Diary of a Guidebook Writer: Moon Norway cover features Geirangerfjord

David Nikel
Trondheim, Norway

This beautiful shot of the Geiranger­fjord taken from the Flydalsjuvet viewpoint above the town of Geiranger shall adorn the cover of my Moon Norway guidebook, due for release on September 5.

Choosing the cover photo
When I signed the contract, I had no idea if I’d get a say in the cover or not, so I was pleasantly surprised when the photo editor sent me eight photos for consideration.

Needless to say, I had strong feelings on the photos. Two I loved, two were okay, and four I didn’t think were suitable at all. But as I’m not the target audience for the guidebook, I decided to ask around.

Although Moon handbooks are available worldwide, the biggest readership by far is in the USA, so I decided to present the covers to some American friends at the TBEX travel writing conference in Stockholm last year. Thankfully, almost everyone agreed!

My preference was for this Geiranger photo, along with a simply gorgeous shot of the Lofoten Islands in the indigo light of winter with a fresh dusting of snow on the mountains. Taking my input into account, the publisher decided to go with the Geiranger shot.

While Lofoten is an outstanding destination to visit (see last month’s column on Svolvær for more!), Visit Norway research shows that the fjords are the primary reason people want to go to Norway. I also think that the person sitting on the rock emphasizes that the book is about independent travel. I’m in no doubt that this cover will leap off the bookshelves!

Camping on the fjord
It was only when starting to write this column I realized I’ve stayed in a cabin that’s visible on the book cover. I’m confident that not many guidebook authors can say the same! Underneath the title is a strip of four cabins on the shoreline.

The Fjorden Campinghytter campground is a 30-minute walk from Geiranger and is therefore completely lacking in the crowds that fill the tiny town whenever a cruise ship (or in our case, two!) are in port. The silence combined with the view back across the water to the town, which is often bathed in a beautiful late evening golden light, must be one of the best experiences in all of fjord Norway.

Exploring the area
While the town is tiny, the immediate area offers much to tempt travelers to stick around a little longer. If the skies are clear, take the winding mountain road up to Dals­nibba, a lookout almost 5,000 feet above the fjord. Despite its altitude, it takes just 35 minutes to reach from fjord level.

Closer to Geiranger, the Flydalsjuvet viewpoint featured on the cover is a nice stop on the way up to Dalsnibba. A fenced path leads visitors from the small parking lot to the viewing platforms and an art installation known as Queen Sonja’s chair.

Back in the town, the Norwegian Fjord Center is a must for those interested in the heritage of the area. The indoor museum documents what life was like living by the Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord—collectively known as the “West Norwegian Fjord” on the UNESCO World Heritage list—and why so many people chose to leave for America in the 19th century.

The town is also the starting point for one of Norway’s National Tourist Routes. Allow plenty of time for the Geiranger-Trollstigen drive. The stunning view of the Geirangerfjord from the Ørnesvingen bend, lush valleys, dramatic mountains, a ferry crossing, the Gudbrandsjuvet gorge, the Juvet Landscape Hotel, and finally the eleven hairpin bends of Trollstigen together make up some of Norway’s most iconic scenery.

Reserving your copy
Finally, if you’ve enjoyed following my columns over the last year or so, I have some great news. I’m delighted to announce that Moon Norway is now available for pre-order from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore. But I’m not about to leave you, my dear Norwegian-American readers! Next month, I’ll talk about the launch process and what I’ve learned from the two-year process of writing a guidebook on Norway.

David Nikel is a freelance writer based in Norway. He runs the popular www.lifeinnorway.net blog and is the author of the upcoming MOON Norway guidebook.

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 25, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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David Nikel

David Nikel is a freelance writer based in Norway. He runs the popular www.lifeinnorway.net website and podcast and is the author of the Moon Norway guidebook, available now in all good bookstores.