I was absolutely delighted as I opened the door to my room — I could see the fjord through the French doors — via the balcony, which was pretty dang big and had a low chair and table. The room itself was charming - a pink candy-striped wallpaper, a wooden desk and chair,, a rattan chair, a wooden single bed and bedside table. The bathroom unit looked like it had been plopped in in the 1960s — but the door closed to it, and the shower and other bathroom entities worked perfectly even if they weren’t the fanciest to look at. I was in heaven with where they had put me.
My room looked out across a narrow “mini-fjord” to a small cluster of buildings including a white wooden church, ,a red barn . . . I mean you couldn’t make up a more picturesque view!
I had four nights (three full days in Balestrand). I got lucky with the weather. There was a little rain but not much - and the one time it rained with any intensity, I was in my room. I took things slowly the next day and explored the gorgeous hotel salons and grounds, and then walked along the fjord-level road out to see the fjord, some of the beautiful villas, the light, the water, etc. etc.
I knew from Rick’s book that the smorgasbord in the Kviknes hotel was something to be experienced. I didn’t plan on having it every night, but wanted to experience it once. Well, again, apparently the “lack” of tourists put the kibosh on the smorgasbord - they weren’t offering it while I was there. Instead, in the dining room, you had a three-course prix-fixe dinner for around 65 euros. (I will note that it doesn’t seem the smorgasbord was nixed for Covid reasons, as the breakfast was still served in grand smorgasbord fashion every morning.)
The three-course dinner is just too fussy for me, so I figured i would take advantage of the bar menu, which was available up until 7 pm each night. I ended up being VERY pleasantly surprised and dined there all the three nights I had.
The first night, there was a nice cod dish, the second a local trout that so resembled salmon that I thought it was salmon. The third night, hungry after hiking, I went straight for the burger and fries, which were also excellent. None of this was cheap, but I allowed myself a glass of wine (or a beer) each night, and I do have to say, considering that it was Norway and that the food was SO carefully prepared and beautifully presented, I thought it was worth the money (remember, I am a bit picky as my husband works in the restaurant business himself!!!).
So basically I would get up each morning, have a hearty breakfast, not really bother with lunch, have an apero on my balcony after hiking, and then eat early at the bar for dinner. That worked well for me.
The second and third days, I did a couple of hikes up above the hotel. I got the basic map at Balestrand Adventures (the tourist information office being closed), and the hotel receptionist assured me that the trails were well marked (which was indeed that case) and that I wouldn’t need to buy another, specialized map.
The first day I did an “easy” trail and the second day a “moderate” trail. The funny thing is that it took 30 minutes or more (and an ascent of about 80 meters) just to get to the starting point, but oh well. I had gorgeous views and met grazing sheep up close on both hikes. And the second day, there was a kind of hike-race, so I saw these people RUNNING up the trail I had just huffed and puffed my way up (luckily I started just enough ahead of them that I was enjoying a rest at a view point as they passed). A local journalist there to cover the race even interviewed me and took my picture - I wonder if he ended up using it!
I enjoyed Balestrand very much and didn’t drive myself crazy trying to do things. I would have liked to have taken one of the rib boat outings, but preferred hiking. I loved the hotel and the town. Two big thumbs up.