October 23, 2013
One of the perks of working for Grand Circle includes occasional travel. Not only does it make associates more passionate about discovering more of the world, but they return with valuable feedback to help us continue to maintain the quality of your travel experience.
Nicole Arsenault, one of the special associates here in Boston who helps bring you the stunning images on our website, in our catalogs, and in our videos, recently crossed Scandinavia off her bucket list on Norwegian Coastal Voyage & Lapland. Even though it was a working trip, Nicole said she returned relaxed and refreshed after a wonderful experience communing with nature when experiencing Norway’s stunning fjords and quaint villages like Bergen and Ivalo. “Going into it, you might think that the fjords are similar to each other, but each is different and unique,” she said.
What stood out most for an artist? The location was literally a photographer’s dream, as Nicole traveled during the time of the year when the sun never quite dips all the way below the horizon (called “Midnight Sun,” much like Beyle Noche, or White Nights , in Russia). She didn’t have a problem falling asleep, and the natural phenomenon made for beautiful photographs that you can look for in the coming months online and in our Norwegian Coastal Voyage mailings.
Nicole's breathtaking view from the Hurtigruten coastal ship.
One of the biggest highlights was the five-night coastal cruise on the Hurtigruten, a working ship. Nicole said she not only was afforded stunning views, but gained real insight into Norway’s delivery system and met affable vacationing families.
“I really expected it to be more industrial, but it was very nice. They knew when they built the ship that there were going to be a few decks for vacations. There were nice chairs, and bars, and live music every night. There was constant access to the bridge decks, and you could watch things being loaded and unloaded below when we made stops. The people onboard were mostly Norwegian and German families. They’re very friendly, and for them, they save up for a while to make this ‘big’ trip.”
Grand Circle photographer Nicole Arsenault fed reindeer with fellow travelers when meeting with a Sami family.
She also really enjoyed other new experiences, including sampling local foods that resembled hot dogs stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, fish at a market in Bergen, and one of Norway’s national desserts, the skillingsbolle (a type of cinnamon roll). But most of all, she said, her travels offered her food for thought. “All of these are things I’m just so glad I got to experience. It was very different from any other place I’ve ever been.”