Hitching a ride to Oslo on the Bergen Railway
We’re in Oslo blog-fans! The only city in the world where you can pay $12 for a Big Mac (if you’re so inclined, which we are not), and yet pay nothing to see the original “Scream” painting by Impressionist artists Edvard Munch. We’re only here for a couple of days, but plan to see as much of Oslo as we can in that time. We’ve checked in, unpacked and have just been enjoying the view from our room. Here, check it out:
Not a bad view to wake up to hey? Unfortunately we haven’t had time to check out any more of Oslo as we spent most of our day on a train. We rode the Bergensbanen (translation = Bergen Railway) today! This 500km stretch of rail is considered one of the world’s most scenic train rides and given we just love epic scenery so much, we thought it would be the best way to get to Oslo! It took us almost 7 hours in total to get to Oslo, but the brochures don’t lie, the Bergensbanen really is extraordinary. See if you agree…
The Bergensbanen climbs rapidly from Bergen, up the steep mountainsides of the Hardangervidda Plateau, Europe’s highest mountain plateau (1,250m elevation). The only township on the plateau is Finse, which, as you can see on the map below, is about a third of the way along the journey. Most of the plateau is national park, with the landscape dominated by barren, treeless moors, mountains, lakes and rivers. The highest peak within the park is Mt Harteigen (1,690m), which we got to see form the train. We also got to see glimpses of the Hardangerjøkulen glacier, one of Norway’s 1,600 glaciers.
Once we’d crossed the Hardangervidda Plateau the scenery became far greener, forested and just generally “tamer”. There were progressively more and more farms, villages and towns, until we finally hit the outskirts of Oslo. It was very pretty scenery, and even though it was a cloudy day, we could still see why the Bergensbanen is referred to as one of the world’s most scenic train rides. Norway in general is one epic bit of scenery after another!
It was well worth the time and money we’ve spent in Norway to see so much of this magnificent country. Even just the week or so we’ve had here so far has left us feeling awed and conscious of small human beings really are. The mountains and fjords of Norway have been here for millennia and they will undoubtedly outlive us all. There is an incredible sense of majesty in what we’ve seen here and it has been quite a humbling experience overall.