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Tour Report: Best of Scandinavia in 14 Days

I went on this tour as a female solo June 18-July 1, 2017.
I don't want to do a day by day but will post thoughts/reviews/impressions in sections.
Please feel free to ask any question.

ITINERARY: I was pleased with the itinerary. I enjoyed every stop. I was OK with the one night stops as they were all interesting and worth seeing and were on the way to the next big destination. To make the itinerary even more perfect for me would likely make it less marketable, but I would like to have had one more night in each capital that was all free time. Or, I would make the trip into two different tours and add more destinations. As I posted in another thread, I have mixed feelings about the free time. I would have preferred more. Several of my tour mates however, wanted less free time. It was a perfect mix of city and country. Rating: 4 1/2

TOURMATES: 26 total. Five married couples, Two family groups (Grandpa/Grandson), (Mom, Dad, Daughter), Three all female friend groups (2, 2, and 3), Three solo female, One solo male. Age 16-87. I think about 8 states represented, all Americans but 3 living in Germany and 1 in London. Varied backgrounds/professions: attorneys, teachers, doctor, minister/counselor, engineer, military, artist, business. Many retired, some not. Everyone friendly and inclusive, no cliques. I think I shared a meal with everyone. Rating: 5

GUIDES: Asa (the first A has a halo, pronounced Osa) was our tour guide. She is fabulous. Personal, vibrant, efficient, on the ball, knowledgeable, in charge, sweet. We had one injury and one dental problem that was handled well. Rating: 5 Bus driver Peng. Also fabulous. Very personable, kind, caring man. Skilled driver. Rating: 5 Stockholm local guide Hakan (first a with a halo, Hokan). Excellent orator and communicator. Very good at getting across complex ideas. My favorite local guide. Kalmar Castle guide Arnand. I enjoyed him quite a bit. I am not a castle fan, but I was a fan that day. The rest were either good or adequate.

BUS TIME: For those of you afraid of bus time, don't be. First of all, the tour is busy and it isn't so bad having a minute to write in a journal, read your news feed, or take a quick nap. Asa gave us many cultural or history talks on the bus that I enjoyed immensely. As everyone says there is enough room to have your own seat to spread out. I left my bus bag on the bus. It might have my rain jacket, my journal, book, snacks, water. Peng kept a cooler of drinks for sale cheap. My overall favorite day was the drive through the Jotunheimen mountains, breathtakingly beautiful.

FOOD: I am not a picky eater. I would say the food was good or adequate. I like to try different foods or familiar foods prepared in a new way. For that reason I would give a 4 1/2 rating. We had several group lunches together on bus days. One was a buffet in a small town and two picnics. One picnic was a choice of sandwich with drinks and cookies, the other one we packed from the breakfast buffet (charge for that was paid by the tour). Peng baked us kanellbulla (cinnamon rolls) and they were fantastic. Our first night we had traditional Swedish meatballs. In Denmark we had a traditional Christmas meal. These two meals there were no other choices which was fine with me. In Oslo I had game stew (moose and reindeer) and the other choices were reindeer filet or reconstituted dried cod. Scandinavian breakfast food is yogurt and granola and half sandwiches. I am still eating black bread (I love my husband, he learned how to make several different versions of this and is keeping me supplied), cheese, cold cut (or leftovers), cucumber, sprouts, tomato. On days we had a group dinner I frequently bought a snack at a food stall or grocery for lunch. Asa would take our choices ahead of time so we didn't have long waits at the restaurants.
More to come....

Posted by
4483 posts

Wow, this is great! I love the topical format. Thank you!

Posted by
827 posts

HOTELS: 1. Hotel Wellington Stockholm--I came a day early and booked a room in the guest house which is around the corner from the hotel. I liked my room and asked to stay there for the tour nights. I have heard complaints about single rooms and I am not sure if those scorned rooms were like my singles, but I felt cozy. Single bed, desk, wooden flooring, high ceilings, window overlooking a courtyard. Access from the street with a code, two flights of stairs. There was a tiny elevator but looked rickety and didn't try it. There were apartments or small businesses in the building as well. On the second floor access to the flat using the same code. Then multiple rooms, drawing room, breakfast room, and full kitchen. Coffee, tea, snacks, fruit available 24 hours per day. There was breakfast here every day but Monday when I walked to the main hotel for breakfast. The staff was helpful when needed. A modest complimentary dinner was offered at the hotel. I ate there one of the three nights. Tomato soup, meatballs and salad. Not great, but good quality. Great location (goes almost without saying on this tour). Many of my tour mates picked this as their favorite hotel.
2. Frimurarehotellet Kalmar--One night. Large room. Not very much style but clean and comfortable. Didn't like the shower. Standard Swedish breakfast.
3. Hotel Bethel Copenhagen-- Single room, smaller than the Stockholm room. Clean, comfortable. No separation between shower floor and the rest of the bathroom. GREAT VIEWS of Nyhavn Harbor.
4. Pension vestergade 44 AEro-- I was in one of two garden rooms. Shared a bathroom with tour mate. Beautiful setting, beautiful hostesses (Susanah and Tilly the Scottish setter). Home made breakfast rolls, delicious afternoon tea.
5. Overnight Ferry--No windows, but I had a full sized room with two lower berth single beds, typical boat bathroom. Asa said it was her roughest ferry crossing but I slept like a baby. Smorgasbord offered for $28. I ate at the Italian place. Not so good. Most of us played a pub style trivia game together. Fun.
6. Thon Cecil Oslo--Double room, smallish. Window opens into breakfast courtyard. Very good breakfast spread. Great bathroom. Stylish.
7. Elveseter Hotel Jotunheimen Mt--The setting was outstanding. Ate in the Valhall dining room : ). Lots of art. My tour mates LOVED this place. Single room, small, cabin room. Bathroom barely acceptable. Earlier that day a huge Norwegian spider crawled up my shirt onto my back and I wasn't in the campy mood after that.
8. Thon Rosenkrantz Bergen--My favorite tour hotel. Small single room. Very stylish. Complimentary dinner offered. The breakfast buffet was massive.
On my Own
9. Sekelgarden Hotel Anno 1793-- Krister Henrikson visited here. Charming B &B feel. Staff went out of their way to be fabulous. Spacious room, high ceilings, modern bathroom. Great courtyard.
10. Axel Gulmedsen Copenhagen-- Eco friendly hotel. Upscale furnishings. Beautiful. Close to train station. Supposedly red light district, but I didn't notice. Close to Tivoli.

Posted by
11246 posts

Thanks for posting this. I hope to learn from you to make my own trip reports more concise in the future!

Just one question - for your ratings in the first post, is that on a 5 point scale, or something else?

Posted by
1792 posts

Very nice report, I agree I like your format. I have been thinking about this tour. What was the weather like?

Posted by
827 posts

Answers to questions
1. Rating. Yes based on 5 starts
2. I was told our weather was atypical. In Stockholm it was sunny and in the 80's
In AEro it was rainy-- I guess it usually doesn't rain here
Oslo was beautiful, sunny high 70's. Copenhagen was typical, clouds and some rain.
The most atypical was that Bergen was 84 and sunny. We were told only about 15 days a year it doesn't rain here

Thanks for the positive comments. I will continue to post sections as I am able. Let me know if there is a specific topic you want me to include.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks for the trip report. I have enjoyed reading it. I like the way it is broken into sections.

Posted by
729 posts

Great trip report, I'm going to use this format in the future! The Scandinavian tour is on my list for thre next 2 years.

Posted by
827 posts

PACKING: I took an Osprey Porter 46L that weighed 19 pounds and a cross body travel purse (didn't weigh but guess 3 lb max). I would like to thank the members of this forum because I am extremely happy with the results. I read almost every thread on the packing section before I made my packing decisions. I didn't take notes but will give you my impressions of what others brought. Three others brought duffles or a backpack. Everyone else had a roller bag. Most but not all were carry on size. I think I brought the least because I saw most with their second bag larger than my purse, but still would fit under the seat. I did not see anyone struggling with their luggage. Women mostly wore jeans, capris, shorts, travel pants, or skirts. Athleisure is how I would describe. For tops there were T's, tanks, and blouses. Men wore jeans, khaki pants, shorts, travel pants, and polo's or T's. . A few women had a dress/skirt for the farewell dinner. One female had a larger suitcase. She had at least 3 different jackets/hoodies.

Clothing: 3 pair of Venture pants from Travelsmith. Black, Olive, Blue. I love these pants and I wear them to work. Six tops. I do not wear short sleeve shirts. Long sleeve Ohio State Athletic top, Long Sleeve cotton grey T-shirt with "Saga Noren, lanskrim Malmo", Black 3/4 sleeve tunic, White with black scrolls 3/4 sleeve dressy-ish tunic, Black and White floral 3/4 sleeve tunic, Light weight green floral cotton top. Long sleeve silk underwear top. Night shirt (could be worn as athletic top), one lounge pant. 4 underwear/socks, 2 bra. Large cotton scarf navy, green, grey. I used this to dress up my black tunic, as a head scarf when my scalp was sunburned before I bought a hat, for warmth in the mountains, as a picnic cloth, as a wrap. Teva delavina lace boots, gunsmoke. I love these. Waterproof, great ankle support, no blisters. Keen zephyr slip ons black. These pack very small and I wore them a few times but I could have done without them. Super light Eddie Bauer grey rain shell with hood, I don't use an umbrella.
Tech: I only took my google Pixel phone. I used the $10 per day Verizon plan. I know this would be overkill for most of you but I spoke to home twice daily and to work every day on weekdays. I could freely use data without worrying about cost. There was supposed to be wifi on the bus it "broke" early on in the trip. I bought a charger at a Swedish phone store so I didn't need an adapter.
Toiletries: I minimized this. The hotels all had shampoo/body wash. Only one had conditioner. I took washer sheets but threw them away and used the body wash to wash clothing. I use a lot of lotion. I took 3 small lotions and bought a 5 oz bottle my first day. I used it up before my flight from Bergen to Copenhagen. I took a wee bit of cosmetics and wore less than I do at home. (No one mentioned that they thought I wasn't wearing enough make-up!!) I took a length of paracord and 4 metal clips with hanger tops. This worked great.
I took ibuprofen which I took all of and bought some more. I took imodium, mucinex and a first aid kit. I did not use any of these but would take them again. Fingernail clippers. Adapter, curling brush. I took a money belt but did not wear it. I have a green passport case with slots for my credit cards. This case is too big for the money belt. I wore my purse without taking it off. No one in Scandinavia got close enough to have wandering fingers. (I will work a different system for Italy). I took a journal and a paperback book. I took a zippered pouch to put all of my receipts in. I took a capital one credit card, a capital one debit card. The credit card did not work in unmanned train kiosks in Denmark and Sweden. I took my bank ATM card. I took $120 USD, did not use a penny. I withdrew about $50-100 (US worth) of kroner in each country. I misplaced some Norwegian kroner in my bag so came home with some of that. Three large zip loc bags, used 2.

Posted by
827 posts

I also had a pair of rx sunglasses, one pair of cheaters. Sunblock stick, Nivea lipbalm. Pens. Small sewing kit, didn't use. Safety pins, didn't use.
Again, I am very happy with what I packed. I obviously wore every bit of clothing multiple times. I could have done with one less pair of socks. The stuff I didn't use was small and i would have been glad to have it if I needed it.
I did laundry the first evening of a two night stay. One rainy day I used the hairdryer to facilitate drying. I did not find that doing sink laundry was burdensome. Nobody complained that I wore each top 3 times or each slacks 6 times.

Souvenirs: I bought very little. For myself I bought a hat which I needed badly due to sunburned scalp. I bought an insulin molecule necklace at the Nobel Museum. I bought a reproduction Viking silver ring. I bought my husband some smoked sea salt and some cloudberry jam. I bought Norwegian wool products in Bergen. I made a deal with the merchant that if I bought all I wanted in his store he would ship everything for me. The subtraction of VAT covered the cost of shipping. Two sweater jackets, T-shirt, two hats, one scarf, 3 pair of slipper socks.

Posted by
827 posts

I bought my bag before reading all of the packing threads. If I hadn't, I probably would have bought the Osprey 40L. I am glad I have the bigger bag though because I can fit more stuff in there if I need to. And I was disciplined not to stuff it full just because I could. I also took a don't tell Rick bag that I used as my bus bag. I then folded it and packed it for the flight.

I really liked having the back pack. It wasn't too heavy. I like having my hands free because I am clumsy. Also, flight agents think your bag is smaller when you are wearing it. I like the quality and material of the bag.

Posted by
827 posts

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY/GROUP EVENTS: I attended all but three group events that were offered. The first was a walking tour of Copenhagen. I had booked a Europe food tours event that overlapped with the time. The second was a guided tour of Rosenborg Castle by the HC Andersen look alike guide. Everyone seems to love this guy but I did not like him at all. The third was a hike in the Jotunheimen mountains the morning after we stayed at Elveseter Hotel. I skipped this because I had developed tendonitis of my knee and was worried about the grade of the trail. I thought all of the group events were well chosen and worthwhile with the exception of the Hanseatic league museum in Bergen. It was very warm that day which may have made me grumpy standing in small spaces with other folks.
It is very difficult to communicate the strenuousness of an activity. I averaged 6 miles of walking per day (low 2 and high 10). My usual amount of exercise is to walk a towpath 5 miles three days per week. The combination of the walking and long days were very tiring. I was more tired than I expected. I do recommend that you are prepared for this much walking. I have read about cobblestones/brick streets making walking more difficult but I didn't believe it. It is true. I could have taken it easier but there was so much I wanted to do in my free time that I just kept going. I did sleep well! The other thing that impacted the way I felt was that I did not pay enough attention to my usual caffeine habits. I don't drink coffee but do drink 12-24 oz of diet soda each morning. I usually drink only water at restaurants and otherwise. There obviously was no soda at the hotel breakfasts so I was missing it. I did have more energy after I figured this out and made sure to have a diet soda in the morning. (Of note the largest size I could find was 8 oz).
STOCKHOLM:
Group: Walks of Ostermalm, Sodermalm, Gamla Stan. These were all enjoyable and informative. Vasa Museum-fantastic. Asa gave us a bit of a guided tour (very well done) and we had unlimited time on our own. Stockholm City Hall--very nice. Group dinner at Kvarnen. Traditional Swedish meatballs, family style.
On My Own: I arrived at hotel at 9:30 am the day before the tour started. I prebooked a ticket on the Arlanda Express early for $17. You get a code via email. It was nice not to have to worry about figuring out a ticket machine right off the plane and it is the fastest way into the city. Milesgarden--my favorite art form is sculpture. This was a great outdoor, get over jet-lag activity. To get there you have to take the metro, a bus, and a walk. Lunch at Saluhall. You don't want to miss at least a walk through here. I bought a bunch of Swedish snacks and mailed them home to my husband and son. It only took a week to arrive. Stromma Dinner Cruise to Vaxholm. This was a nice relaxing way to be on the water and enjoy a very late sunset. Royal Palace--I am not a castle or palace gal, but I enjoyed a quick walk through and it was covered by the Stockholm Pass. I bought a 72 hour Pass that included transportation. I got my money's worth. Nobel Museum--worth it with the Pass but not otherwise. An early morning walk on Monteliusvagan, a raised walkway that yields beautiful views of the city. Get there via metro. Walk through Gamla Stan. Skansen--very glad this was covered by the Pass. I was disappointed here. Nice place to take a walk but not worth paying for.

Posted by
864 posts

"Earlier that day a huge Norwegian spider crawled up my shirt onto my back and I wasn't in the campy mood after that."

Was the spider in your room or elsewhere? I'm ready to write this tour off as a no-go! ;)

Posted by
827 posts

Teresa,
No, the spider got me when I was sitting in a very very old building. I did not see any such creatures at the hotel!

Posted by
1792 posts

Enjoyed your report, this tour is on my bucket list. I have been on several RS tours and usually, I find one "in-between" city or town needs more time than the tour is scheduled to give it. I think of the tours as a sort of highlight or overview to give you a good taste of what's on offer so that you can go back. Then you can design your own itinerary for your own interests and you can delve deeper into the culture, etc. of a particular city or town.

Posted by
864 posts

"No, the spider got me when I was sitting in a very very old building. I did not see any such creatures at the hotel!"

Thank heaven for that! I often find some little wriggly-scriggly thing in my hotel rooms, but never a huge spider. Euuggh! :D

Posted by
1 posts

How was sharing the bathroom at the B&B? Not having our own bathroom is the only reservation we have about the trip. We tend to need to use the restroom in the night, and we don't want to disturb others.

Posted by
827 posts

I shared a bathroom with one other solo traveler. My headboard was up against the bathroom wall and I did not even know she was in there taking a shower. We had the garden rooms so were not in the main building. I did not hear any complaints from the others about sharing a bathroom in the main building. At this stop, the group is split between two sites. The other site had private bathrooms. Just speak with your guide about your preference. I think that there will be enough of the group that will want to stay in the pension to allow you to stay at the other site.

Posted by
17 posts

We just returned from this tour last night.
We were able to stay in the pension with private bathrooms. Just mention your concern on the first night privately with your tour leader. They will accommodate your needs. It is a fabulous tour! Just be ready to walk! It is a physical tour.

Posted by
827 posts

Annie- I am so glad to hear that you felt it was a physical tour. I was feeling a bit wimpy. I do have an inflammatory musculoskeletal issue, but it took me about a month to recover enough to want to start exercising again.

Posted by
827 posts

Sorry for the hiatus.
KALMAR: We had a nice bus ride after visiting Stockholm City Hall in the morning. I was surprised that I enjoyed the tour of the Kalmar Castle. The historical information was very important. Asa did a great job of connecting our site stops with historical stories.
ORESUND BRIDGE: So, this bridge is important to me because of my love of Nordic Noir dramas, especially Bron/Broen (The Bridge). I loved crossing it on the bus and the views were terrific. It has had a huge impact on bringing together the Copenhagen metropolitan area to include the southwestern part of Sweden.
COPENHAGEN: I highly recommend foodtours.eu tour. This was the day that I walked over 10 miles but it was worth it. At the minimum go to Aamanns deli and get a taster plate of smorrebrod. They are beautiful and delicious. It was here that I came to love elderberry flower syrup. I had juice and soda. Now I have some in my fridge at home. I also recommend visiting Torvahallerne food hall. I came back here to have lunch prior to getting on the ferry to Oslo. Fresh fish and chips!
AEro: My tour mates loved this place. My highlight was the witch effigy burning bonfire for Sankt Hans Aften. I really enjoyed being on the beach with the locals experiencing their midsummer tradition. We also had our Christmas feast here which was fantastic.
OSLO: My favorite event in Oslo was the Vigeland Sculpture Park. I was literally brought to tears. The design of the park layout and the individual pieces together was a perfect expression of humanity, relationships and the journey from infancy to old age. I still get the shivers when I think of it. I also enjoyed the Viking museum (my favorite of the 3 we saw on the tour).
JOTUNHEIMEN: I thought that I would love the fjord ride which was great, but I loved the bus ride through the mountains even more. Norway is as beautiful a country as you could imagine.
BERGEN: Nice touristy fishing village with a lot of history. If you are planning your own trip to Norway, I wouldn't spend more than one night here. It felt a little like being at Walt Disney to me.

After the tour I spent 2 nights in Ystad, Sweden. I did a report on that separately. Then one more night in Copenhagen before flying home.

FLIGHTS: I flew Cleveland to EWR to Stockholm and returned CPH-EWR-CLE on SAS. I worked days off to pay for a business class ticket on the way over and economy plus on the way home. For me the extra cost is worth it. I am able to sleep on the over night flight which makes my investment in the trip more enjoyable. On the way back I watched episodes of a new Nordic drama and was very comfortable. I was happy with the airline and the service. I also flew from Bergen to Copenhagen on SAS.

Posted by
827 posts

LAST THOUGHTS:
I have been back from the trip now almost 2 months. A typical question that I am asked when returning from a trip is, "Will you go back to __?" My response is always that even though I enjoyed ___ I won't be going back because I have so many places that I want to see. I have found that Sweden is creeping into my daydreams and that I am starting to long to go back. There was something there that made me feel that I was both someplace exotic and home at the same time. I didn't expect this to happen so it is a nice surprise. If I live long enough there is another trip to Stockholm and the villages of Skane in my future.

Also, I will be taking more RS tours. My only complaint is the fast pace, but I have decided that all of the advantages outweigh that. After I tick off some more boxes I will choose some places to return to on my own.

Annie, or anyone else that has taken this tour, please feel free to add your comments to this thread.

Posted by
113 posts

Thank you so much for a very honest and well written description of your travels. My wife and I and two other couples took the 14 Day Villages of Italy tour this year and loved it. So this tour is our next RS tour. We are reserved for the July 1st departure next year. We plan to arrive in Stockholm one day early after 4 nights in Amsterdam. Is there something you recommend doing that is not covered by the tour?

Thanks again.

Posted by
827 posts

Mark, you will have a great tour. You can read what I did in Stockholm up above. I would go back to Millesgarden. I would definitely do the walk on Monteliusvagen for the great views. I would spend some time in Gamla Stan. The tour does do a guided tour through the main streets so spend some time on the streets away from the main square.
I would not pay to go in the Nobel museum. If you get a pass, certainly spend half an hour or so in there.
I enjoyed walking through the Royal Palace, but again I would not have wanted to pay for each section.
I recommend doing at least one tour on the water. The under the bridges tour is well liked. I took a dinner cruise to Vaxholm and I enjoyed that a lot.
I wish I had stopped in to see some of the History museum. There is free admission. It is not far from the hotel.
I do not recommend Skansen. We have open air museums here in Ohio, so unless you have never seen something like it, I would skip it.

I am preparing for the 17 day Italy tour. One of the things I will do differently than I did on the Scandinavian tour is not schedule my free time so full. You can't see everything. Spend some time just being in the city. Wander, sit at a cafe, sit inat one of the many parks, walk by the water. Watch all of the beautiful Swedes with their kids and dogs go by. Have a fika.

Have a great trip.

Posted by
929 posts

Thank you so much for all of the information and your impressions! We will be visiting Stockholm and Copenhagen on our own late June, 2018, and am always very interested in the experiences of others. I added to my notes!

Posted by
1600 posts

Hi vandrabrud, thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed report. This tour has been on my mind for a while and, based on your report, it's moved to the top of the list! Appreciate your insights and honest comments.

Posted by
1173 posts

I really enjoyed your travel report. This is a tour I have been eyeing for a long time. It is high on my list. I stayed with friends at their vacation home in Norway, the family is from Norway but my friends are Americans. I loved Norway and found it beautiful and enjoyed my two week stay there. This sounds like a lovely tour which would be worthwhile to take. Thank you for a wonderful detailed and helpful report.

Posted by
827 posts

Thank you.
I just submitted a photo scrapbook. It should show up in a few days on the scrapbook contest page.

Posted by
116 posts

Thank you for this lovely report. We signed up to go in August 2018 and I’m already getting excited. Tried looking through old “scrapbooks” but found very few. Will relook in a few days. We usually go about 3 days early (from SF area) so glad to hear about things to do in Stockholm.

Posted by
4521 posts

I just want to add a plug for Skansen since vandrabrud (I always want to say ”wander bride” - was that the intent of your screen name) didn’t care for it.

I’ve visited Skansen more than a dozen times in pretty much every season. What there is to see very much depends on the date that you visit. On some days, many of the historic buildings are closed or lacking interpreters and it is really disappointing. Weekends are generally better than weekends. It is usually excellent on Swedish holidays like Midsommar or weekends before Christmas with singing, folk dancing, etc. They publish the special activities for each day on their website and you should check this before your visit. http://www.skansen.se/en/kalendarium

In the Summer on Tuesday evenings, there is the Singalong ”Allsång på Skansen” which is broadcast live on TV ... it is much loved and the musical guests are Swedish pop stars. If you visit on Tuesday afternoons, you can often listen to some of the rehearsal for the show. This is very fun if you are a music lover. I always take people to see the glassblower, the bakery, and the Scandinavian animals.

Anyway, I just wanted to add that I really enjoyed your report!

Posted by
827 posts

Yes Laura that was the intent of my screen name--or travel chick.
Thanks for your input about Skansen. I was there during the last 2 hours before closing. We have a lot of demonstration type open air museums near where I live and grew up so that part wasn't so interesting and I guess due to the time there weren't any demonstrators around. I was mostly interested in seeing the animals. But it was a very hot day and the northern animals looked miserable, so it diminished my experience.
If I get back to Stockholm on a cooler day, I will give it another try.

Posted by
3492 posts

Thank you so much for this trip report. I'll be doing this same tour June 10-23 this year.

I particularly appreciate the weather info. It's very different from the averages. It looks like I'm on the right track to be prepared for anything.

I am curious about the boots. I have some De La Vina ankle boots, but they are too short to provide any stability or support. Are these like yours? Did you wear them folded or laced all the way up?

The De La Vinas certainly look more stylish than the Ahnus I normally wear, and I'd love to have some good, supportive, comfortable boots that don't look like hiking boots, but comfort trumps style for me any day.

Posted by
827 posts

Lo,
Yes, those are like my boots. I wore them folded down and they still come above the ankle. The other boots you reference would be fine except they look heavy.
You have a great trip in front of you, enjoy!
Let me know if you have any questions.

Posted by
3492 posts

Thanks for the quick response. Actually, the boots weigh exactly the same, 14 oz. per shoe. I was very surprised at that. I thought the De La Vinas looked heavier!

I feel an Amazon order coming on.

Posted by
2236 posts

I really enjoyed looking through your scrapbook. You did a good job of giving the reader an idea of what the tour was like. I wish that an RS tour would include Helsinki and St. Petersburg.

Posted by
827 posts

Lo,
My boots held up well and I plan to wear them through Italy!

Trayla,
Thank you for your kind comments.
I hope more people make and share their scapbooks because I love looking at them and have gotten some good travel ideas from them.
I guess the not quite perfect itinerary is a common issue with a tour. This tour does cover a large area geographically. I think if it becomes more popular of a tour it would be nice to turn it into two different tours, one east and one west. This would give better coverage and maybe one more day in each capital. I definitely want to go back to Sweden one day.

Posted by
19 posts

Very interesting tour report, vandrabrud! I enjoyed your scrapbook, too! Going on my first RS trip in May (14 day BOE) and can't wait! Even though it's a different trip, your post has helped with my planning and packing list. :)

Posted by
1792 posts

I enjoyed your report, the Scandinavia tour is on my list. Also, liked your scrapbook.
You will love the Best of Italy tour, it was one of my favorites out of five tours!

Posted by
1910 posts

Great trip/tour report, vandrabrud. I also very much enjoyed your wonderful scrapbook-an informative and comprehensive overview of a "typical" RS tour. Like others who have replied, this tour is also on my wishlist. Traylaparks, Helsinki and St. Petersburg are on the Rick Steves tour that also includes Tallinn, a city I fell in love with and one I consider not to be missed if given the opportunity. As far as splitting Scandinavia into separate tours, maybe some day? I know that has been done with Italy and France (and now England); the RS empire is always changing and expanding!

Posted by
116 posts

Got to see the scrapbook and Bravo!

Looking forward to Scandinavia

Posted by
827 posts

Rachel, Judy, Andi, and Patty.
Thanks for your kind remarks and for looking at my scrapbook.
It was fun to make.
I can't wait to make one about Italy!

Posted by
4521 posts

Hi vandrabrud, I just wanted to follow up and say I think your take on Skansen was spot on given the time that you visited. I had a season pass when I lived there and found ithe visits to range from very disappointing to fun and festive. I just wanted to point out that the experience can really vary in case there are others who are trying to make a decision. If you find yourself in Stockholm again, don't feel compelled to go back if open air museums aren't your thing. I firmly believe that everyone should choose the experiences that most appeal to them on their vacations. I'm a bit of a living history nerd so I tend to like even the most "boring" of the open air museums.

Anyway, Just wanted to say again that I really enjoyed your report and I hope that you write a report following your next trip.

Posted by
37 posts

We went on the RS Italy tour in 2015. It was fantastic!! We went in late June during a heat wave. I would recommend taking a pair of Keen Rose sports sandals with good ankle straps and toe support. I was concerned about them not being stylish enough, but quickly got over that concern. It really helps to have the front toe guard on the rough streets or cobblestone in the ancient cities to keep from stubbing your toes. I fear you will die from the heat if you wear those boots through Italy in the summer. I do plan on getting a pair of your boots before we do a spring Germany tour in May of 2019.
I was able to pack for the 17 day Italy trip and a 2 week casual sailing cruise in just my carry-on suitcase, a travel shoulder bag and a fully loaded Scotte Vest. Even our Rick Steves tour guide, Virginia, was amazed that I could do it. You are right, no one notices how many times you wear something! It is really worth all the packing effort to be able to handle your own luggage easily. Thanks for your wonderful trip report. Now I'll look up your scrapbook.

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences on this tour! Your trip report has inspired me to book the Scandinavia tour for this August! Thanks again!

Posted by
827 posts

Thanks Kathy,
I love talking/thinking about the trip, so just let me know if you have a question. Post it here or send me a private message.

Posted by
116 posts

Kathy, when are you going in August? We’re on the tour starting August 7. Can’t wait

Posted by
827 posts

Hahahaha. Well, he might not have been a native, but his recent address was definitely Norway!

Posted by
35 posts

Vandabrud - Thank you! I will definitely ask you plenty of questions!

Patty - Hi! I will be on the same tour! Isn’t that something? I look forward to meeting you!