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Scandinavia Tour - Part 2

Steve Kirby | Published on 9/1/2023

Scandinavia Tour - Part 2

In the August Healey Motor News, I covered the Hirst part of our Scandinavia Tour with emphasis on the European Healey Meeting. If you missed that article, it’s available in the archives on the AHASC website ( In this article I’m going to cover some of the “rest of the story” (as Paul Harvey used to say).


After departing the Healey Meet in Geiranger, Norway, we headed south, through more gorgeous alpine scenery to the fjord-side village of Flam. Along the way drivers had to decide between the Laerdal Tunnel, at 25.2 kilometers (15 miles) in length, the longest in the world or taking the “Snow Road” over the top of the mountain. While those who took the tunnel enjoyed four different light shows along the way, we who braved the mountain route enjoyed fantastic scenery and very little traffic.


After our overnight at the upscale Freitham Hotel, we were off on our relatively short drive to seaside Bergen. Our accommodations were right on the main harborside promenade, the Bryggen, where colorful old “warehouses” (now trendy shops and restaurants) line the waterfront. Plenty of fresh seafood and I think a little shopping for locally crafted gold and silver jewelry too.


The next day’s drive into the Setesdal Valley saw us transitioning from high mountain passes to more gently rolling country, but not without passing several magnificent waterfalls, including the Latefossen Double Waterfall pictured here. This area is sparsely populated with nothing larger than the occasional village, so we booked into the Hovdestoylen Hotel in the small ski-resort town of Hovden. Many people commented that it reminded them of Lake Tahoe. We had a fine dinner at the hotel and enjoyed the mountain ambiance with a few adult beverages.


The next day we continued south along the Otra River toward our destination on the far southern coast of Norway, Kristiansand. A lunch of local specialties was served at the historic Dolan Hotel. We even got a private tour at the Hasla Goldsmith shop in Valle. Lots of little shopping bags were seen being stuffed into Healey nooks and crannies as we departed.


Kristiansand is an important port linking southern Norway with Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands via passenger ferries. We were booked on the early ferry the next morning to Hirtshals, Denmark, a 2 1⁄2 hour ride. After some confusion and changes of plans, the ferry company asked us all to arrive at the terminal in a long row (of 31 cars) for check in! How we managed that feat with all the other traffic, including cars, huge trucks, buses and more I will never know. But we all made it on board and enjoyed a comfortable cruise to Denmark.


From the dock at Hirtshals, we had a relatively short drive through rolling farmland to Aarhus,  which was originally settled by the Vikings in the 800’s. It’s a lovely small city with restaurant- lined canals, great museums, and a casino in our hotel! Probably deserved more than one night,  but we needed to be off to Odense and Hans Christian Anderson country. The modern Hotel Odeon was our base for two nights as we explored Denmark’s third largest city and its surroundings. Several ventured out to one of two open air history museums while others took part in the Tinderbox Music Festival. Some visited the original Legoland, and a couple even explored Aero Island by ferry. Two nights in the same bed is a rare luxury on our tours, so several just “hung out”, did laundry, and enjoyed some outstanding take-out Shawarma! But off we must go, heading for our next “big city” stop, Copenhagen. Enroute, we spent most of the day in Roskilde, home of a most impressive Viking Ship Museum as well as Roskilde Cathedral (Denmark’s Westminster Abbey). We enjoyed guided tours of both and a handy box lunch in the park in between.


When we returned to our cars, we found we had been “discovered” by members of the Denmark Austin Healey Club who brought out their cars as well.


Quite an impromptu show in the museum parking lot! Big cities don’t usually make the cut on our Tours due to traffic and parking hassles. But for most of us this was the Hirst time in Scandinavia so Copenhagen couldn’t be missed. Fortunately, our accommodation was in the new section of the city on the northern edge, so Hinding our hotel and parking were easy. And we were only a block from a transit hub where we could catch both the subway and water ferry with ease. With daylight lasting until almost 11pm we were able to start exploring even though arriving in the late afternoon.


Copenhagen has a little bit of everything, from history and museums to architecture, harbor cruises, to great food and drink.


Far more than we could conquer in two days, but we tried. The ferry that docked near our hotel made a panoramic two-hour loop around the city albeit at a very leisurely pace. As some of our guests learned, it pays to know which direction a ferry is going before boarding.... otherwise, a 15-minute jaunt could take much longer! So much for part 2 and our time in Denmark. Next month I’ll Hinish up by covering the last leg of the tour......Sweden!