Place Stanislas - Fontaine de Neptune, Nancy France

Place Stanislas - Fontaine de Neptune, Nancy France

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19 July 2015

Money and The Optional Excursion Debate

I’m trying to figure out how much spending money we’ll need for Norway. Not so easy!

Norway

Since it’s a guided tour just about everything is included which helps, but we still need to cover 5 lunches and 2 dinners, the tips for the Guide and Driver, spending money for a souvenir or two and the ubiquitous Optional Excursions.

The Visit Norway Website gives me an idea of what to expect for food:

  • Main course in a budget restaurant (Chinese or pizza restaurant): NOK 100-150
  • Main course in a more upmarket restaurant: NOK 220-350
  • A bottle of beer in a bar: NOK 70-120
  • A glass of beer (varies between 0.4 and 0.5 litre) in a pub/bar: NOK 60-80
  • A bottle of wine in restaurant: From NOK 350

Next logical question: How much is a NOK?  It’s not one of those currencies that is easy to convert so I might have to make up a chart like when I went to Prague and Budapest with some key price points. The exchange is roughly: 10 CAD = 63 NOK = 7 EUR

For tips:

I don’t think I need to calculate the day we arrive and the day we leave, which means 7 full tipable days. They say 5€ per day for the Guide, and 3€ for the Driver so that will be 56€ or 495 NOK (presuming they deserve the full tip! ha!)

For food:

According to the hints above, I estimate 2000 – 2500 NOK for our 5 lunches and 2 suppers, (that’s about 300 – 400 CAD) if we do a mix of “fast” and “nice”.


The biggest expense will be the Optional Excursions.

There are 5 in total, and I am not really keen on all of them:

1- Edvard Grieg's House Nobody has described fjord scenery more beautifully than composer Edward Grieg did through his music. Visit his unique home, Troldhaugen (Troll's Hill), and experience a remarkable journey through his life and music.

This one does not tempt me AT ALL! I rather spend my time exploring the town of Bergen – it’s easily skippable!

 

2- Old Bergen and Lunch Discover Old Bergen and Bryggen with the Hansa Quarters as you criss-cross the charming narrow streets and the beautiful leaning wooden houses. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for the small shops, local artists' studios, and Julehuset (Christmas House), Norway`s famous Christmas and handicraft center. Enjoy a delightful traditional Bergen meal before your free time for shopping.

This sounds like a trap! Are they insinuating that if I don’t take this one I won’t see the site?? Plus, I really don’t need time for shopping!!!! If I bother with a souvenir, it will be a Christmas ornament and a fridge magnet – I can get those at the airport. 

I rather wander the town on our own, then find a nice place that tempts us for lunch.

 

3- Flam Railway An opportunity that should not be missed! See Norway's wildest and most magnificent mountain scenery. Ride rivers cutting through deep ravines, waterfalls, mountain farms on sheer slopes and other UNESCO World Heritage landscapes on the Flam Railway.

I am really on the fence about this one! Based on the HUGE FAIL that was the Glacier Express in Switzerland, I am extremely leery.  However, will this be the only way to see the scenery? What about the scenery we will be surrounded by by default… won’t that be nice enough? What’s the alternative? and what if it rains?

I think to be on the safe side I will have to count this one as a yes.  640 NOK.

 

4- Panoramic Oslo and Dinner Take the serpentine road through Oslo`s most fashionable residential area up to mount Holmenkollen. Enjoy the breathtaking view of Oslo and the Oslofjord before you savor a delicious dinner in a fine restaurant.

I’m in for this one. It ticks all the right boxes for me: Panoramic views + nice meal. Easy. 815 NOK.

 

5 -Treasures of Norway Admire relics from Norway's great seafaring past: 1,000-year-old ornamented Viking ships; the Fram, a 100-year-old primitive ship used for Arctic expeditions; and Thor Heyerdahl's fantastic Ra and Kon-Tiki vessels.

I’m on the fence about this one too. At first when I read it it sounded boring, but then I remembered how much we LOVED the Vasa Museum in Stockholm…. however this one seems particular expensive!!!

I’ll include it to be on the safe side, but if we don’t do it I doubt I will disappointed.  490 NOK.

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So, the grand total according too my guesstimates here is just under 5000 NOK / 800 CAD. Lord only knows if I guessed right!

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