaard and other famous Danes. The Centre will give us a cultural insight into Copenhagen’s past.

Later in the day we fly from Copenhagen to Kristiansand in southern Norway, and then continue by coach along the coast to the maritime town of Grimstad. (Overnight Grimstad) BL

Day 13: Monday 6 August, Grimstad
  • “Town of Poets”: Literary Walking Tour of Grimstad
  • Henrik Ibsen Museum including the Pharmacy, Ibsen’s Room & Library of the former reading society
  • Light lunch at the Café Ibsen
  • Guided tour of Dømmesmoen: “Ibsen’s currant bushes and other bushes”
  • Waffles at the Norwegian Museum of Horticulture Café
  • The Old Hospital & readings from On Overgrown Paths
  • Hamsun and the Nobel Prize: Talk and Banquet at Smag & Behag Restaurant

Grimstad is also known as ‘the town of the poets’ thanks to its associations with Henrik Ibsen, one of the founders of theatrical modernism, and Knut Hamsun, winner of the 1920 Nobel Prize for Literature. These two renowned writers lived in Grimstad and we will take a guided walk to see where they lived and wrote. This will include the courtroom where Hamsun was tried in 1947, the pharmacy where Ibsen worked as an apothecary’s assistant, Ibsen’s library and Hamsun’s Postbox, described in On Overgrown Paths when he took a difficult walk from hospital in order to post a letter. Both men had difficult relationships with the town.

After a light lunch at Café Ibsen, we will tour more places connected with these two Norwegian authors. Hamsun supported the occupation forces during WWII and was detained and tried. On Overgrown Paths tells of this period of his life, when he was financially ruined and shamed. And yet in 1920 he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his work Growth of the Soil.

On a visit to Dømmesmoen we learn more about the pharmaceutical apprentice Ibsen as we tour his herb garden. This will be followed by an afternoon snack of waffles at the Norwegian Museum of Horticulture Café, but appetites should be kept keen for the evening treat. A delicious 7-course banquet, a replica of that enjoyed by Hamsun in Stockholm when he won his Nobel Prize, will be served to us, as we discover the dramatic story behind the award and take a unique journey through words, food and drink during this very special evening. (Overnight Grimstad) BLD

Day 14: Tuesday 7 August, Grimstad – Tvedestrand – Austre Moland – Tromøy – Fevik – Grimstad
  • Morning hosted by Jan Klovstad, who operates the Booktown in Tvedestrand, and has written a book in Norwegian about Henry Lawson
  • The booktown of Tvedestrand
  • Birthplace of Henry Lawson’s grandfather (Peder Larsen Fladen), Auster Moland (exterior only)
  • Light Lunch at Bjellandstrand Gård
  • Birthplace of Henry Lawson’s father (Niels Hertzberg Larsen) incl. relief of Henry Lawson & mini-museum, Tromøy
  • Short talk in English about Henry Lawson and Norway by the Chairmen of Tromøy – Jan A. Ommundsen
  • ‘Henry Lawson and his critics’ by Kari Mentyjærvi
  • Reading of Henry Lawson by Mr Tore Tunold
  • ‘Scrumdiddlyumptious’ Afternoon tea inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Strand Hotel Fevik incl. stories of Roald Dahl’s times at the hotel and visit to his favourite room

Henry Lawson is familiar to us all as the Australian bush poet. Poems such as Up the Country and Freedom on the Wallaby capture the landscape and people of Australia. And yet Lawson has fascinating links with Norway. His father Niels Larsen was born in Norway, went to sea and arrived in Australia as part of the Gold Rush in 1855. Henry was born in 1867 and the surname was then anglicised to Lawson. We will spend the morning in Tvedestrand, hosted by Jan Klovstrad who operates the Booktown there, and who will show us sites associated with Niels Larsen.  He was born in 1832 in Tromøy on the southern coast of Norway. The house is still there, and we will also look at the home of Lawson’s grandfather Peder, and a recently unveiled sculptural relief of Henry Lawson, based on a photo of a bust of Lawson now in Footscray Park, Melbourne. Niels Larsen died in 1888, after an unhappy marriage with Louisa. Even when in Australia he kept in touch with his sister Pedrine Mathilde, so never lost touch with his Norwegian roots.

The booktown of Tvedestrand is one of two booktowns in Norway. Its white wooden houses and pleasant harbour area make it a delightful place for a stroll. We will then listen to a short talk about Henry Lawson and Norway by the chairman of Tromøy, learn about Henry Lawson and his critics, and see just what sort of place this Australian writer has on the other side of the world.

We tend to think of Roald Dahl writing in a hut at the bottom of an English garden, but he’s another author with Norwegian heritage. He was born in Wales, but his parents were Norwegian, he was named after the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, and he was christened in the Norwegian Church in Cardiff. As a boy Dahl enjoyed “idyllic times” on annual holidays in Norway – “going to Norway every summer was like going home”. For many years he was a regular guest at the Strand Hotel Fevik. We will visit this restored 1930s hotel on a private beach, see Dahl’s favourite room where he could look out over the sea and find inspiration for his stories. In the Roald Dahl Bar we will partake of a ‘Scrumdiddlyumptious’ afternoon tea inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Overnight Grimstad) BL

Oslo - 3 nights

Day 15: Wednesday 8 August, Grimstad – Hvalstad – Oslo
  • Lunch at the Asker Museum: ‘Hulda-sodd’ (Hulda Garborg’s soup) & waffles
  • The Asker Museum: the Valstad Collection and Labråten Museum – artist homes of Tilla and Otto Valstad, and Hulda and Arne Garborg

Today we travel from Grimstad to the Hvalstad Valley where we will visit the Asker Museum. This includes the home of artists Tilla and Otto Valstad, and also Labråten, home of writers Hulda and Arne Garborg. Hulda was a novelist, playwright, poet and folk dancer, a pioneer in the women’s rights movement and also an ardent supporter of Norwegian heritage and customs. She wrote many articles about traditional cooking and a cookbook called Heimstell – we will sample Hulda’s Soup (Hulda-sodd) and also waffles. Arne Gulborg was a social reformer, and together the couple were part of the European intellectual vanguard, enjoying a bohemian lifestyle and travelling widely. They embraced socialism, attacked the church, and were instrumental in promoting the nationalist movement and self-awareness of Norway. Hulda wished to encourage those living in rural areas to take pride in their traditions and local dishes. In 2007 Ruth Hege Holst published In Hulda’s Kitchen which updates and reinterprets her recipes.

We then travel on to Oslo, a capital city with ‘a village quality’ according to crime writer Jo Nesbø, who sets his Harry Hole novels there. Oslo will be our base for two nights. (Overnight Oslo) BL

Day 16: Thursday 9 August, Oslo
  • Literary Walking Tour of Oslo: Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun, Sigrid Undset and Jo Nesbø
  • Ibsen Museum
  • Lunch at Restaurant Schrøder
  • Vår Frelsers Gravlund Cemetery: the graves of Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Munch
  • Edvard Munch Museum

This morning we set off with a guide to explore literary Oslo. Henrik Ibsen spent much of his life in Oslo and died there – we will see his grave in Vår Frelers Gravlund Cemetery (artist Edvard Munch is also buried there). Knut Hamsun, described by Thomas Mann as “a descendant of Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche” also lived in Oslo. Crime writer Karin Fossum sets her Detective Konrad Sejer series in and around Oslo, as does Anne Holt with her Hanne Wilhelmsen crime novels, and Jo Nesbø whose main character, Harry Hole, is a police officer with the Oslo Crime Squad. We will also see places associated with the Kristin Lavransdatter, the medieval trilogy of novels by Sigrid Undset.

It is said that when Nora walked out on her husband and slammed the door at the end of Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, the echoes of that sound were felt in homes around Europe. Ibsen was always a controversial playwright, tackling subjects such as public health, feminism, morality and propriety. He is the most frequently performed playwright in the world after Shakespeare and actually wrote his plays in Danish so he could reach a larger audience. We will visit the Ibsen Museum which was his last home (where he lived with his wife Suzannah). It has original furniture and décor and features several exhibits about this great writer’s life.

Lunch will be served at the Restaurant Schrøder, frequented by Harry Hole, who lives just around the corner in a flay in Sofies Gate. This traditional restaurant which opened in 1925 has interiors covered with paintings of Oslo in the 1920s.

In the afternoon we visit the Edvard Munch Museum. Munch tried in his paintings to make a “study of the soul”, a goal he met with the creation of his most famous painting ‘The Scream’. That painting has attained iconic status in popular culture – it has appeared in anime books, on postage stamps, in novels, in cartoons and TV programs. (Overnight Oslo) BL

Day 17: Friday 10 August, Oslo
  • The Viking Ship Museum
  • Kon-Tiki Museum
  • Afternoon at leisure

The Vikings, who were Norse seafarers, traded and raided across the seas from the 8th to the 11th century. Their longships took Norse stories, language and culture to Britain and Europe. Their myths and sagas, gods and heroes, have exerted a strong influence on popular culture and literature. This morning we visit the Viking Ship Museum to see the Oseberg ship, dug up from the largest ship burial in the world, the 9th-century Gokstad ship, the Tune ship, small boats, sledges, tools and archaeological finds that bear witness to the extraordinary trading voyages made by these intrepid travellers.

Our day continues on an ocean-going theme. Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian explorer and enthnographer, set off in 1947 to sail 8000 kilometres in a hand-built balsawood raft. His aim was to demonstrate the possibility of contact between widely separated ancient peoples, but what he also got from the project was a best-selling book. The Kon-Tiki Expedition was published in 1948, has been made into a movie and is an acclaimed travel book. We will see the raft at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo and learn about Heyerdahl’s other expeditions to Easter Island, across the Atlantic to Morocco, and through the Persian Gulf. Heyerdahl’s library, including books, photos, maps and letters, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Memory of the World’ register and it is on display at the museum.

The afternoon is free to explore Oslo. You might like to visit the Fram Polar Ship Museum, visit the National Gallery, stroll in the parks, or sample Norwegian culinary delicacies such as reindeer, wild moose or salmon. (Overnight Oslo) B

Vinstra, Norway - 1 night

Day 18: Saturday 11 August, Oslo – Lillehammer – Follebu – Gudbrandsdalen Valley – Vinstra
  • Morning drive from Oslo to Lillehammer
  • Bjerkebaek: The home of Sigrid Undset, Lillehammer
  • Light Lunch at the Bjerkebaek Café including Sigrid Undset’s fyrstekake
  • Aulestad Farm: writer’s house museum of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
  • Buffet dinner at Hotel Fefor Høifjellshotell & Hytter
  • Evening theatre production of Peer Gynt by Lake Gålåvatnet

We depart from Oslo early to make the scenic drive to Lillehammer. Our route takes us past the village of Hamer, visited often by Sigrid Undset and used by her as one of the settings of her acclaimed saga Kristin Lavransdatter. Knut Hamsun also knew this part of the country – he recovered at Lillehammer in 1895 after completing his first five important novels.

At Lillehammer we visit Bjerkebaek, the home of Sigrid Undset. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928 and was at that time living in the small timber-clad house that she furnished with great style. It was here she wrote Kristin Lavransdatter, her trilogy about Norwegian life in the Middle Ages, and Olav Audunsson, a tetralogy about the Master of Hestviken, also set in medieval times. She loved this home in the beautiful Gudbrand Valley. We will also enjoy a poetic walking tour of her garden after visiting the house.

Lunch will include her Fyrstekake, a classic Norwegian tart flavoured with almonds, which she cooked according to a family recipe.

We go on to Aulestad Farm, writers museum for Bjørnsterne Bjørnson (1832-1910). His Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded in 1903 “as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and rare purity of its spirit”. He is considered to be one of 4 greats amongst Norwegian writers (the others being Ibsen, Jonas Lie and Alexander Kielland), and he wrote the lyrics of the Norwegian National Anthem. He lived at Aulestad Farm with his wife Katherine for 35 years, drawing inspiration for his writings and deepening his political commitment. Together they created their own European-style townhouse in the country. The farm is still owned by the family.

After a buffet dinner at the hotel, we set off for a very special theatrical event – an evening theatre performance of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. Ibsen travelled from Oslo to the west of Norway to collect folk tales and it was in the Gudbrand Valley that he found the fairy tale on which he based his 5-act verse play. The play is a satire on Norwegian egotism and narrowness. It was Ibsen’s last play written in verse, and is modernistic in ignoring boundaries of time and space. Today it is one of Norway’s most frequently performed plays. We will see the play outdoors, amidst the breathtaking scenery of Lake Gålåvatnet, with Grieg’s lovely music accompanying the script. With English audioguides, we will follow the adventures of Peer Gynt – wild and drunk, forever shirking his responsibilities, he turns to the world of trolls and myths, before finally returning to his own community. He is a universal character and the play evokes existential questions. The evening will give us a unique glimpse into Norwegian history and culture. (Overnight Vinstra) BLD

Geiranger - 1 night

Day 19: Sunday 12 August, Vinstra – Garmo – Lom – Geiranger
  • Guided tour of Garmo & Lom with Torunn Kjøk, President of the Knut Hamsun Society, Lom, including Knut Hamsun’s birthplace
  • Lom Stave Church & Memorial to poet Olav Aukrust
  • Cottage of Tor Jonsson
  • Lunch at Nordgard Aukrust Farm and introduction to Olav Aukrust
  • Scenic drive to Geiranger

The village of Lom lies amongst some of the highest mountains of Northern Europe. Nearby Garmo was the birthplace of Knut Hamsun, born there in 1859 – that house is a museum, which we will visit. We will also see Garmo Stave Church where he was baptised, the Uppigard Garmo mentioned in his novel Growth of the Soil, and the farm where he lived for a year in his teens. The birthplace was moved from its original position, used as a forge, then dismantled and reconstructed a few metres from its original site.

Lom Church is a triple-nave stave church dating from the 12th century, although considerably changed in the 17th century. It still has its original medieval crest with a dragon-head.

Another local writer is Olav Aukrust (1883-1939), a poet who used this stunning region as inspiration for his poems. There is a memorial to him near the church, erected in 1955.

Tor Jonsson (1916-1951) is another poet from Lom. His childhood cottage, which we view,  is part of the Lom District Museum. He lived a life of poverty and suffered deep loneliness.

Lunch will be eaten at Nordgard Farm, where Olav Aukrust lived most of his life. He was born in Lom and wrote poems in a renewed national romantic style. His use of the local dialect contributed to the growth of Nynorsk as a literary language. In spite of poor health, he became a teacher and received a stipend to study Gudbrandsdalen dialects. He drew great inspiration from the local folk tales and celebrated the traditions and peasant life of this area. His mystical poem Cairn of Heaven is considered his finest work.

Our afternoon drive is spectacularly scenic. As we make our way to Geiranger, we tackle hair-pin bends over mountains, see fjords, mountains rising from sheer channels cut deep in the ancient rock, glaciers and hillside farms. This is another UNSECO protected area and it is easy to see why it has inspired writers. Ibsen travelled through this region in 1862, seeking myths and legends he could turn into poems or plays. Our three day journey from Oslo to Balestrand takes us along some of his route. Often his writings describe local festivities – fiddle music, moonlight on the fjords, folk dance and so on. Ibsen stayed at Lom Rectory, now rebuilt as a school. (Overnight Geiranger) BL

Balestrand, Norway - 1 night

Day 20: Monday 13 August, Geiranger – Hellesylt – Olden – Fjaerland – Balestrand
  • The spectacular Geirangerfjord: 1-hour cruise from Geiranger to Hellesylt
  • Troll Car excursion to Briksdal Glacier & Lunch
  • Afternoon drive to Balestrand via Fjaerland
  • Dinner at Hotel Kviknes

Today we cruise the stunning Geiranger Fjord, passing by impressive waterfalls such as the Bridal Veil and the Seven Sisters. We disembark at the picturesque village of Hellesylt, once an important and well-protected Viking port. Ibsen used the Sunnylven Church there as a setting for his play Brand, which he wrote while staying there. Knut Hamsun also visited and described the mountains as “breathing from the granite vaults of their lungs”. The fjord is very narrow, surrounded by some of the steepest mountains on the west coast. A very few mountain farms can be reached by hazardous paths and bridges – humans have had to be hardy to live and build in such a spot!

From the village of Olden we make a detour to visit the world-famous Briksdal Glacier. The journey up to the glacier will be made in open Troll Cars to give you the best views. Afterwards a typical Norwegian lunch will be served in sight of the glacier.

The afternoon provides more stunning landscapes, as we drive to Balestrand via Fjaerland, passing under the Jostedal Glacier (the largest in Europe) to Sogndal on the northern side of Sognefjord. A ferry will take us from Hella to Dragsvik from where we continue to Balestrand. These are the landscapes where you can easily picture the god Thor chasing trolls with his thunder, hammer-wielding Norse gods, lindworms (Scandinavian dragons) lurking in caves, and the permanently damp Fossegrimen (harmless spirits who live in waterfalls). (Overnight Balestrand) BLD

Bergen, Norway - 2 nights

Day 21: Tuesday 14 August, Balestrand – Gudvangen – Flam – Bergen
  • Ferry from Balestrand to Vangsnes; continue by coach to Gudvangen via the Vika Mountains and Stalheim Canyon
  • Express ferry Gudvangen to Flam: Cruise the World Heritage Listed Nærøyfjord
  • Lunch at Ægir Bryggeri, Flam
  • The Per Sivle Memorial at Flam
  • Express boat from Flam to Bergen (Route 23501)

This is another day of superb scenery as we travel from Balestrand to Vangsnes, via the Vika Mountains and Stalheim Canyon. Norwegian painter Johan Christian Dahl, founder of the Golden Age of Norwegian painting, painted the view from Stalheim in 1842.

We shall cruise the World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord surrounded by mountains 1700 metres high. With its hanging valleys, steep cliffs, towering peaks, snowfields and waterfalls, this is probably the most outstanding natural attraction in Norway. The fjord is 20 kilometres long, only 250 metres across at its narrowest point and a mere 12 metres at its shallowest. National Geographic Traveller magazine gave first place to these fjords as a sightseeing destination. You might see goats (the Three Billy Goats Gruff, perhaps?) grazing in the small traditional farms, or maybe seals basking on the rocks. Ibsen was given a grant to travel in this area, so he could collect folk songs and legends. He never published the results of the journey, but the trip made its mark on his plays, Brand and Peer Gynt in particular.

We will eat lunch at Flam. There we will also find a memorial to poet Per Sivle, as he was born in Flam in 1857. His collected works come to only two volumes, but his stories give vivid depictions of life in the area, the people and their animals. His novel Strike was one of the first workers’ novels in Norwegian literature. His stories are often funny, though Sivle’s life was a sad one, and some of his poems have been turned into popular songs.

In the late afternoon we will take the express boat from Flam to Bergen. (Overnight Bergen) BL

Day 22: Wednesday 15 August, Bergen
  • Walking tour of Bergen: In the footsteps of Varg Veum – The Private Detective, led by author Gunnar Staalesen (subject to confirmation in 2018)
  • Edvard Grieg’s Home at Troldhaugen: Guided tour of villa and short piano recital
  • Lunch at the Troldhaugen Café
  • Time at leisure
  • Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant

Varg Veum, the detective created in the popular novels of crime writer Gunnar Staalesen, lives in Bergen, as does his creator. We have the great privilege of being joined by Gunnar Staalesen (subject to confirmation in 2018) so that he can show us places in the town associated with his fictional character’s crime-solving adventures. Staaleson is one of the founders of Nordic Noir – he made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and is the author of more than 20 titles which have been published in 24 countries and have sold more than 4 million copies. There have also been film adaptations of the books, starring Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, who also lives in Bergen.

Composer Edvard Grieg lived at Troldhaugen. We will visit his home and listen to a short piano recital, learning about Grieg’s life and music and his role in developing national identity. Grieg was much influenced by literature and set to music poems by Heine, Goethe, Ibsen, Kipling, Bjørnson and others.

Our last lunch of the tour will be at the Troldhaugen café, then there will be time at leisure to explore the colourful wooden houses at Bergen’s wharf, shop in the old city square, or take a funicular up Mt Floyen for yet more spectacular views.

Our farewell tour dinner will be at a local restaurant, before we return to the hotel to say goodbye and pack our bags. (Overnight Bergen) BLD

Day 23: Thursday 16 August, Depart Bergen
  • Departure transfer for participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight

Our tour ends today in Bergen. Participants on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer to the airport to take their flight to Australia. Alternatively, you may wish to extend your stay in Norway. Please contact ASA if you require further assistance. B

Accommodation

23-day Literary Tour of Scandinavia

ASA has selected 3- to 4-star hotels that are themselves historical buildings and/or are located in historical centres. All hotels provide rooms with en suite bathroom. Double/twin rooms for single occupancy may be requested – and are subject to availability and payment of the Double (as Single) Supplement. A hotel list will be given to all participants prior to departure.

  • Stockholm (3 nights): 4-star Haymarket by Scandic – opened in May 2016, this art deco-themed hotel is situated next to Hotorget Square in central Stockholm. www.scandichotels.com
  • Ullinge, Eksjö (1 night): 4-star Hotel Ullinge – overlooking Lake Södra Wixen; all rooms with lake view. www.ullinge.com
  • Ystad (2 nights): 4-star Hotel Continental du Sud – renovated in 2016, this elegant hotel is located in the heart of the medieval town. The hotel is home to Kurt Wallander’s go-to restaurant ‘Brasserie du Sud’. hotelcontinental-ystad.se
  • Odense (2 nights): 4-star First Hotel Grand Odense – set in an elegant 19th-century building in the heart of the old town; a 5-minute walk from the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. www.firsthotels.com
  • Copenhagen (3 nights): 4-star Copenhagen Admiral Hotel – set in a heritage-listed 1780s building, this waterfront hotel is next to Amalienborg Royal Palace, opposite the Opera House and 650m from the Royal Danish Theatre. admiralhotel.dk
  • Grimstad (3 nights): 4-star Scandic Grimstad – housed in a colonial-style building and set amongst charming old timber houses next to the small Market Square; within easy walking distance of both the seaside and the Ibsen Museum. www.scandichotels.com
  • Oslo (3 nights): 3-star Scandic Victoria – centrally located modern hotel, within easy walking distance of restaurants and Oslo’s major sites. www.scandichotels.com
  • Vinstra (1 night): 3-star Fefor Høifjellshotell & Hytter – surrounded by the Jotunheimen Mountains, the hotel is located on the shores of Lake Fefor. www.fefor.no
  • Geiranger (1 night): 3-star Hotel Geiranger – offering rooms with balconies with spectacular views of the UNESCO World Heritage-Listed Geiranger Fjord. www.hotel-geiranger.no
  • Balestrand (1 night): 4-star Kviknes Hotel – this grand 18th-century waterfront hotel offers stunning views of the surrounding Sognefjord. www.kviknes.com
  • Bergen (2 nights): 4-star Clarion Hotel Admiral – housed in a 19th-century building, overlooking Vagen Bay, 300m from Bergen’s fish market, directly across the water from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bryggen. clarionhoteladmiralbergen.h-rez.com

NoteHotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

How to book

Making a Tentative Reservation before the tour price has been published

ASA INTENTION TO TRAVEL APPLICATION FORM

Some ASA tours fill almost immediately. Don’t miss out! You can register your ‘Intention to Travel’ by completing this application and returning this to ASA with a AUD$200.00 per person deposit. Once the tour price has been published, the itinerary and ASA Reservation Application Form will be sent to you. From the time you receive the itinerary you will have two weeks to either:

  • Send us a completed ASA Reservation Application Form together with an additional deposit of AUD$300.00 per person. On receipt of this Reservation Application and deposit, ASA will process your booking and if approved, send you a tour confirmation. At this time your deposit of $500.00 AUD is subject to the tour’s Booking Conditions.

Or

  • CANCEL your Intention to Travel in writing. ASA will refund your AUD$200.00 per person deposit, less a $66.00 service fee (including GST).
Participation Criteria

To participate in an ASA tour, you must be reasonably fit, in good health and able to participate in all activities without assistance from Tour Leaders or other tour members. If you require assistance, a fit and able travel companion must undertake to accompany and assist you with all tasks for the duration of the whole tour. ASA’s ability to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your specific needs, your health and safety and the health and safety of other tour members, is of paramount importance to us. For this reason the ASA Reservation Application includes a Medical Information section. As a general guideline, you must be able to accomplish each of these activities without assistance or support:-

  • walk and stand unassisted for at least 2-3 hours a day in hot, humid conditions
  • walk confidently on and over uneven surfaces
  • climb at least 3 flights of stairs
  • embark and disembark from ferries, buses and trains
  • walk up and down steep slopes
  • walk at a steady pace and no less than 1km every 15-20 minutes
  • organise, manage and carry your own luggage
  • follow and remember tour instructions
  • meet punctually at designated times and places
  • administer your own medication
 Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Double (as Single) Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double (or twin) room for single occupancy throughout the tour. The number of rooms available for single occupancy is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

Gallery Tour Map
Physical Endurance & Practical Information
Physical Rating

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless, all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 23-day literary tour of Scandinavia involves:

  • A daily schedule generally involving an early-morning departure (between 8.00-8.30am), concluding in the late afternoon (5.30-6.00pm).
  • 2-3 site visits most days, involving up to 1-2 hours of walking at each (regularly on uneven terrain, cobbled streets, and steep slopes) and/or standing, interspersed with coach travel.
  • The use of audio headsets which amplify the voice of your guide (despite noisy surroundings). This technology also allows you to move freely during site visits without missing any information.
  • 3- to 4-star hotels with ten hotel changes.
  • You must be able to carry your own hand luggage. Hotel porterage includes 1 piece of luggage per person. On at least 2 occasions porterage is not available at the hotel; you must therefore be able to carry your main suitcase.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $TBA Land Content Only
AUD $TBA Double (as Single) Supplement

For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares and/or group airfares please contact ASA for further information.

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 3- to 4-star hotels
  • Breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals indicated in the tour itinerary, where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=evening meal.
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included.
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach
  • Flight from Copenhagen to Kristiansand, with Widerøe, WF 267 (late afternoon)
  • Airport-hotel transfers if travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights on arrival and departure
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at most hotels (not at airports)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Evening Performance of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt at Lake Gålåvatnet
  • Tour Handbook
  • Entrance fees
  • Use of audio headsets during site visits
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-Stockholm, Bergen-Australia
  • Porterage at some hotels
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers if not travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
Terms & Conditions
Deposits

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply.

We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA.

ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies.

ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider.

ASA reserves the sole discretion to canel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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