This page is under construction. Many more photos and some more text to be added ASAP.
A business trip to Oslo just around the longest day of the year offered the perfect opportunity
to experience a couple of polar days by going 'merely' some 1000 km north.
Since it turned out that nobody would join me for this excursion, I gave up the idea of doing the trip by car.
Instead I made good use of a relatively new and inexpensive offer:
the InterRail One Country Pass for Norway.
With some careful planning, I could touch basically all parts of Norway that
are accessible by train within just the six days and seven nights
that I had at my disposal, taking advantage of the quite efficient net of long-distance (mostly) night trains:
|Date ||Departure ||Mode of transport ||Arrival
|19.6. ||09:05 MUC ||flight SK 3678 ||11:10 Gardermoen Oslo Lufthavn (OSL)
|22./23.6. ||22:47 Oslo S ||night train ||07:18 Stavanger (S=Sentralsatsjon: central station)
|23./24.6. ||22:20 Stavanger ||night train ||06:40 Drammen
|24.6. ||07:12 Drammen ||train ||11:41 Myrdal
|24.6. ||17:53 Voss ||train ||19:05 Bergen
|24./25.6. ||22:58 Bergen ||night train ||06:26 Oslo S
|25.6. ||08:07 Oslo S ||train ||14:45 Trondheim
|25./26.6. ||23:35 Trondheim ||night train ||09:13 Bodø
|26.6. ||10:15 Bodø ||ferry ||13:30 Moskenes (on Lofoten)
|28.6. ||06:30 Svolvær ||express boat ||10:00 Bodø (back from Lofoten)
|28.6. ||12:15 Bodø ||train ||22:10 Trondheim
|28/29.6. ||23:05 Trondheim ||night train ||06:06 OSL
|29.6. ||07:10 OSL ||flight SK 1463 ||08:20 Copenhagen (CPH)
BTW, for Norwegian long-distance trains and in particular night trains, reservation is mandatory,
but usually can be done on short notice at a train station as the trains are rarely fully booked.
Most of the "Komfort" class seats and all the night train seats have a power plug.
In some trains there is even free Internet access via wifi; one just needs to register (giving any 8-digit number as 'phone number').
There is one critical factor that is nearly impossible to plan with, in particular in Norway: weather.
In summer, one may be lucky to have a relatively stable and warm period with clear skies,
or may be unlucky to have an awfully rainy time with very low-hanging clouds, or most likely: a mixture of both.
In may case, weather was not perfect - but better than forecasted - in Oslo,
unpleasantly cloudy and slightly rainy in the south, west, and middle of the country,
and - thanks goodness - mostly sunny for the most scenic area: the Lofoten islands above the Arctic circle.
Oslo is a pleasant, not too large and pretty green city. What I liked most there is - of course - the Vigeland Park,
but also the Fram museum and the pedestrian area stretching from the king's castle to the central train station.
When I arrived in Stavanger, it was raining, so I waited at the boring train station
until the rain stopped at noon, when I still had enough time for the excursion to climb the famous
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock):
(More information how to get there may be found here
Going fast, I took about an hour for both the way up and down. Views from the top were very limited due to clouds.
After return to Stavanger, rather than doing a photo stroll in the city center,
I made good use of the free (though rather slow) wireless Internet access
kindly offered at the Tide ferry terminal (and on their ferries as well).
|12:30 Stavanger || ferry+bus || 13:35 Preikestolhytta
|16:45 Preikestolhytta || bus+ferry || 17:50 Stavanger
The train ride from Oslo to Bergen is known for the very spectacular landscape it traverses,
including the Hardangervidda, which is the largest highlands of Europe, and many tunnels near the shore.
A propos tunnels: as one of the bus drivers put it: Norway is beautiful also from the inside ;-)
I was lucky as a couple of days before the Bergen line was closed after one of the many wodden snow shelters had caught fire,
causing also a train set to burn out entirely, but not before all its passengers had been able to leave safely.
A nealy unavoidable thing for a tourist to do in Norway is the classical
Norway in a Nutshell' tour including the Flåm railway,
a boat trip along the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord (which both are sections of the Sognefjord, the world's largest),
and a bus ride featuring a surprisingly spectacular section along a pretty steep and winding road:
After getting to Bergen (using a regular train),
I had reasonable weather to explore the very scenic harbor area on foot and
to enjoy - together with an elder German whom I had got to know on the way to Norway -
the grand views from Fløyen, which is the hill right to the Northeast of the city center.
|12:11 Myrdal ||Flåm railway ||13:05 Flåm
|13:20 Flåm ||boat ||15:30 Gudvangen
|15:40 Gudvangen ||bus ||16:55 Voss
The only mistake in my trip planning was to spend almost nine hours in Trondheim.
Sightseeing there was very dull - even the famous cathedral turned out to be
rather disappointing (and it's hard to understand why they forbid to take photos inside,
even without flash, since the interior is so dark than one can barely see anything after all).
On the bright side, public toilets at the train station (as opposed to at the bus station next door) were free of charge ;-)
It would certainly have been more interesting to have a stop a bit more to the South (e.g. in Dombås, from 12:07 to 20:07)
where the train line passes Jutunheimen, Norway's highest mountain range.
The islands of Lofoten were both literally and figuratively the highlight of my trip,
where I was able to spend two polar days with midnight sun (while the first of them
would actually be better described as 'midnight clouds', but still worth staying up late).
I was glad that I did not bother spending more time in Bodø than necessary.
On the way up I spent the hour I had there rushing around with my heavy backpack
desperately trying to find a place to rent a bike for getting around on the Lofoten.
Yet nobody I asked on the street had a clue if this possible after all (while
the tourist information office was closed on Sunday mornings, but presumably would not have been helpful either).
So I just locked the bulk of my luggage at the train station (with by the way is 2*30 NOK for the 48 hours I needed),
hopped on the ferry (good information on how to get to the Lofoten islands may be found
here and at the Torghatten Nord
ferry operator homepage, which links to here)
and resorted to getting around the islands hiking, hitch-hiking, and taking
(unfortunately rather infrequent) buses, which worked out surprisingly well.
I got a lift mostly by locals and by two young Swiss guys, all of which were very pleasant encounters.
My - pretty dense - itinerary from the Southeastern tip of the islands towards their center was:
|26.6. ||13:30 Moskenes ||hitch hiking ||14:00 just south of Reine, climbing Reinebringen (442 m)
| ||16:00 Reine ||by car with the Swiss ||Fredvang, Nusfjord, Haukland/Utakleiv, Unstad
|26./27.6. ||19:30 Unstad ||coastal hike, usually 3 hrs ||03:00 Eggum
|27.6. ||09:40 Eggum ||bus ||10:10 Borg, visiting the Lofotr Viking Museum
| ||13:45 Borg ||bus ||14:35 Rørvik
| ||14:40 Rørvik ||hitch hiking ||15:00 just southwest of Henningsvær, climbing Festvågtind (541 m)
|27,/28.6. ||17:00 Henningsvær ||bus ||17:25 Kabelvåg (cathedral, fish dinner, hostel)
|28.6. ||05:50 Kabelvåg ||hiking ||06:10 Svolvær
Arrival via Bodø
Reinebringen (442 m) near Reine
Beach hopping by car
Midnight hike between Unstad and Eggum
Lofotr Viking Museum
Festvågtind (541 m) near Henningsvær
Kabelvåg and Svolvær
Last modified: Tue Oct 11 22:31:18 CEST 2011