The Routes Europe 2022 conference in Bergen, Norway was originally scheduled for 2020 and due to covid got moved to 2021.  That also got moved and finally found it’s resting place in May 2022.  Changing flights, accommodation and getting refunds etc was quite a process but we finally made it.  Norway has always been on my bucket list as they say so I was super excited to get there at last.  Of course things are a little more tricky when traveling from South Africa and our afternoon outbound, domestic flights got changed at the last minute to the sunrise flight so that we could head out to Pretoria to the Vietnam Embassy to try get our Vietnam visas before the next conference in 3-4 weeks time.  What this all meant was our starting time at home was Friday 4:30am and arrival at our Bergen apartment on Saturday night at 11:30pm.  The joys of travel.

The trip was better than we could have expected and  created some unforgettable memories.  Here are some images from the trip and conference with comments to help explain them.  Enjoy.  This is a debrief for me from the trip and a way to digest everything that happened.   The events are manic for us and the client so we don’t often get a chance to chat and catch up but at this event we got a moment before finishing on the last day to chat and were happy with all the positive feedback we got and how happy they were with our work.  The team is always happy with our work(we know this because we keep getting asked to cover the next event and this is since 2015) but they don’t often get a moment to let us know.  A great way to end the conference. 

For a similar conference/event click on World Routes 2021 Milan


I did some research before the trip regarding the last leg of the journey as Turkish Airlines only flew to Oslo and we would need a local carrier after that. I love traveling in trains after numerous trips in Italy so I looked into this option. The trip from Oslo to Bergen was regarded as one of the most scenic in Europe so that sold me instantly. It is a 7 hour trip so we planned to get some sleep along the way. That plan went out the window(see what I did there) as the scenery went from blue skies and sunshine to thick snow in about an hour. We looked out of the window for 7 hours straight. Highly recommend this train ride. Comfortable and the scenery is breathtaking.

You loose track(ahh, I can’t help myself) of the amount of stops but this gave us time to quickly hop off and snap a few pics or grab a handful of snow.

This is what we actually came to Norway for, Routes Europe 2022. Day one is manic and starts with capturing the arrival and registration. The guests kept coming from the other direction but eventually my patience paid off and I got a few arriving in the right place for my pic.

This is where 90% of the guests came from so I tried a few different angles and backgrounds.

You are wanting to capture the registration busy and for the first 30-40minutes it was really quiet and I was getting anxious to get the right shots. Thankfully it got busier and it was easy to get the expected photos.

Back to the scenery. The rows of wooden houses reminded us of Quebec and it wasn’t hard to find plenty of small roads or alley ways that needed capturing.

There was a Ferris wheel and then this insane ride that flipped you over whilst rotating right round, forwards and backwards. Matt was keen but I feared sharing my lunch with everyone under me and definitely wasn’t’t keen on an early heart attack. Matt loved it and even managed to film it all on the GoPro.

This caught the eye of many a passerby, an old Chrysler something or other.

There’s that beautiful Ferris wheel next to the demon ride that Matt went on. The biggest problem with Norway was getting those after sunset shots when it starts getting dark. This meant staying out until 11:30-12pm each night so our standard bedtime became 1am and with sunrise around 5am it meant hardly any sleep in the dark. Our, or should I say my, biological clock never got used to it.

Another late night, early morning shot of the beautiful lake and fountain in Bergen.

On our fjord trip we saw many waterfalls and snow capped mountains. At this waterfall the water was dead calm so it lead to some amazing reflections. There was thick snow further up the mountain.

The lake just around the corner from our apartment surrounded by beautiful yellow tulips and inhabited by a bank of swans.

I was capturing some video clips of the city which made me stop to set up the tripod and as I did I saw this reflection in a nearby water feature. It worked well and captured the early evening(11-11:30pm) lights coming on.

The walk way leading down to the exhibition hall with tempting photos of Norway on the walls to make you want to turn back and head straight out the door and go exploring. Don’t think this was the intended thought process around the images though.

Lodz Airport in Poland(actually pronounced Wooched) always hands out these amazing socks at the conferences. This time they were based on the Ukraine/Rusiia war and had them made in the Ukraine colours. You cannot believe the feeling when you first put your foot into one of these socks, it’s like a pair of warm angel hands massaging your foot and bringing joy to the world. Happens every time.

Do you want to know how to have a successful and busy stand at an exhibition…..offer free and delicious coffee. Guaranteed to work or I will take my next coffee without sugar.

The different painted homes made for picturesque scenes which were magnats for my lens.

This was on the return trip on the fjords. They really are spectacular and unfortunately photos don’t do them justice due to the actual size of the mountains, this pic in point as that little hill on the right looks just slightly bigger than the flag. Matt and I had to be at the front of the ferry so that we could see everything first but it came with a price, the icy cold wind. I put on a second pair of thermal socks, a shirt and two jackets as well as a beanie and it was still freezing cold. If you went to the back of the ferry and stood out of the wind you would have thought you were in the Bahamas. On the way back we went inside and drank hot chocolate and admired the view from the warmth of the cabin. Tough sailors we were.

“Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, is a reminder of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century. Many fires, the last in 1955, have ravaged the characteristic wooden houses of Bryggen. Its rebuilding has traditionally followed old patterns and methods, thus leaving its main structure preserved, which is a relic of an ancient wooden urban structure once common in Northern Europe” taken from the UNESCO website

This wasn’t me taking a bad photo after a few drinks, past fires have damaged the buildings and they really are leaning over.

A view of the some of the exhibition area on the lower level of Grieghallen Convention Centre

It is not often that you get so many CEOs all on one panel. The discussions in the Keynote Theatre are very current and extremely interesting. This is where you hear about all the challenges facing airlines and airports and how each one is trying to solve these problems and of course stay in business.

The welcome reception held in the mezzanine level of Grieghallen convention centre

One of many picturesque cobbled roads in Bergen

We took a trip up the funicular, Floibanen, to capture the views of Bergen and the surrounds and discovered the area full of goats. These fellas preferred to sit on top of the table or to nibble on your camera or backpack straps. Seems like they have tracking devices on them so if any decide to catch the funicular and go down into the city they will surely be found.

The forests in Norway are so beautiful and so plentiful. The roots and rocks etc are all covered in lush moss making it a fairytale like experience.

Skannsedammen just a short walk from the viewing site

 We waited forever for the sun to set since it is only at about 11pm. By then we were freezing cold and were ready to get back home.

Grieghallen and the venue for Routes Europe 2022

The City Pair zone where cities(not actually the cities themselves but more like representatives) meet and discuss options of promoting each other and working together to promote each other’s city.

The Charging Zone was permanently busy for whatever reason but hey it made my life easy.

The Airline Meeting Hall(there were two) was super busy. These are airline or airport representatives(mostly managers or CEOs) having brief meetings to try create new routes. Some of these people have meetings from the start of the day to the end of the day non stop. It’s unbelievable how busy they are.

This what I found so incredible on our train trip as well as here in the fjords. This little place is a little populated so not a great example but there were so many houses in the middle of nowhere that you couldn’t imagine anyone living there. Especially during winter when it’s completely snowed in. Up in the mountain areas there no roads so the only way people got to there homes were on foot or by snow mobile.

Around the city centre in Bergen. A tram passes by in a blur.

St John’s Church standing out on top of the hill.

This was at the Budapest Airport stand. This is a traditional cake in Hungary and it’s called Chimney Cake for obvious reasons. I bet you are wondering if it tasted good, well let me just say that I for some reason always walked past this stand and happened to stop each time to take in the scenery….and of course get a piece.

Although some of these people have non stop meetings all day and they are very serious business they do still have some lighter moments. The trick is to be patient and just wait for that moment.

The view towards our destination on the fjord. Stunning.

The Networking Evening was held at an old sardine factory but thankfully there was no smell of leftovers. It is now a venue with bars, cinemas, stages, restaurants, amongst the outside areas as well. The puffy jackets and coats give you an indication of the outside temperature.

This is always the most relaxed part of the event, for guests anyway. We still have to work and it ends up being a long day from starting at 8am and finishing editing by 1am. Guests have a chance to network in a casual setting and really enjoy the evening.

The hosts for next year’s Routes Europe event, Lodz airport enjoying the evening.

“Constitution Day is the national day of Norway and is an official public holiday observed on 17 May each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to as Syttende Mai” from Wikipedia. It was astonishing to see so many people as we had been there a few days and it definitely Italy wasn’t this packed.

A parade on Constitution Day.

It was incredible seeing so many men and women dressed up in traditional outfits.

Matt looking cool(it literally was cool in fact freezing) in the fjords.

The daffodils alongside the lake were beautiful.

Matt and I decided before the trip that we had to have a swim in Norway. This day was nice and sunny and we even braved putting on shorts and slops. We went exploring for a swimming area and found this amazing forest on the end of the one peninsula. The swimming area was closed but we found a nearby area that looked good, not sure if its was allowed but so what. We had no idea of the temperature of the water so we just decided to run and jump in, after all it was a bright and sunny day. We both jumped way too far out and wished we hadn’t. The water took our breath away and we scrambled for the shoreline very quickly. I braved 2 more jumps just for the drone.

On the way back from the swim we went through the university, which explained the masses of young people in the area, and saw these lovely cobbled walkaways between the houses.

The all important handover ceremony. Lodz airport receiving the Routes trophy for being next year’s host of Routes Europe. Those costumes are the originals from a famous movie that was made in the city a long time ago. Nice touch.