Monday, May 27, 2013

On Diversification: How to Write Reviews

Diversification is the key to being a well rounded writer. This is probably not surprising. In order to have a good grasp of any skill there must be dabbling involved. In music, for example, one must learn the blues, classical music, and jazz to truly understand the mechanics of the art. Quibbles aside, music is an art the draws on multifaceted methodology. All roads lead to Rome, but some are taken for reasons more important than others. The same is in writing.

Therefore, today I will teach you how to review. Because I am writing this now halfway around the world I will take the opportunity to review Eplet Bed and Apple, the place that my wife and I have stayed up to this point.

Reviews are not exactly executed with hard expectations and parameters but they always begin with a broad overview. Because I am reviewing a hospitality establishment I will say that Eplet is family owned and operated by Agnethe and Trond Henrik in Solvorn, Norway. It is a very small town with not much to do. Don't expect clubbing every night. This is a place to go to escape and leave one's identity far behind. There is no atmosphere of tourism or kitschy gimmicks and stands peddling souvenirs. if there are, they are vended to support establishments because they are non-profits.

After the introduction it is important to describe the quality of service, available amenities, and what is close by. People focus primarily on what may feed their exotic expectations of he region. No one is interested in your host’s uncanny abilities to maintain their international thimble collection. Eplet is located near a large settlement of three and a half thousand people where there are restaurants and things that cost an extraordinary amount of money. This is actually a good thing however, because there are so many things to do around Eplet besides buying overpriced H&M clothing from the local mall. Solvorn is located on the Lustrafjorden, the innermost  region of the Sognefjorden. The latter is the largest in the world. One can easily bike the entire Lustrafjorden leaving from Solvorn via ferry to the Urnes Farm and taking he roundtrip through Kroken, Skjolden, Lustra, and Gaupne. Its 75km, but one would be a fool not to do it. There are no such sights to behold that are greater than the Mighty Lustrafjord. Everywhere there are waterfalls in the spring, roaring in the distance. Above the sheer rock face no more than 300 meters from Eplet is the end of Mount Molden. It is a challenging though fair trek to the top. Eplet will lend bikes to all their guests for free, which are regularly maintained and serviced.

Across from Solvorn, is the Urnes Stave church. It is then oldest in Europe, dating to 1129AD. After taking the affordable tour, make certain to walk around all the roads in the immediate area. There are at least half a dozen posts with additional information shedding light on the region, and it is always a small victory when locating one. Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in continental Europe is in close proximity to Solvorn and tours are offered at least every Friday. One can either finagle with local, and affordable, public transit or take a private car. Chances are you will be able to find a ride there with the many folks that come to stay at Eplet and go on the same day. Trond details the rest of the available activities in detail on his incredibly informative website that he updates every year with relative information. Every guest receives one free bottle of Eplet apple juice complimentary with their rooms and it is so tasty and marvelous that the 25 NOK price tag soon diminishes into a sundry expense.

It is very tempting to gush or hate the place that is under scrutiny. The cold reality of life is that no place is perfect. There are pros and cons to any place no matter how wonderful. Eplet is affordable, an extreme, uncanny bargain. It is a place to be hoarded and kept away from others because of its precious nature. Because it is a hostel the reality is that Eplet is constantly in flux. One must share living spaces with a multitude of unique individuals, some agreeable, some not. There will be the inevitable conga line to the kitchen to prepare dinner in the main house. Dishes must be hand washed expediently and not heaped into piles. The rooms are charming, yet plain. It is nothing to mourn however considering that you will only be spending little time in them. Bathrooms must be shared. On the other hand, Eplet boasts a level of comfort and security unheard of in most hostels. Trond kindly supplies towels and kitchenware to use and all the doors have locks that are heavy and secure. The beds are exceedingly comfortable, warming but not cumbersome or hot.

Ultimately in the article reviewing process a commitment must be met where the variables are weighed and judged upon. reviews are not by any means comprehensive, but they must feel full and complete. Eplet therefore can be summed as so: For 550NOK per night for a double room, there is no place in Europe that boasts the comfort, affordability, and charm offered by Trond and Agnethe. The beauty of the fjords available from every room, relatively inexpensive access to local groceries, and the plethora of nature activities far outweigh any qualms to be had. Traveling is never simple, but Eplet makes it about as easy as it can be.


(Always remember to grade the establishment based on a particular rubric. People love that stuff!)


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