Just pulled the trigger on a 12-day trip in August to Norway.   Flying into Bergen and will do a side trip up to Svalbard for a few days.

Question for those who might have been there in recent years.   How is customs?   It is not an EU country and they purportedly still have strict cannabis laws.   My connecting flight is from Amsterdam which makes me more concerned.   Would only be bringing vapes and not flower.

Also, any tips on cool places on the west coast?   How are the roads for driving?   Have the Lonely Planet book and have checked out various travel forums, but any information from this collective would be appreciated.  Thanks!  

there's an east coast?

Are Canna laws newly looser in EU?

>>>>>Are Canna laws newly looser in EU?

Not necessarily, but when traveling between EU countries, the customs and immigration is much more lax if not non-existent.

Cool/Thanks. I guess it may be most prudent to practice safe passage rituals as in, say, between Oregon and Idaho - which is like two different countries as it is.

Also, from what I understand, hash is signifantly more abundant and less expensive than flower over there and vapes are currently not all the rage that they tend to be in U.S.

i mean, pull the trigger?

lol sigh

anywho: hope it is fab & your adventures are safe

Do you know Pelle, the old PZoner, Ken? He's Norwegian, living in Norway, maybe the only Norway Zoner. He's on Facebook, maybe he'd answer questions.

My experience in Scandinavia (primarily Sweden), is that they still hew to a lot of the Reefer Madness ideology, and aren't very enlightened about the issue.  I don't know the laws in Norway, but if it's similar to Sweden, then it's not really advisable to carry cannabis products through airports and customs.  I'm sure you can handle abstaining for a few days for your visit.  It's pretty much a psychological addiction anyway.  If you must, you can probably get away with some edibles.  My sister took some CBD tincture for pain relief for her hip when she visited last Fall.  She had no problem getting that through customs, and comically, shared some with our 90 year old aunt, who thought it was wonderful.


Just got here and walked right out of the airport without going through immigration or customs. Weird. Could have brought pretty much whatever.

Have a great trip Ken!  

Just got here and walked right out of the airport without going through immigration or customs. Weird. Could have brought pretty much whatever.<<<


Looking forward to photos. And have a nice trip!

Norway is not in the EU but is apart of The Schengen area.  Nothing weird about open borders within The Schengen area.


Give my condolences to Freya! 

Enjoy, Ken

>>>>Norway is not in the EU but is apart of The Schengen area. 

Apparently so.  Neither my brother nor son had to go through traditional customs/immigration either when they got in yesterday.   The Norwegian immigration enforcement surely has the airline passenger lists with passport numbers and are watching people on CCTV and will talk with people who they are interested in.  Fortunately, that wasn't any of us.  

But today we flew up to Svalbard, which is way up in the Arctic Ocean just 500 miles south of the North Pole.  Although it is considered Norwegian territory under the 1920 Svalbard Treaty, it is outside the Schengen Area and it was considered an international flight from Oslo.  Full passport checks and the security was pretty tight.   The security dude made me take out all my liquids, including all the concoctions and potions.  But as they say, you can't bust me, if you don't know what you found. 

^^^^ marked 'safe' in Norway!

Here is the beach right down from our AirBnB:


Here is the little town.  Note the avalanche wall on the lower left hand side.  Apparently, about ten houses were taken out about 10 years ago.



life without trees

Is Peat Moss used as heating?

I know in Iceland they use Geothermal energy.

>>>Is Peat Moss used as heating?

It's coal.  Nobody really lived here up here year round until the very early 20th Century when coal was discovered.   The town, Longyearbyen, has the only remaining coal power plant in Norway. 

>>>Is Peat Moss used as heating?

It's coal.  Nobody really lived up here year round until the very early 20th Century when coal was discovered.   The town, Longyearbyen, has the only remaining coal power plant in Norway. 

Switzerland is also not in the EU but is apart of The Schengen area

apart means separate

a part means together

good thing the world still needs ditch diggers

Thanks Racket. I learned some new things about all that and more.

Been there maybe 20 times for business and some vacation afterwards.  I recommend Kongsberg--depending on when you go, their Jazz festival is just fantastic, quaint river town

You always have great images.  Thanks for sharing the experiences.

But as they say, you can't bust me, if you don't know what you found<<<


Nice shots, hope you're enjoying the trip!

So digging deeper into the area's coal mining history, there are seven coal mines in the immediate Longyearbyen valley, but only one (Mine 7) is still operational. Some blew up and some just ran out of coal.   

Memorial to the miners who died mining coal in the town, including 31 people who died on January 3, 1920 during a coal dust explosion in Mine No. 1:

Mine Memorial.jpg

This afternoon, we went up and checked out Mine No. 3, which was closed in 1996 when it ran out of coal:

Svalbad Mine.jpg


The town has free community bicycles, which are big, clunky one speed cruisers.  They also say don't take them outside the "polar bear safety zone" around the settlement.  Svalbard is home to more polar bears than people and you are actually required to carry a gun if you go outside the settlement.  This evening, we rode the community bikes through the cold arctic wind and rain to the outskirts of town and edge of the polar bear safety zone.  Some of the signs were more elaborate than others:

Bear Warning II.jpg   

Bear Warning.jpg

Looks like some people are trying to actually grow crops up here.  With the midnight sun for months on end, you might just be able to pull it off, but considering the daily high temperatures hover in the mid 40fs in the summer, a greenhouse is a must: 

Polar Farm.jpg

And even in tiny ass towns in the high Arctic, people still tag buildings:

Polar Grafitti.jpg



Great images and stories, thanks! 

Would love to hear more about your experience in that coal mine tunnel and which Norwegian designer styled your outfit for that, hee hee.

Awesome to see and learn;  thank you!!

We took a boat today 30 miles up the fjord to the largely abandoned Russian mining town of Pyramiden. Before the coal mine closed in 1998, this polar outpost was a model Soviet city of 1,800 people complete with schools, concert hall, state of the art athletic center, and the world's northernmost Lenin statue. Today, there are only about 25 residents left who work as tour guides serving up shots of vodka to visitors to this well preserved high arctic ghost town.


My son had a little bit of flower so we carved a bowl from a potato and burned some behind a building.   Arguably, this was the northernmost bowl of weed smoked from a potato in the history of human civilization:

Potato Bowl.jpg  

The boat ride up and down the fjord was awesome.  Saw more fin whales than you can shake a stick at:

Fin Whales 1.JPG

Fjord Mountains.jpg

We also saw a polar bear on the shore chasing reindeer.   Totally Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom stuff.  Polar bears historically have not hunted reindeer, but with the shrinking ice sheets, they are having to adapt:

Polar Bear 1.JPG

Great stuff, Ken, and loved the bit about the "northernmost bowl of weed smoked from a potato in the history of human civilization."


What a hoot

Whoa, love this adventure! 

Thanks Ken!

Good stuff


lol new potato caboose...enjoy should be some liberty caps right about now!

Then, right after the potato incident, we found a can of spray paint...

Polar Grafitti_0.jpg

Ken did you see the aurora borealis up there?

Thanks for the travel stories.

well done on the graffiti art!

Looks like the Telstar launch site with that tube thing on the left.

Thanks for the stories and pictures Ken. Really interesting to learn about that slice of life.

>>>>Arguably, this was the northernmost bowl of weed smoked from a potato in the history of human civilization:

Ken, I'd guess there's no argument about it. Congrats on your achievement. Funny line. Check with these folks

Great photos / travelogue. Thanks. What brought you to Norway? Just curiosity? You seem to get around this ol' world. 

Fascinating.  Keep em  coming.  Thanks.

Most spectacularily awesome Ken!  

Good work Alan.

>>>did you see the aurora borealis up there? 

Up in Svalbard, there was still the midnight sun until we left on Sunday.   Supposedly, Sunday was the very last day of the longest day of the year (which lasts several months).   

Have been in mainland Norway since Sunday, when we flew into Oslo from Svalbard.  Gets dark about 9:30 on the mainland and haven't seen the aurora borealis yet.  Stayed one night in downtown Oslo and was impressed by the town.  Probably the cleanest, most orderly city I have been to in Europe.   Steeped in history, yet cosmopolitan and very modern.  The downtown core is virtually car free and just walking around you can hear an orchestra playing Carmina Burana in the park outside the royal residence, live opera at the Akershus Fortress, and thumping EDM coming from a nightclub:


Oslo II.jpg

Random FDR statue:


My son flew back to NYC on Monday, but my brother and I sticking around until Saturday, so we headed towards the western part of the country on the train to Fense, which is the highest point on the Oslo to Bergen line.   The scenery from the train going up there was great:

Oslo to Fense.jpg

Finse (aka Ice planet Hoth) is just a railroad station, a high end hotel, a hostel, and a collection of cabins, huts, and assorted outbuildings. There is a lot less snow now in late summer than when they filmed Empire Strikes Back here in 1979 right after a massive blizzard that bedeviled the film crew and delayed production. Finse is also near the Hardangerjøkulen glacier. We hiked over miles of boulder fields and glacial moraines trying to reach the glacier, but rivers of glacial melt runoff stopped us at the base. We did pass by the site of the Rebel turret cannons and defensive lines and the location where Han Solo destroyed the Imperial probe droid.


Boulder Field.jpg

Thwarted from reaching the glacier:

Alan near glaicer.jpg

Didn't see any Wampa but did encounter these creatures:


We stayed at the hostel, which is one of nicer ones I have been to.  Not a party place (most guests were middle aged and older Norwegians) but they did have a brewery in the basement (the highest brewery in Norway).   The lake is frozen in winter and was the point of advance by the AT-ATs on the Rebel lines during the Battle of Hoth:

Fense Hostel.jpg

While waiting for the train the next morning, we found a small Star Wars exhibit in the basement of the high end hotel.  They had copies of local newspaper articles about the production and a scrapbook of photos from the film shoot which helped connect the dots between the landscape and the movie scenes.

Visit Hoth.jpg

   Empire News Article.jpg



We then picked up the train again and headed west towards the fjords of western Norway.   The scenery on the way down was even better than on the way up:

Finse to Flam I.jpg


The village of Flam is at the very end of the Aurlandsfjord, which is a branch of the vast Sognefjord:


Flam is a very popular tourist spot and the only lodging available was in a Viking themed brewery/hotel shown in the lower left side of the picture above.

Here is the view from the deck outside our hotel room overlooking a beer garden:

Flam Deck.jpg

And here is a Viking themed brewery just steps from our hotel:

Beer Hall.jpg

Beer is decent enough, but Norway is expensive and the home of the $10 beers.  Thankfully, the dollar is strong these days and we are getting a relatively big bang for our buck. 

Found some WWII bunkers while messing around down by the fjord:

WWII Bunker.jpg

This morning, we rented some ebikes to go exploring the area.  Never ridden one before.  It wasn't like a moped, but a bike you pedaled with bionic like powers that allows you to go up hill with an extra umph. Pretty cool and felt bad passing traditional fit cyclists in our clunky orange rented ebikes as we checked out the sites up in the Flåmsdalen valley:

Flåmsdalen valley _0.jpg

Waterfall II.jpg

Flam Church.jpg

Waterfall III.jpg


Whose that old man coming out of that WW2 bunker. Looks like he was just informed that the war ended years ago. wink

AMAZING shots, Ken. What  a GREAT trip. OMG, those shots of Flam? Wow. But it looked scary if that river comes up too much. Thanks for sharing your journey. 

Great stuff, Ken.

Very cool, Ken. Thanks.


Got back to the US on Saturday and finally have time to post some more pics.

We rented some kayaks in Flam and paddled over to a little spit in the fjord populated by baby goats:

Baby Goats_0.jpg

After two nights in Flam, we took the fast ferry up the Sognefjord to the west coast, stopping at various little towns on the way ot pick up and drop off passengers:


Norwegian Coast.jpg

The ferry dropped us off in Bergen, Norwegian's second city on the North Sea:


While in Bergen, we paid a visit to the Fantoft Stave Church. The Norwegian Black Metal kicked off its reign of terror here in 1992 when musician Varg Vikernes burned down the 842 year-old-church. The church that stands today is a meticulous recreation built from the ashes.

Stave Church.jpg

We later took a cog train up to Mt. Fløyen overlooking the city:

Bergen 2.jpg

We wandered around for a bit up there and then hiked back to town through moss covered woods.  For a town that gets 80 inches of rain per year, we were lucky to have a rare sunny day:

Norwegian woods.jpg

As we got close to town, we heard the distinct sound of live music.  Followed the music to an old medieval fortress complex, only to find a Euro-Pop band called "Highasakite"  doing a soundcheck for a show later that evening.  The band apparently has the distinction of having an album with 92 consecutive weeks (and counting) on the Norwegian Billboard "Topp 40"  Thought they sucked.

Anyway, we had a 6:30 am flight the next day, so didn't stay out too late and missed the full concert.   

Beautiful pics and great narrative, Ken. Thanks for the ride.   And in an enlightened world, Guinness Book would recognize the effort and carve out a specialty niche to include you and your son's Macgyver moment. ;-)  

Thanks, Ken, nice taking your trip with you.

thanks ken

been to Nowhere twice such a kind place did you get to the Nobel museum or the sculpture parcs in Oslo? amazing open all night no graffiti 100 percent respect, ohh ya sure Jim Morrison's not burried there

>>>> did you get to the Nobel museum or the sculpture parcs in Oslo?

We only had one night in Oslo proper.   My brother and son went and checked out the sculpture park, but I was feeling ill that day and didn't join them.   I didn't mention it yet, but my son caught a stomach bug in Barcelona before he met up with us and was puking his guts out on the plane ride up to Svalbard.   He looked so bad when he got to the airport in Longyearbyen that a cop asked if he needed to go to the hospital and I was worried they wouldn't let him in.   My brother got it two days later and then it was my turn two days after that on the day we were in Oslo.  Felt like crap for about 12 hours, but was feeling better by nightfall and didn't get it as bad as they did.