Thursday, May 19, 2011

The World's Best Train Ride: Bergen to Oslo, Norway

From west to east across Norway's bottom-heavy configuration, starting in Bergen, ending in Oslo, is billed the finest train trip of the world. I believe it. All 7 hours of it. (click on map to enlarge)

When we first had the idea to do it, at the end of our Norway trip, we had nothing but confirmation that it was the thing to do. In fact, it would be a sin not to do it. Our 6-day Hurtigruten sea voyage ended in Bergen and we had to get back to Oslo for our flight back to Amsterdam. It was a no-brainer.

We didn't know what the weather would be like but thankfully, it did not rain at all the entire time. It wasn't always sunny, but not to worry. We were able to see!

Our MS Vesterålen ship had arrived in Bergen on Saturday afternoon at 2:30. That meant staying the night in Bergen before catching our train at 10:28 the next morning. No problem, since we visited with blogger-friend Charles and his husband, Odd.

So, first thing Sunday morning, we were packed and raring to go to the train station just 10 minutes away...taking pictures, of course, as we moseyed along.

Astrid and I are both on the same page when it comes to time: we'd both rather be waaaaay too early than even on time. It helps us calm down before we get started.
These are important things to know about each other, of course.
Once we walked into the station, we had plenty of time to get the lay of the land, look at the art, and people watch. Oh, yes, and to grab a bite to eat for breakfast!

Did I tell you how much I love trains?!
Don't worry, I set up the laptop only long enough to upload the images from the night before,
after which it was shut the rest of the trip.
Notice the outside temp of 20 °C at almost 5 p.m. I believe it was 6 °C when we started
and went down to 3 °C once we were in the snow-covered mountains.

Did you see the knitter in the collage above this one? She sat behind us,
creating this very typical Norwegian sweater. Don't you wish you knew her!
My guess is she is not a tourist but a frequent traveler on this train.

It didn't take too long before our tickets were carefully scanned and confirmed.
He was so cute and dedicated, coming through the train after every stop.
I should have asked him how long he's been doing this?

In 7 hours, we had 20 stops, including Oslo:
Arna, Dale, Voss, Myrdal, Hallingskeid, Finse, Haugasøl, Ustaoset, Geilo, Ål, Gol, Nesbyen, Flå, Hønefoss, Vikersund, Hokksund, Drammen, Asker, Lysaker, and Oslo.
Every station was unique.

At some of the stations we saw other varieties of trains,
some older than the hills, others fit for the future.

You should have seen me!
I was up and down, passing from one empty seat to another on both sides of the train to get in as much as possible. Sometimes Astrid stayed put on her side and I on the other, just so we could both take pictures of the different things we were seeing.
Thanks to Astrid for a few of her images here-n-there!

In a second I'll show you the part of Norway in the center where snow was still in abundance
and skiers were still having a heyday, even on 10 April.
But on either side of that, we saw the rivers and lakes of Norway's middle earth.

And structures of every kind....

And churches, of course!
(I doubt if one is a church but I included it anyway--2nd from the top right.)

And all kinds of Misc.

But it was the snow that blew us both away!
THAT is a LOT of it....

A paradise for skiers!
No wonder Norway wins so many Olympic medals during the winter games!

With this post I am winding down on our Norway trip, with one more to go for next week from when we visited Drøbak with blogger-friend Tor. For over a month now, Astrid and I have stayed put around home, partly for me to get these posts done before adding other photo hunts into the mix.

But all that is changing this weekend when we will visit Roden on a photo hunt with other bloggers...and the following weekend in Gent, Belgium. But more on that later. Don't want to jump the gun!


  1. And as I skier myself, I would look forward to staying there for a long while!

    Great pictures and a very interesting story!

    Kind regards,


  2. Markosy Thanks a million, Antonio, for stopping by and commenting here. I love how blogs can unite each other because of common causes or interests. How fun to meet you.

  3. I can't believe you photographed the whole train ride and made it worthwhile. I would have had my laptop out.

  4. Ted: I really didn't want to miss anything...which was the whole point of the train ride. We were not disappointed, especially when we rode through the snowy mountains. Thanks.

  5. Wow - so much change from the start of the train ride to the finish! And yes that was a lot of snow. I would have been going from side to side not to miss what I saw either! I love taking trains during the day so I can photograph!

    Oh and your trips ahead, so exciting!

  6. We envy you that train ride too, not only did you do a cruise, but a train ride too! Oh my, green of envy :-)

    You must be like we are: having the camera glued to our faces all trip long.... *giggles*

    Excellent collages, so much variety!

  7. Another great trip documented, Ginnie,
    wonderful images ... I am in love with trains, too. Y'all are a couple of very busy gals, what a life!

  8. ET: The change from beginning to end was enormous, Jen. Indeed. I'm so glad we found out about this ride because it was definitely worthwhile! Thanks.

    LC: We have no clue if we'll ever get the chance to do either again, so we did both at the same time...and are so glad we did. I do think the cameras ARE glued to our faces. HA! So fun, when I think about it. But then, that's why we met each other, because of our cameras. :)

    WS: Especially European trains, Susan! I wish America would get with it and make train riding a thing for our future. Bullet trains might help for those wide-open spaces! Anyway, we are busy gals, indeed, and love every minute of it. Just like you and Larry. :)

  9. Absolutely gorgeous, Boots. Wow!

    And you know what I love best? That the gorgeous Norwegian sweater is the colors of the houses you've shown.

  10. Oh my goodness, that is a LOT of snow! I wonder if they have floods when the spring actually arrives. Or perhaps the spring never arrives in that part of Norway???
    Marvellous journey, you certainly go on some wonderful adventures with your travelling companion. So you met Charles and Odd.... did you meet their new kitten? He's so cute (the kitten I mean!).

  11. Ruth: You and Lesley would both love the knitted articles I saw in Norway. Even the mittens are adorable. I'm so glad I took a close-up of that sweater, so I'll never forget it. I hadn't thought about how it matched the house colors. :)

    Sham: I don't know if they normally get flooding...this year has been so different for so many countries. More snow and rain everywhere. I wonder. And yes we met Charles and Odd but they did not yet have their kitten...just all the accessories. They were like two parents waiting for their first child, I kid you not! So cute.

  12. What a wonderful trip. I have been meaning on taking a train ride solely on a sightseeing basis. But I find the fare really costly.

    Thanks for showing me the passing scenery. I could just imagine you and Astrid getting your fun with drive by shooting.

  13. PC: I love trains, Maria, especially in Europe. This one in Norway was fabulous and one I highly recommend, if you're ever there. Totally worth it. I forgot to mention that we also went through what seemed like hundreds of tunnels. HA! Drive by shooting. I really like that thought.

  14. Hi Ginnie! Just my luck to come back to reading blogs when you'd posted this one - Norway is in the top 5 on my list of places to go, Fla being the birthplace of my great-grandparents. A terrific travelogue, as usual. I was pretty amazed by the amount of snow and wonder if that is typical or an unusual winter, like Canada's was.
    From a reader's perspective, you never stop traveling! You'll be entranced by Ghent, I think. I was - and would love to go back. Very neat to see how often you get together with other bloggers, too.

  15. Deborah: Welcome back! There was definitely a lot of snow during our entire trip, even in Oslo at the beginning. I'm guessing everyone had more snow than usual this winter!

    We both love traveling, of course, and since the Ghent trip is for my birthday celebration, a couple weeks early, it will be very special. We both have already seen Brugges and decided to try a new city for me. I can hardly wait.

    It's good to hear from you again. Thank you.

  16. Dear Ginnie,
    I'm really impressed by your observations - after a long trip with the Polar Express and the another 7 hours by train from Bergen to Oslo.
    And of top of that, the both of you were very awake during my timid Birthday dinner with you and Astrid.

    Excellent photo report (my Internet connection after 90 minutes has not yet showed me all you photos - grrrrr) - I've seen about half...

    We write
    Miss you both
    T and A

  17. Tor: You're a sweetheart! We were so excited about everything we saw and feel so lucky. My last post of the trip will be of Drøbak, which I hope to finish today. You were the perfect last memory of our trip to your wonderful country. Renny and Diane were the front bookend and you and Anna were the back. Tusen Takk.

    I know that my posts must be terrible to load for slower connections. :( So sorry. We miss you, too.

  18. Here I am... behind again! Started to comment on this post on Sunday (after returning from my workshop of the previous day) and somehow got sidetracked... and now there is another lovely post to view (tomorrow or the next day for that so I can savor it).

    All your collages are wonderful but as usual, I have a few favorites. :-) the snow BLEW me away too... oh my! What a wonderful collage of winter white with a few specs of color peeking through and the people to show a sense of scale... LOVE IT! The rivers and lakes collages with the colorful buildings mixed in are a couple more that are special to my eye... and I love the conductor collage with the guy mostly oblivious (?) to your picture snapping.

    As for your wanting to be at the station early rather than last minute... I totally relate! Although I have to confess that it annoys me a great deal to be told to be at the airport 3 hours prior to flying internationally only to sit and wait and wait and wait for two hours after clearing security before being able to board the flight! (oh... and I love the colors in the sweater... she's using my favorite color palette!)

  19. Victoria: You do know how to make my day with your comments...and your favorites. :) I love finding out what tickles your fancy, often the same things as mine. I know what you mean about having to wait TOO long, like at the airport, but then I usually work my Sudokus and the time just flies.

    Thank you again, as always, for making me feel...special. :)

  20. Your photographs are exquisite and I love the old train and the red barns tucked away in the country side. The sweater is beautiful, too. I knit a bit, but NOTHING like that. I would be like you trying to see both sides of the train - I've actually seat hopped on a bus before and the driver chastised me. I do like to sleep in, but when I am on vacation I am up before the sunrises in order to be OUT and photographing. This weekend I am staying at the Biltmore Inn with my oldest girl and her two friends. I am sure I will be up hours before them! :)

  21. Ah, this felt too winterish! ;) It's suppose to be 95 degrees Fahrenheit here on Monday.

  22. Margaret: Your life is every bit as exciting as mine, I do believe! Keep it up and by the time you're my age, you'll have a LOT under your belt to show for it! :) I love it. Thank you.

    Tim: HA! I know. Some of these places probably still have snow now! Unbelievable. 95 F is a bit to summerish for me, and it's still spring! I hope that doesn't bode ill for your summer months to come? Stay cool!

  23. My husband is a rail buff just like you. I can imagine the two of you comparing trains around the world.

    We took the train from Oslo to Flåm and then we took a ferry down the Sognefjord before we headed down to Bergen. Since we went in July, we did not see much snow. Instead, we saw lots of green grass looking oh so picturesque against the little red, white, and yellow farm houses. It's amazing how different the terrain looks with all that snow! You did a fantastic job capturing how much of it there was.

    I'd like to chime in about that spectacular sweater. I think she could have sold ten of them just to those who commented on this post! And it would have looked so nice under that teal jacket you were wearing that day.

  24. DB: I have always liked trains, Diana, even model trains. So, yes, your husband and I could compare them. :)

    I'm sure there's a big difference between April and July in Norway, which would be fun to see. We were delighted to see all that snow, piled up as high as the rooftops. I can't remember seeing that much snow ever!

    And yes, that sweater was something else. And she acted so ho-hum about it. Like it was nothing for her! Sigh. :)