Thursday, 5 July 2012

On the way to Bergen- Norway

We caught the train from Stockholm to Oslo mid-afternoon and settled in for a 6½ train journey. We had packed some rolls from breakfast for lunch but by the time we were hungry again  the  kiosk style bistro on the train had run out of anything worthwhile to eat, so we ended up sharing a packet of twisties and a chocolate muffin, hardly a balanced meal. Although the journey wasn’t too tiring we were glad to hear the announcement of our imminent arrival. However, we were all shuffled off our train before we actually arrived at Oslo Central and transferred to buses for an half an hour trip into the city. The one good thing about being in this part of the world in summer is that it doesn’t start getting dark until around 11.00pm, so arriving in a strange city at 10 o’clock at night it was not so arduous for finding our hotel. After settling into our room we enquired if it was possible to get any food at gone ten at night. We were pointed to the pizza place at the next corner and managed to make it 10 minutes before the kitchen closed. By the time we finally settled down it was close to midnight. I put the alarm for 6.00am as we were catching the 8.20 morning train. The journey to Bergen is quite scenic and is worth doing during the day          
I had chosen a hotel close to the station to make it easier to get to the train on time. We were up, packed, though we hadn’t really unpacked, breakfasted and gathered our belongings and proceeded to the station. I like to get to the station early as central stations in European cities are large and it often takes a little time to work out what platform your train leaves from. This is one time being cautious was definitely a good idea. I looked at all the train departure boards and our train did not appear on any of them. We wandered around for a while the minutes seemed to fast tick away. I managed to find a railway employee and showed them my ticket.
‘Go to the bus next to platform 19,’ they said. So off we go and luckily we found it without too much trouble. There were two lines of people neatly corralled behind two signs, one of them saying, ‘Bergen.’ It was all very well organized and we werequickly placed on the bus, many confirming, yes this was for Bergen.
Then we were off. We figured that it had taken us around half an hour to get into the city the previous night so perhaps it would be around the same amount of time. We watch the clock, look at the roads and we seem to be going a lot further. Not actually knowing why we are being bussed or where, we speculated maybe the bus was going to Bergen or if not where.  Down the main highway marked to Bergen, turned off here and there and then after just over an hour we went into a town through the narrow back streets and then dumped off at the station Hønefoss. There we all were like abandoned waifs. Where we were in relation to Oslo or anywhere else in Norway, we had no idea. A number of buses followed ours and dumped more unsuspecting travelers, all waiting like us for the train to Bergen to arrive.
Relieved to see the train, everyone got on quickly and now we were truly on our way. At first the scenery was fairly ordinary but as we climbed into the hills the view was more spectacular. Mountains dotted with snow, ravines, waterfalls, lakes, rivers everywhere you looked. The display in the train gave our altitude and outside temperature, reaching over 900 metres and down to 7ºC.
We arrived in Bergen around 3.00 pm and managed to find the hotel using two rather inadequate maps. Then we were off to explore the town.   

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