Kristin O.

Fountain in Rome

What does one do when your daughter calls you at 2am to say, “IT problems at the Heathrow airport and I’m stuck, flights cancelled, no lines moving and no phone calls going through!”? This is why you need Alison Barnes as your travel agent! Alison went above and beyond answering her phone in the middle of the night and finding a flight out for Faith Owen later in the day.THANK YOU! Faith was able to get to Rome with enough time to enjoy the sights.

Kristin O.

Christmas with Santa in Olso, Norway

Christmas in Norway

It’s the end of summer. The Halloween decorations have barely hit the stores. Why would anyone do a travel blog about Christmas NOW? Well, it’s warm. Summer is almost over. And no one wants to have to put together a last minute trip for the Christmas holiday. So, what better time to be thinking about it?

Founded in 1040, Oslo was original spelled Ânslo or Áslo. A fire destroyed large parts of the city in 1624, after which the city was rebuilt closer to Akershus Fortress. Since then, it has become home to the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, Frogner Park (the world’s largest sculpture park), and the Viking Ship Museum displaying 1000-year-old, fully intact ships. 

“But why,” you may ask, “would anyone want to go to a country that finds ⅓ of its land area north of the Arctic Circle? Isn’t that cold?” There’s a Norwegian saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” So bundle up and book yourself a new, incredibly beautiful, and fun way to spend the Christmas holiday!

Earlier in December, Oslo’s Christmas Markets are in full swing, and they are less crowded than closer to Christmas.  Winter Wonderland, one of Oslo’s Christmas fairs goes on for well over a month, and is not too far away from the Royal Palace. The fair combines delicious food and delicacies (local holiday treats like bacon chips and glogg), high-quality craft (wool slippers, hats and sweaters), a Ferris wheel, and a free public ice skating rink.

Christmas in Winterland (Jul I Vinterland) is the main Christmas market in the city. You’ll find traditional candles in windows welcoming visitors, and INCREDIBLE, hours-long sunsets thanks to the limited sunlight this time of year. It also allows for elaborate light displays, bringing an unearthly feeling to the fantastic snow sculptures. If you’re not ready for full on ice rink skating, you can also skate (or skate with just your shoes) on many of the local ponds.  And when you’re all tuckered out, find yourself some fruit with God Jul (Good Yule) messages and relax.

Take the bus to the Norsk Folkemuseum (Folk Museum) Fair and spend an entire day walking through the historic village with local foods like lefse, folk dancers and music, open fires to warm up, and artisan crafts. The candle factory, potters, silversmiths and weavers all sell their own handmade products in the Old Town, where homes decorated for Christmas showcase the holiday celebration according to old local tradition. And many of these markets actually have live reindeer to visit with! Watch out for the costumed children who are recruited to chase about, throw snowballs, make faces and make traditional mischief.

When you’re all marketed out, you should most certainly hike to the top of the opera house to see the view of the harbor. Words don’t do it justice at Christmastime.  And finally, for a true taste of the holiday in “The Land of the Midnight Sun,” join the locals and brave a sauna on a boat followed by jumping into the ice-cold bay! Whether you’re going for the markets, the sunsets, or just to relax, Endless Travel can help you plan the perfect stay, well before the holiday pressure kicks in.  So reach out today.


Further Reading:

Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? – Jan Betts
The Snow Sister – Lisa Aisato & Maja Lunde
Keep Saying Their Names – Simon Stranger
Grown-ups – Marie Aubert