If I am going to give you one tip on travelling to Norway, it’d be you rush to grab the window seat. Doesn’t matter then how you are travelling by plane, bus, or train, the views outside are so stunning that you don’t want to miss a thing!
Still etched in my memory are the views of Oslo fjords, as I looked down from the window of my flight, tiny cars driving on the impossible roads on strips of land cut in every shape and size by the sea water. That’s the reward you get for checking-in early, I had reached the Tallinn airport full three hours early of my flight.
From the bus station I walked to the train station where I thought I would catch some Zs before boarding my 8 o’clock train. I sat down on a bench with my head bent on my lap. The bench was empty to lie down but it wasn’t allowed. At around 11 in the night I was woken up by the railway inspector who told me that the station was closing for the night. What the … who closes a train station? Welcome to Norway!
It took me by surprise, I was counting on some rest as I didn’t want to fall sleep in the train next day. With more than 9 hours of the night to kill and nowhere to go, I had no idea what to do other than sitting duck in the bus station. I took solace in the fact that there were many other sleepyheads like me trying hard not to fall down from their seat. Among them was one Indian looking guy tapping on his iPad, looking bored. We struck up a conversation over pringles that he offered me. The guy was from Bangladesh, studying in Trondheim. Interestingly, he had a Pakistani girlfriend studying in the same university. It looked like an exteremly volatile relationship, and the fact that it still was working out made me think whether it was really the geographical borders that divided people or the divisions we have created in our minds.
I wanted to get some sleep but the guy didn’t, he suggested we should explore Oslo… all in the dead of the night! He gave me couple of options – we could either go to a nearby club or, better, watch people near the railway station square. I wanted to stay and rest but alas that was not really an option. Then, something funny happened which helped me decide. A drunk Norwegian guy came in lighting up the dull mood with his craziness. He fell to left and right as he spoke loudly in Norwegian, I remember telling him to go home but he was out of his senses.
There will be plenty of such drama outside, the guy told me laughing and off we went. We watched people for some time before it was time for me go. The train was right on time, checked my booking, it was a window seat, perfect! I was little apprehensive as I had not taken the print of the ticket from the machine at the station. But no worries, the TC checked my name in his list and gave me the ticket! Beat that!
The amazing Oslo-Bergen train journey took me through some of the most amazing vistas of Norway; you’d see almost everything – snow capped mountains, endless hill farms, typical colorful wooden houses, streams, jungles – it’s a complete package. The highpoint of the travel was quite literally the highest point of the journey, Finse.
The Oslo-Bergen train passes through 20 stations and takes about 7 hours to complete. The most famous train stations are Finse, Voss, and Myrdal.
Finse: is located at a height of 1222 meters, and you can say it is in the middle of nowhere. Top attractions are the Hardangerjøkulen glacier (notify me if you can pronounce it, I’ll personally award you a trophy), and the famous Rallarvegen, a road which is more of a cycling trek through the mountain. And did I mention the Indian guy, a regular IT guy, I met on the train? Well lucky for me as I made him my official Finse photographer who took all my Bollywood-esque pictures.
Voss: an extremely popular destination among extreme sports enthusiasts.
Myrdal: Base of the famous the Flam-Myrdal train.