Bergen, Norway: Gateway to the Fjords

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Bergen Norway Glacier Tour

Carved by glaciers grinding mountains through the millennia, Norway’s majestic fjords are located along the west coast. The city of Bergen is the jumping off point accessible via a 1-hour flight from Oslo, as well as numerous other European capitals.

Back in the day, a fleet of postal steam ships delivered the mail up and down the fjords to towns tucked in among the many hidden coves. Today, the restored boats deliver incentive winners to glaciers ribboned with deep blue crevasses.

Wiebke Zimmermann is a project manager at Scandinavian Incentives in Oslo, who just came back from a custom-designed program for 25 Swiss CEOs. It started with a 90-minute trip aboard a coastal steamer to Hardangerfjord, regarded as one of the prettiest waterways in the country with tall forests scaling up the bordering cliffs. As the group disembarked on land, they were immediately attacked by Vikings.

“I was a bit afraid it would be tacky but it worked out really well,” giggles Zimmermann. “The five men dressed as Vikings really got into their roles and the costumes were very authentic. They said, ‘If you want to stay here, you have to prove you’re a proper warrior.’” So the Vikings taught the group how to throw axes, shoot a bow and arrow, and swing a sword, before everyone sat down for a salmon, shrimp and sausage barbecue.

About 90 minutes farther into the fjord, Hardingasete is a ridiculously perfect Hansel & Gretel-style log cabin hotel designed for small conferences. After a comfy night in the cabins, the group strapped on puffy parkas, helmets, harnesses and foot crampons for the climb up the glacier. Each person is tied to a rope with a big ice pick to help them along the route, while guides lead the way around the yawning crevasses. The braver of the group then rappeled into the ice, while the rest helped grill elk and salmon for a feast on the glacier.

How’s that for a “ropes course”?

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