German History, a Storyline of Berlin

Before this big adventure started, we knew we’d have to plan some activities before we arrived in Europe. After doing some research we booked some tours with Urban Adventures. One of those tours was a Storyline of Berlin.

Urban Adventure’s Storyline of Berlin is a 4-5 hour walking tour, around the streets of Berlin. Germany has had an infamous history and Berlin has been at the heart of those historic tragedies. This tour gives, visitors an honest historical insight into the heartbreaking treatment of the people of Europe by Hitler’s Germany. It then details the subsequent division of a city after World War II ended. The tour does need a little fitness to complete the 5 hour walk. But your tour guide will control the pace of the walk depending on speed and health of their guests.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
The Reichstag is the meeting point for the start of the tour.

Our meeting point for the tour is at the large flag pole in front of the Reichstag building. Here we are greeted by our guide for the day, Sara. Sara is an Italian archaeologist with an extensive knowledge and love for Berlin. Her passion for this city is evident in how she delivers her knowledge to her guests.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
The impressive looking Brandenburg Gate

From the Reichstag, you walk the streets and visit some of Berlin’s main attractions. The Holocaust Memorial is a large eerie art display, that makes you feel trapped the deeper you walk in, with imposing walls on either side. The stunning Brandenburg gate with its horse and chariot to the Topography of Terror, which has a timeline of the horrific treatment of the innocent.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
A hauntingly eerie Holocaust Memorial
Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
A timeline of Germany’s infamous history at the Topography of Terror

Not only does the tour take in all this history, Sara also ensures that you have a couple of rest stops. A stop at a local café for some refreshments and a toilet break. Then another pause later when you visit Rausch’s, an incredible chocolate store with samples and magnificent chocolate displays.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
Here is the Brandenburg Gate made from chocolate at Rausch’s Chocolate House.

A Storyline of Berlin tour completes at Lustgarten, next to the Berlin Cathedral. Here Sara will give you advice on where to eat and what else to do with your time in Berlin.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
Looking at the Berlin Cathedral Church through the Lustgarten.

Our small group of four found the tour very interesting and well worth the cost. Sara was an excellent guide, easy to understand with a well measured delivery of her knowledge. We have no issue in recommending this excellent tour through Urban Adventures. So, book your next tour today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Urban Adventure’s Storyline of Berlin

To contact your local Urban Adventures, click here
Book a Storyline of Berlin here: www.urbanadventures.com

Price
  • Adults: € 61.00
  • Child: € 31.00

Departure time: 10:00 am

 

Book accommodation in Berlin via Booking.com

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Café Living at Le Saint-Germain, Paris

Paris has always been high on my list of places to go. I’ve watched the Tour de France religiously for the last 15 years. After seeing all the sights on television and watching them charge down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to the finish line, I’ve always thought “I’d like to go there”. Tick that bucket list box because we made it to beautiful Paris.

Le Saint-Germain Cafe
The Arc De Triomphe in the middle of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées

After a morning of exploring some of the main sights of Paris, we were all starting to get hungry. Paris has a café or restaurant just about on every corner, so deciding which one can be difficult. In the end, we made our way to Le Saint-Germain Café.

Le Saint-Germain Cafe
Notre-Dame de Paris, which is not to far from the Le Saint-Germain Cafe.

We are immediately greeted by a very friendly gentleman with a bubbly nature. Ensuring that we were staying for lunch he promptly guides us to a corner table inside next to the bar.

Le Saint-Germain Cafe
The friendly staff member was happy to pose for a photo for us.

The café has indoor and outdoor seating. Be aware that smoking is allowed in the alfresco dining area. The inside of the restaurant has comfortable seating around the bar area and an upstairs area if it gets busy.

Le Saint-Germain Cafe
The upstairs dining area, it looks quite comfortable.

The Le Saint-Germain Café has a menu board outside in different languages, so you shouldn’t have any trouble understanding what they have on offer. Make sure you add a Euro to the prices as they are slightly different from the actual menu.

The menu has a decent range of dishes available. Since it was lunch, we ordered a tomato based vegetarian pasta, a ham and cheese toasted sandwich (Croque-Monsieur), some French onion soup and a small Camembert cheese plate.

Le Saint-Germain Cafe
A large toasted Ham and cheese toasted sandwich or Croque-Monsieur.
Le Saint-Germain Cafe
The French Onion Soup, covered with a layer of bread and melted cheese.

All the meals were simple and well made. The Croque-Monsieur was beautifully made and the French Onion soup was full of flavour with a layer of bread and melted cheese on top. The pasta was simple richly flavoured, whilst the cheese plate was what we expected.

Le Saint-Germain Cafe
Tomato based vegetarian pasta dish
Le Saint-Germain Cafe
Small Camembert Cheese Plate

Overall the Le Saint-Germain is a nice, comfortable French café. The food is of decent quality and the service was also good. The price is a little higher than what we’d expect of a café, but we are in France. So, if you happen to be in France, head to the Le Saint-Germain Café for lunch and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you.

Additional Information for Le Saint Germain Café

62 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France
Ph: +33 1 45 48 99 69

Main Meal Price Range $$

Trading hours:
Monday 11am–1am
Tuesday 11am–1am
Wednesday 11am–1am
Thursday 11am–1am
Friday 11am–1am
Saturday 11am–1am
Sunday 11am–1am
Le Saint-Germain Café rating: 1-10 (1=very poor, 10 = excellent)

Decor =7
Atmosphere =7
Service =7
Price =7
Food =7

Overall = 7

Looking for a place to stay in France. Book here!

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B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette

After a three-day stay in Amsterdam we are back on a plane and travelling to Paris. Ah, Paris, the city of love! We arrive a week before the 2017 Presidential election and tensions are meant to be high. Although we haven’t noticed it as tourists. We even walked into the middle of a peaceful protest one evening, with French Police calmly directing us away from the area. Our accommodation for our time in Paris is the 2-star, B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette.

Located in the 19th arrondissement the B&B Hotel Paris Port de la Villette is a short walk from the Porte de la Villette Metro Station. Now, although we were safe walking the streets, the 19th arrondissement can be a bit intimidating to first time travellers as it is more a poorer working class area. It is a mixture of cultures with small market stalls on some streets.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The Metro in Paris is a very good public transport system

As we enter the hotel we notice the security guard overseeing the foyer area to ensure guests aren’t harassed. This is also done to stop unwanted visitors into the hotel. The foyer area has some tourist information, four vending machines, a microwave oven, some tables and a computer with internet access.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The foyer area in the B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette

A lady receives us at the reception desk and we check into a four person room. As none of us are smokers we ask to ensure we are in a non smoking room. The B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette allows smoking in their rooms, so you must stipulate if you need a non smoking room.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The reception desk of the B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette

We are given the security code for the door and make our way up to our floor. The elevators are small so we made a couple of trips due to my large backpack. The floors are an olive-green colour so they are a little dark.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The olive-green hallway of the 5th floor are a little dark.

The four person room is quite small. It has a double bed and a bunk to accommodate us. All the beds were comfortable, so no complaints. Being a small room, bag storage is limited, so you will be climbing over your bags daily. The room has a small desk near the door and a television on the wall.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The double bed in the four person room.

Each room has a separate bathroom which again is small. There is no ventilation and no hairdryer available, but the shower is quite good. No issues with hot water here. Rooms are serviced daily, with towels and bedding changed over.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
The small bathroom in the four person room

Possibly the biggest improvement would be to make the hotel a  non smoking hotel. Because even though we stipulated for a non smoking room it was evident that other rooms on our floor had smokers. Our room even had an ashtray, so I’d say smoking and non smoking rooms depends only on if you actually smoke. It does become a little overpowering for non smokers. We placed a towel on the floor across the door which helped a little.

B&B Hotel Porte de la Villette
This non-smoking room has an ashtray…That’s a bit confusing.

The hotel offers a buffet breakfast for its guests at an extra cost in their dining area in the basement. Its buffet spread is very limited and you may have to wait until their small supply of bacon and eggs is ready. My recommendation would be to try it one day, and if you are happy with the range and quality then eat there. Otherwise go somewhere else.

B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette
The breakfast buffet selection is a little limited.

Overall the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette, is what it is. This 2-star hotel, is clean and comfortable. It is in a rougher part of Paris and they do allow their guests to smoke in their rooms. I wouldn’t think it is appropriate for young families for this reason. It has potential to be a lot better than it is. The breakfast range and quality could be a bit better. The bacon was under cooked and rubbery, but this is all easily fixed. The staff are friendly and the security guard is a large imposing figure, so we felt safe.

If you are a seasoned traveller and are on a budget than this may be the place for you as the rates are reasonable. The hotel is close to public transport which is easy to use. There aren’t too many restaurants around the hotel area, so you may need to travel into the more frequented areas to find one.

Personally, I wouldn’t stay here again, only because of the smoking issue. If they are going to continue to allow smoking in their hotel than they need to work out a better way to accommodate this. By allowing their guests to smoke in their rooms increases the risk of a potential fire occurring within the building. My advice would be to stop smoking in the hotel, as you will then increase your customer market. If they don’t want to cease smoking in the hotel then a designated smoking area away from the rooms would be beneficial.

Additional Information for the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette

4 Rue Emile Reynaud, 75019 Paris, France
Ph: +33 892 70 75 50
Website: www.hotel-bb.com

To get there catch the Metro to Porte de la Villette station.

Book your stay at the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from €50 – €89 per night

Breakfast is served daily for €6.50

*Post Contains Affiliate links

Rembrandt, the Renaissance and the Rijksmuseum

King’s Day in Amsterdam is a huge celebration. Residents set up little stores in front of their houses selling whatever they can. The city of Amsterdam closes its streets and road to cars, and people flock to the canals to party. Music blares from every corner and every pub. The canal boats are full of people drinking and dancing with plenty of patriotic Dutch chanting. It is truly an amazing experience to be around the celebrations because you can’t help but get caught up in it.

Rijksmusuem
King’s Day celebrations in Amsterdam. Orange people everywhere.

After the celebrations, we needed a day to relax and be a tourist at a leisurely pace. Therefore, the next day we decided to head to the Rijksmuseum. Catching the number 5 tram from Kronenburg we are at the Rijksmuseum in approximately 30 minutes. Once you alight from the tram it’s a nice walk towards the museum and the I Amsterdam sign. This sign is very popular for tourist’s taking photos and we are no different. Stopping and posing for that perfect shot.

Rijksmusuem
The I Amsterdam sign near the Rijksmuseum. It’s very popular with tourists

On this day entry into the museum was quite quick. We did have a short line up outside the turnstile door and then another short wait to purchase tickets. Bags that are backpack size and larger must be checked in, into the cloak room. Then it’s another small line up as security view our tickets as we pass by.

The Rijksmuseum houses some of history’s greatest masterpieces, from artists such as Rembrandt, van Gogh and Vermeer. As you walk through each room and examine the artworks from the different centuries displayed, you will be amazed by the intricate and sometimes massive canvasses. Each depicting scenes from historical events or portraits of important and everyday people.

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Jan van Scorel’s Maria Magdalena

I must admit it was a thrill to walk into a large room and turn to see Rembrandt’s The Night’s Watch covering an entire wall. This wonderful painting is truly beautiful and intricate in detail. From the subjects having their own personalities and expressions, to the frills and embroidery on their uniforms.  Rembrandt has depicted this scene with the class and elegance of a master. And the crowding of spectators around this painting proves it still has its appeal.

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Rembrandt’s The Night’s Watch is such an amazing painting, the crowds surely appreciated it.

Continue through the room and you will come across some of the works by Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer’s most famous work “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” is situated in The Hague, but you can still see works like The Love Letter showing his unique subject style.

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
Johannes Vermeer’s The Love Letter

Even if you don’t know much about art, there are a few artists throughout history that you may have heard of such as Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Pollock or even Warhol. Van Gogh is one of those artists that had an intriguing story. Unsuccessfully as an artist during his life, he lived a tortured life stuck in his own mind. That torment lead to him cutting off his ear and eventually shooting himself. His ‘self-portrait in a felt hat’ is a reminder to us that genius is sometimes hidden behind different faces. A small piece of art in size, a lot like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, it still holds its fascination. The distant stare in that drawn face radiates his self-anguish.

Rijksmuseum
Van Gogh’s Self Portrait in a felt hat.

The Rijksmuseum has been a special place to see some of the classics. The museum of course has a café, a restaurant and a souvenir store in case you want to take a memento home. The museum has a lot of things to see so it will take a good day to complete. For a more comprehensive experience take the Rijksmusuem’s audio tour for a few extra Euro (€). An excellent museum, add it to your list of things to do in Amsterdam and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Rijksmuseum

Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ph. +31 (0) 6747 20 000
Website: www.rijksmuseum.nl

Price
  • Adults: € 17.50
  • Youth t / m 18 years Museumkaart, Friends of the National Museum , ICOM, Rembrandt Association, KOG, VVAK, BankGiro Lottery VIP CARD: free
  • CJP, Stadspas, EYCA: 50% of the regular ticket price
Opening hours

Every day of the year from 9 am to 5 pm. The museum is also open during the Christmas and New Year’s.

Rijksmuseum Garden, Empire Shop and Café without entrance ticket to visit from 9 am to 6 pm

Book accommodation in Amsterdam via Booking.com

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King’s Day and the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South

After our time spent in Norway we are on a plane heading for a whirl wind tour of Amsterdam. We are only here for a few days to celebrate King’s Day and to meet up with two other travel bloggers. For our accommodation stay we are at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel. From the airport, we catch a train to Amsterdam Zuid, then take the Metro to Kronenburg. It’s then a short walk to the hotel which you can see from the Kronenburg Metro Station.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The reception desk of the IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

The Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South hotel is rated as a 2.5-star hotel, but is a new, modern and at a reasonable price. The newness of the hotel is evident as soon as you walk into the foyer. On entry, you have an internet station and storage lockers to the right and a refreshment area to the left. We are warmly greeted at the reception desk and promptly checked in.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The Cool Service refreshment area. Items are available for purchase from the front desk

We are given a family room for four and take the elevator to our room. The room is approximately 15 square metres and contains three single beds and a single cupboard bed. Our two large windows present a pleasant view of the surrounding area, which is mainly residential. A television with a range of local and international channels is also located on the wall.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
Our family room, contains three single beds and the cupboard contains the fourth.
IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
View from our room in the IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

Each room has a small clean bathroom, with sufficient space to store your toiletries. The hotel supplies linen and towels for their guests use and rooms are serviced daily. Additionally, a hairdryer is available from the reception desk for a €20 deposit.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The small clean and serviced bathroom

The hotel is a 100% non-smoking hotel and has available parking facilities for its guests. It also boasts a games room with table tennis tables and various electronic games. It’s a great safe place for the children to hang out when you have finished exploring for the day.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The games room contains table tennis tables and various electronic games

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the whole hotel and they offer their guests an all you get eat breakfast buffet for €7.50 per person. This fee is payable at the front desk, when required. Unfortunately, the breakfast range is a little limited for choice, but we were able to find something suitable.

Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
A section of the breakfast area. There’s plenty of tables available.

Overall the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel is a cool modern hotel. It’s clean and has enough activities available to entertain the average family. Rooms accommodate 1-4 persons so if you have a larger family two rooms may be needed. We found it handy for public transport and was easily able to purchase tickets from the automated machines at the stations. The hotel does have some tickets available at the front desk so be sure to ask them if they can help. They have an arrangement with a local Pizza shop for room deliveries for those days you just want to stay in. Just make sure you notify them if you are going to be paying by credit card when ordering. Pizzas can be ordered using the hotel receptions phone if required.

We enjoyed our time at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel. So, book your stay today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

Prof J H Bavincklaan 1, 1183 AT Amstelveen, Netherlands
Ph:  (+31) 207154333
Website: www.accorhotels.com

To get there catch the Metro or Tram to the Kronenburg station.

Book your stay at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from €67 – €149 per night

Breakfast is served from 7:30 – 10:30 am

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Lunch at Madam Felle Bergen, Norway

Although our time in Norway has been short, we have been inspired by the sheer beauty of this country. After our Norway in a Nutshell tour we spent a few days in historic Bergen. On our day of discovery, we went for a stroll through UNESCO Heritage listed Bryggen. These old Hanseatic commercial building have served the Bryggen docks for centuries. Although fires have consumed the older structures over the years, replica buildings have replaced them to maintain the heritage. We couldn’t resist having lunch at Madam Felle, in one of the prominent buildings along the coastal strip.

Madam Felle
Madam Felle restaurant and nightclub

Since it was a balmy 6 degrees Celsius we decided to have our lunch outside in their outdoor seated area. We were greeted by the waiting staff and offered a choice of various tables. If eating outside isn’t your thing, Madam Felle also has nice seating inside.

Outdoor seating at Madam Felle. It was a sunny 6 degrees Celsius so we ate outside
Madam Felle
Inside dining area in Madam Felle

Madam Felle has a decent sized menu, with good affordable lunch time specials. At night-time, the restaurant becomes a nightclub hosting a range of live music acts. The performance schedule is attached to their main door, so have a look to see who playing over the next few months.

Madam Felle
The stage is in the corner of the room. I wonder who’s playing tonight

For lunch we ordered four dishes, a B.L.T, a beef Quesadilla, a Hamburger and a Veggie Caesar Salad with a side of oven baked potatoes.

Madam Felle
The girls posing whilst patiently waiting for their lunch

When the Beef Quesadilla arrived, we all looked at it and thought, ‘wow that’s a large serving’. Full of flavour this tortilla contains cheese, beef, special sauce and red onion. The dish is served with a salad, a salsa and sour cream. The tortilla had an unusual crunchiness, but overall excellent.

Madam Felle
The lunch time Beef Quesadilla

The Hamburger consisted of a 5.5-ounce hamburger patty in a ciabatta bread roll with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, barbecue aioli served with oven baked fries. Once again, this large burger was excellent. The hamburger patty wasn’t dried out from overcooking and the barbecue aioli was pleasant.

Madam Felle
A large Hamburger served with oven baked potatoes

The Veggie Caesar Salad topped with a homemade dressing was once again enormous and was lavished with grated Parmesan cheese and served with a half ciabatta bread slice. Cheese glorious cheese, mixed with the homemade dressing was wonderful. They also do a Chicken Caesar much the same. The oven baked potatoes were perfectly cooked through and evenly seasoned.

Madam Felle
Veggie Caesar Salad covered in cheese
Madam Felle
Oven baked potatoes from Madam Felle

Finally, the B.L.T. came and my initial thought was ‘oh, this is a lot smaller than the other dishes. I hope it will be enough?’ This traditional bacon, lettuce and tomato filled ciabatta roll was delicious and may initial fears weren’t warranted. The stacked toppings were more than enough to satisfy my hunger.

Madam Felle
B.L.T with chips/crisps

Madam Felle’s was an excellent place to have a meal. Their staff is friendly and their service is efficient. The food quality and presentation is also good. The prices are reasonable in a country known for being expensive and the serving sizes are large. So, when you’re in Bergen, head to Bryggen and have a meal at Madam Felle or watch a band. And remember to tell them, Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Madam Felle

Bryggen 43, 5003 Bergen
Ph: (+47) 5554 3058
Website: www.madamfelle.no

Main Meal Price Range NOK$110 – $335

Trading Hours
  •    Mon-Thurs 11 am – 9 pm
  •   Fri – Sat 11 am – 2 am
  •   Sun 12pm – 9 pm
Madam Felle rating: 1-10 (1=very poor, 10 = excellent)

Decor =8
Atmosphere =8
Service =8
Price =8
Food =8

Overall = 8

Knowing how the Vikings lived – The Viking Ship and Norwegian Folk Museums, Oslo

Norway offers the budding traveller a chance to experience some wonderful culture and history. From the days of Vikings, the battles and worshipping of the Norse gods, Norway has a bit for everyone. We found our time in the capital of Oslo a wee bit cold but a completely awesome experience. This was due to the people we shared our time with during the International Bookcrossing convention and the must see Viking Ship and Norwegian Folk Museums.

The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingshiphuset) which exhibits some old funeral Viking ships found throughout history. These full-sized vessels are buried once the leader of a clan dies or is killed in battle.

Museums of Norway
The preserved Gokstad on display in the Viking Ship Museum

This unique museum displays three of these funeral vessels found in Norway. The Gokstad, Oseberg and the Tune are preserved vessels carefully excavated and reconstructed within the museum. At different stages of decay, each vessel has different artefacts on show.

Museums of Norway
Sleigh artefact found in on the the Viking Ships

From pottery, textiles, weaponry and farming equipment, the Norwegian’s believed that the same things you needed to live everyday life back then was the same things you’d need in your afterlife.

Museums of Norway
Cooking pot found on one of the Viking Ships

The museum, although small offers us a good insight into ancient Norwegian life. The Viking Ship Museum has educational and fun activities for children as well as a video projection played over the vessel, the Tune which is quite good. The whole museum experience takes about an hour to complete.

Museums of Norway
Video projection over the Tune

Once you’ve finished at the Viking Ship Museum head to the larger Norwegian Folk Museum (Norsk Folkemuseum). This impressive museum highlights Norwegian life across the eras. Incredibly they have a full-sized town building from different periods. These buildings have been painstakingly moved from their original locations to the museum grounds. Some of the buildings are open to the public, so go inside and discover what it would have been like to live during those times.

Museums of Norway
Old township inside the Norwegian Folk Museum

After you’ve investigated these abodes continue around to the working barn and visit the various animals. After that head inside for a coffee or walk through the other exhibits on offer.

Museums of Norway
Goose inside the working barn

The Norwegian Folk Museum is very large so, many people do the Viking Ship museum early then spend the rest of the day in the Norwegian Folk Museum.

Museums of Norway
The Norwegian Folk Museum

We really enjoyed roaming around the village buildings and embracing The Norwegian way. So why don’t you do the same and visit the Viking Ship and Norwegian Folk Museums and them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Viking Ship Museum

Huk Aveny 35, 0287 Oslo, Norway
Ph. (+47) 22 13 52 80
Website: www.khm.uio.no

The Viking Ship Museum

Open daily
1 May – 30 September: 09:00-18:00
1 October – 30 April: 10:00-16:00

Prices

Adults

NOK 100

Children under 18

Free

Students/seniors

NOK 80

Season ticket, adults

NOK 400

Staff and students at the University of Oslo, refugees and asylum seekers

Free

Groups,10+ pax

Groups do not need to make a reservation in advance. Please download our contract form as pdf

NOK 50 per person

 

Additional Information for the Norwegian Folk Museum

Museumsveien 10, Bygdøy, 0287 Oslo, Norway
Ph. (+47) 22 12 37 00
Website: www.norskfolkemuseum.no

Open daily
May 15 – September 14:  Every day 10:00 – 18:00
September 15 – May 14:  Weekdays 11:00 – 15:00,  Sat and Sun 11:00 – 16:00

Fees 2017

Adults  NOK 130
Children  NOK 40
Children under 6  FREE
Family  NOK 260 (Parents/grandparents with children)
Reduced  NOK 100 (Groups over 15, retired, students)
OsloPass FREE (Run on selected Sundays, check VisitOslo website for more details)

Accommodation is available in Oslo through Booking.com

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Taking a train from Oslo to Bergen. That’s Norway in a Nutshell!

Our time in Oslo has gone by so quickly, but now it’s time to discover more of beautiful Norway. On this journey, we have experienced some things that most Australian’s would not. We became so excited when it started to snow, I’m sure the Norwegian’s thought us mad. But in our defence, it doesn’t snow in Adelaide, South Australia. After some consideration, we decided that the best way to get a good look around the Norwegian countryside was to hop on the Norway in a Nutshell tour from Oslo to Bergen.

Norway in a nutshell
Snow covered field and mountains along the Oslo to Bergen rail trip

Basically, the Norway in a Nutshell tour is an extensive train ride from Oslo to the historic township of Bergen. This is not just some ordinary train ride, it is a journey that lasts approximately 12 hours. So, you take a roundabout trip, which takes in some of Norway’s most spectacular scenery.

Norway in a nutshell
The Oslo to Myrdal train from OSLO S. The first leg of the tour

The journey starts at the Oslo Central Station (OSLO S) at around 8 am and the first leg runs between Oslo and Myrdal. This leg is the longest of the journey, lasting about 5 hours.

Norway in a nutshell
Comfortable seating on board the Oslo to Bergen train.

The seats are comfortable and the train has luggage areas, so you don’t have to worry about your luggage being in the way. The facilities are clean and the train has a children’s activity wagon to entertain the kids and a refreshment wagon to entertain the adults.

Norway in a nutshell
The fully licensed refreshment cart. There’s a decent range of drinks and hot food available.

On arrival into Myrdal we disembark off the Oslo train and board the Flåm railway. This historic railway takes an automatic guided tour through the snow-capped hills to the picturesque township of Flåm.

Norway in a nutshell
The carriage interior of the historic Myrdal to Flåm railway

The journey lasts for about an hour and has a brief stop to look at a waterfall. The area was covered in snow and the girls had a bit of a play. You will be in awe as the train comes down from the snow-capped hills and enters the luscious green valley that is Flåm. The view is incredible, and if you didn’t want to move to Norway, then this might tip you over the edge.

Norway in a nutshell
All of a sudden the snow disappears and you enter a new world

After a short stay in Flåm, a visit to buy gloves for the girls in the Mall of Norway. And a walk around the area for a good photo opportunity, we are herded on board a ferry for a 2 hour Fjord cruise. The cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen is a visual delight. The slow cruise along the Fjord allows you to easily take photos of the breathtaking scenery. I couldn’t help but stand there against the vessels bow railing and just live in the tranquil moment breathing in that cold Norwegian air. And I do mean cold air….Brrrr!

Norway in a nutshell
The tranquil peace of cruising along the Fjord. In my opinion, highlight of the trip.

Unfortunately, the Fjord cruise had to end at the quiet ferry port of Gudvangen. Here we wait for a bus to take us to the town of Voss. We load up into the bus and make the 30 minute bus ride to Voss and the final train to Bergen. The bus trip passes through some lovely countryside and the final train ride to Bergen takes about 1.5 hours.

By the time, you arrive at Bergen you’ve had a great appreciation of this beautiful country and Bergen just enhances that with its historic buildings and moored sailing vessels.

Norway in a nutshell
The historic building along the foreshore of Bergen

In conclusion, the Norway in a Nutshell tour is a terrific way to quickly discover the Norwegian landscapes and differences in weather patterns. It was amazing entering the snow-covered hills at one end and to come out into green valleys at the other. The highlight of the trip was the Fjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen. What an amazing journey! I must admit that the last two legs of the journey melded into each other as 12 hours is a long time to keep focused on. Overall the Norway in a Nutshell tour is a perfect introduction to Norway, so book your tour now and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Norway in a Nutshell tour

We booked our tickets through Fjord Tours

Fjord Tours
Website: www.norwaynutshell.com

Cost:

One way trip: 1890NOK per adult and 980NOK per child

Round Trip: 2790NOK per adult and 1420NOK per child

Book your stay in Bergen now with Booking.com

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Away at the Anker Hotel – Oslo, Norway

Once again, the love of books has prompted us to tack on a stay in Oslo to meet up with our international book club. Every year a city around the world hosts the annual Bookcrossing convention and this year happens to be our friends in Norway. I know it may sound unusual to some of you, to fly halfway around the world to talk and exchange books. However, it’s become more than that. The lifelong friendships you make, the catch up conversations, and the shared meals together are at the heart of these overseas journeys. Yet we do it in the name of books.

This year’s convention was being held at the Markus Menighetshus building in the St Hanshaugen district. Therefore, our accommodation needed to be in walking distance of the venue. After some close examination of the area we opted to stay at the Anker Hotel in nearby Storgata street. The Anker Hotel is a part of the Foundation Anker that supports students in Norway and all profits go back to those students.

Anker Hotel
A bridge over the Akerselva River, near the Anker Hotel

Located right alongside the Akerselva River the 3-star Anker Hotel has no fancy facade to make it stand out. It’s just a plain-looking building with a quick automatic turnstile entry. It’s funny how people try to time their entry into these turnstiles. Too fast and you hit the revolving door, yet go too slow and it hits you.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The front foyer lounge area in the Anker Hotel. A coffee machine and hotel computers are located in this area.

Upon entry, the reception desk which is manned 24 hours is to the right. Check-in time is from 3 pm and all passports are required to be shown so the hotel can register the names of the guests staying in the room. The reception also has safety deposit boxes available for your valuables and some tour guide information about Oslo. Check out the Visit Oslo website because they run, tourist in your own city (Turist I EGEN BY) on selected Sunday’s. These passes give the holder free access to the major tourist attractions in Oslo.

the Anker Hotel Oslo
The reception desk at the Anker Hotel

We are greeted by the friendly hotel staff and quickly checked in for the night. We are given a family room overlooking the Akerselva river on the 7th floor and head on up. The floor corridors aren’t richly decorated so there are pretty plain-looking which reflects the same styling within the room.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
Plain corridors along every floor

The room is quite large and has four comfortable single beds lined up along the wall in that dorm room style. There are a couple of chairs and a side table next to the window and a desk and chair closer to the door. A small flat screen television is mounted above the desk which plays local Norwegian channels. However, we could find some English-speaking shows when we had it on. Each bed has its own bedside lamp if you’d like to read at night. The entry foyer has an inbuilt cupboard to hang jackets on, and the door to the right is a bathroom.

The Anker Hotel Olso
The Anker Hotel’s family room can accommodate a family of five.
The Anker Hotel Oslo
Small desk and chair with the rooms television mounted on wall.

Now, the bathroom is quite small, and contains a toilet, wash basin with a small amount of space for your toiletry bags, and a shower cubicle. It is fully tiled from floor to ceiling and is your basic white colour. Although small I must say the shower is fantastic. Instant hot water, wonderful water pressure and the temperature control is excellent. There’s nothing worse than having to adjust a shower because it switches from going hot to cold. Furthermore, as an added bonus the tiled floor is perfectly heated. So, no freezing tiles and cold feet. Another pleasing aspect is that they have a hairdryer mounted to the wall and a good supply of toilet paper if you’re staying for a while.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The family room’s small bathroom, but that heated floor and water pressure were marvellous

Unfortunately, the room does not have coffee and tea making facilities in them. But they are available to be borrowed from the front desk if required. Wi-Fi is available in every room on a public network, so no password is required. Internet is a bit static and drops in and out often.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
One of the two eating areas for guests at breakfast

The Anker Hotel stay comes with a complimentary breakfast in their large dining area. The buffet style service has a broad range of quality food available and as it is all you can eat, you shouldn’t leave hungry.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
Buffet style breakfast. The perfect start before a long day of discovery.

Other facilities available at the Anker Hotel are a fully licensed bar, luggage storage, laundry service and four different meeting rooms. Wake up calls are also available as your room does not have a clock in it.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The licensed bar within the Anker Hotel. Stay up for a nightcap and mingle with other guests

In conclusion, the Anker Hotel is a clean, no frills hotel. The rooms are warm and comfortable and in my opinion the shower was perfect. At a reasonable price with breakfast included, the Anker Hotel is a good option for active families on a budget who would use the hotel as a base for their daily activities. So, book now and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Anker Hotel

Storgata 55, 0182 Oslo, Norway
Ph: (+47) 2299 7510
Website: www.anker-hotel.no

To get there from the OSLO Central station catch the 11 or 17 tram to Hausmanns Gate stop, then walk 200m towards Akerselva river.

Book your stay at the Anker Hotel now with Booking.com

Types of accommodation:

Single room: 1 persons AUD $170 -$232

Twin room: 1 -2 persons AUD $216 -$278

Double room: 1 – 2 persons AUD $216 – $278

Triple room: 1 -3 persons AUD $262 – $309

Family room: 1 – 5 persons AUD $309 – $386

Breakfast is served from 6 – 10 am Mon-Fri & 7 – 11 am Sat – Sun

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Marina Bay Sands – A touch of luxury

Singapore has always been one of our favourite layover destinations. We have been coming here on and off for the last ten years and each time we come we say, “one day we’ll stay at the Marina Bay Sands”. From the exterior, this memorable hotel looks like a boat sitting on three towers. The three towers contain the available rooms and the boat structure features the hotels romantic infinity pool with a few restaurants and bars.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Marina Bay Sands Hotel at night

As we have just commenced our extended twelve-month travel expedition, we decided to grasp the opportunity and indulge ourselves in a stay at the Marina Bay Sands. On arrival into Singapore, we didn’t head straight to the hotel because we had already organised a stay at the Betel Box Backpackers and Hostel. After our night and an 11 am checkout from Betel Box we headed back to the Paya Lebar MRT station and catch the circle line train to the Bayfront MRT station.

On our arrival to Bayfront we alight inside The Shoppes. This luxury shopping complex it situated alongside the Marina Bay Sands, and has a skating rink, gondola ride, theatre and casino.  Gamble responsibly.

Marina Bay Sands
The Shoppes at the Marina Bay Sands has an indoor gondola ride.

It’s then a short stroll through the mall before you turn into the hotel complex. Just up the escalator and to the left is the hotel porter collecting your bags to take up to your room once you have checked in. Normal check-in is at 3 pm but we headed to the check-in desk at tower 1 and was immediately greeted by Marina Bay Sands staff member Kateline. We were presented with some satisfying complimentary refreshments whilst the check-in process occurred. Kateline was extremely helpful and had us checked in straight away so we didn’t have to spend a couple of hours shopping. She was also able to organise a late checkout for us on our last day at the hotel.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Check in counter at the bottom of tower 1

Our King Deluxe room was in tower 3 on the 47th floor. Each guest is given a room key to provide access to the elevators, rooms, and swimming pool area. So don’t make the mistake of accidentally leaving one of your keys behind. Because there are no exceptions. Children must be accompanied by an adult in the pool area.

Upon entry into our room and insertion of our room key, the blinds automatically open to provide one of the most spectacular views I’ve had the privilege of seeing. Our room overlooks Gardens by the bay horticultural area, this engineered masterpiece is an incredible must see attraction.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
What an amazing view from our room of the Gardens by the bay

The room is very nice. There is of course a King-sized bed, a day sofa, desk, chest of drawers and large flat screen television containing 50+ channels. Wi-Fi is available to guests which needs to be reactivated every 24 hours, which can get painful. Fortunately, the Wi-Fi is available throughout the whole complex including the shopping mall. The room is very clean and as mentioned the view is extraordinary. Each room has an automated climate controlled air conditioner which can be adjusted to your desired temperature from the wall control. As an Eco-saver when the balcony doors are opened the air conditioner will automatically turn off, then return once doors are closed again. Additionally, each room also has a pressure sensor mini bar fridge which will automatically charges your room when an item is removed.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
King Deluxe room, spacious, clean with an incredible view!

The bathroom is pristine. With a large shower cubicle at one end of the room, a central basin with plenty of bench space and a toilet at the other end. There is no lock on the siding door, so hopefully if you are staying with another person, they know you well. Otherwise it could get a little awkward.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The King Deluxe room’s pristine bathroom nicely matches the rest of the room.

We tried to fit as much as we could in our brief stay at the hotel. Taking the elevator to the 57th floor to visit the world-famous infinity pool, the sky-deck and bar and restaurant. The pool stretches for a generous section of the roof area, consisting of three pools. Each pool has an incredible view of the Singaporean skyline. We swam and lounged around the pool for a few hours, making sure we ticked it off our bucket list.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Swimming in the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands. Ticked off Josie’s bucket list.

The sky-deck also produced some magnificent views of Singapore. Such views included the city skyline, the Singapore Flyer and the Gardens by the Bay.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The Singapore Flyer, from the sky-deck of the Marina Bay Sands

Food options at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel are exceptional. From multiple celebrity chef restaurants like Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen to your shopping centre food court. So no pressure, the choice is yours, depending on your budget.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen in The Shoppes complex

For the fitness conscious, the Banyan Tree Fitness Club is located on the 55th floor of tower two. They have a good variety of equipment to be used. So, if you want to burn off a few calories then head on up. If training isn’t your scene but you would like a spa treatment then the Banyan Tree Spa could be the place for you!

Overall the Marina Bay Sands is one of those hotels where you must stay, just to say you’ve stayed there. It is expensive, so depending on your travel budget it may not be an excellent choice. The facilities are world class and the infinity pool and spectacular views alone make it worth it. If you are into luxury and glamour then this is the hotel for you. If you are like us and want to tick it off your bucket list then book you stay today. Also, tell them Simon form Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Marina Bay Sands Hotel

10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Ph: (65) 6688 8868
Website: www.marinabaysands.com

Book your stay at Marina Bay Sands Hotel now with Booking.com

Accommodation ranges from AUD $559.00 – AUD $6153.00 per night.

*Post Contains Affiliate links

Our world is an amazing place, so go out there and enjoy it!

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