Travelling to Norway from Britain , unless flying, is not especially easy. Sadly, the days of the Newcastle to Bergen ferries are over so the only 'non flight' option is now by train.
We left Middlesbrough on Sunday 15th June 2014 and stayed overnight in London before travelling onto Brussels the next day via the Channel Tunnel. From Brussels we used our 10 days in a month Interrail ticket for all our rail journeys.
The cheapest way to reach our next overnight stay was by inter City train to Liège, then by local train across the German border to Aachen and by a regional train to Köln (Cologne). The journey was uneventful and we had a pleasant evening meal in the Altstadt part of the city. A World Cup match was showing in all the restaurants; it was Germany against Portugal which Germany won 4:0. It was quite cool and there was some rain with a heavy shower while we were eating. We walked along by River Rhine and and noticed a river cruise ship about to leave.
On Tuesday 17th June we left Köln about 10 minutes late following some platform changes. There had been some serious weather related damage to the railways in northern Germany a few days beforehand and services were not running particularly well. However, we arrived in Hamburg on time with just over an hour before our train on to København (Copenhagen). This had come from Berlin and was very busy. After our train had run onto the Danish train ferry 'Prins Richard' at Puttgarden, we went up on deck for a calm but breezy crossing in sunny weather.
The 'Deutschland', the sister ship of the 'Prins Richard' passes on the crossing between Germany and Denmark.
Just before our arrival in København it was announced there was a train strike by the staff of the Øreseundtog company in Sweden and only one more train that day (which was operated by SJ - Swedish State Railways) would be leaving for Sweden. We went to information desk in the station and were told we should get a train to København airport and then a bus across the Øreseund bridge to Sweden and then another train. Not liking this idea, after eight hour's travelling ,Stephen went to speak to the conductor of the Stockholm train and was told the cost of tickets would be 300 Krone each but, on further questioning, he suggested speaking to the senior conductor. We did this and she agreed to sell us tickets for 150Kr - we got on the train!!
When selling us the tickets she confirmed the strike would also apply the next day for our journey from Malmø to Göteborg (Gothenburg) and gave us the times of the SJ trains that would run. On arrival in Malmø we went to buy seat reservations for the morning train. We were told the strike had been going on for about three weeks. We went to hotel - it was a very small room but new and clean. Afterwards we went to eat in an Italian restaurant and then had a short walk around this rather attractive town.
Train from Malmø to Göteborg
On Wednesday 18th June we left Malmø on time and had a pleasant journey to Gothenburg with free wifi, much to Fran's delight! We bought lunch and coffee and had a short walk around the pleasant city centre, although we remembered nothing of our first visit here six years ago.
Göteborg to Oslo train
Seats were not reserveable on the train from Göteborg to Oslo so we waited on the platform and were allowed on about 10 minutes before departure time, but it didn't get full until the outskirts of Oslo. The journey was quite interesting - the line parallels the Göta canal, which links the west and east coast of Sweden, and then through hilly and forested areas. Once in Norway the line comes down to the coast in several places, whilst the entry into Oslo is quite spectacular with extensive views across the Oslo fjord.
We stayed in pleasant hotel near the station in Oslo and ate in an Italian restaurant next to station in the former Ostbanen railway station building. In the evening we walked along the main street, Karl Johans Gate and as far as the palace ,where we saw the changing of the guard - Norwegian style with some female soldiers and not a policeman in sight. We returned to Oslo at the end of the holiday, so no photos until then.
Below are some statistics about the distance we travelled during the holiday
Journey from Middlesbrough to Oslo and return
Middlesbrough to London return 796km
London to Brussels return 746km
Brussels to Aachen return 320km
Aachen to Kõln 140km
Köln to Hamburg return 920km
Hamburg to København return 706km
København to Göteborg 353km
Göteborg to Oslo 350km
Oslo to København by ship 504 km
4835km = 3004 miles
Rail, bus and sea journeys in Norway
Note: sea journeys are approximate and are shortest distances between the ports. The Hurtigruten ships do not always do this so these figures are probably underestimates.
Myrdal-Flam 40km return
Bergen – Alesund 320km
Alesund-Geiranger and return 200km
Alesund –Trondheim 291 km
Fauske- Narvik 499 km
Narvik -Tromso 250km
Tromso- Harstad- 148 km
Harstad - Svolvaer- 169 km
Svolvaer-Leknes return 136 km
Svolvaer – Trondheim 668 km
4665km = 2896 miles
Total distance travelled 9500km = 5903 miles
Anyway, our Norwegian journey starts. Click here to go the next page.