Cross Country: Oslo to Bergen

I am tired. I boarded the train at 6:25 am but I have been awake since four. I think I have collectively slept 14 hours since Thursday. It is now Sunday.

I took a brisk walk to the bus stop in the drizzle, dragging my mountain of a bag and carrying my backpack. I had no idea what to expect. The bus system is simple, yet I had no idea how to check on board (how embarrassing!). Anyway, I managed to get to the central train station, where EVERYTHING is in Norwegian. I thought I may understand some from my Afrikaans/German background, but it may as well have been Korean. And because it was 6am now, help stores were not available. All I wanted to do was print my ticket. Some shameful and determined moments later I managed to work the machine and I was aboard the train, too tired to be excited.

7:20 am.

IMG_4424The trees stood upright as a spear, piercing the grey sky. At their feet grass rolled out, evergreen, carpeting all corners of the landscape. The sky remained dim, and a chill clung to the air.

I have no frame of reference for this world. It’s clothed in sharp green and a cool grey. The tall coniferous trees (carnivorous too) perturb the horizon, frozen in some sort of monstrous tableaux. It looks cold and dark and I have finally found the home for a favorite word:

Corbeaux. (Blackish green).

Although the forests coating the hillside are dark, they’re not unwelcoming. Slivers of silver stripped tree trunks offer and invitation for exploration.

I can also apply another word: hillocks (small hills our mounds). The landscape could be reminiscent of Scotland. As the train meanders languidly along the dark river, I see tracks carved into the valley. My feet are itching to walk and explore.

The houses and farmlands are quaint and beautiful. The houses are a typical box shape with an A-frame roof, and come in all colors. Henrik tells me that in the past  people threw dirt on their rooves for insulation, and after a while grass would grow. When rooftops got untidy then goats were invited to snack.

I found my first fjord. The quick silvers waters are crowned by dark synlines, rising up like the spine of a fish. The clouds drag their heavy bellies over the mountain, spilling over into the landscape.


Norway is painfully beautiful in her wildness.

As the train ride continues we climbed higher up into the plateau, until the odd lumps of snow became a continues site. When the train stopped at Haugastøl we poured out onto the platform to photograph a cinematic glacier: Harangerjøkulen, the sixth largest glacier in Nowray. Parts of Star Wars Episode V was filmed there! Apparently cycling this section of the Raller Road is also popular amongst tourists and locals.

The Bergen Railway is apparently one of the worlds most beautiful. It cuts across Norway from East to West, passing through Hordaland and through Norway’s rich cultural history. It changes from soft farmlands to reach a peak of 1200m above sea level.

Bergen is like Knysna. Water trails inland and braids between the heads that peak out the water. The hills are potted with colorful wooden houses that look like they are flowering. It was beautiful sunny weather when I arrived, which is an oddity in Bergen, as it boasts the title of being the rainiest city in the world, with an average of 292 rainy days a year!

Everything about Bergen is childlike.

“It looks like a toy land,” Oda joked when she collected me from the train station. The roads are small and twisted, the houses are brightly colored and shaped to a child’s imagination, and there are playgrounds everywhere.

Our refreshing walk yesterday confirmed it.

Our short ‘walk’ to view Bergen’s architecture turned into a lovely forest exploration. The ground was soft and springy underfoot, and the air was so clear and thin that it left me wheezing in minutes. There were many beautiful trees and the forest floor was carpeted with grass and moss. Soft areas were peppered with ‘cotton pops’, and we even ventured across a bog.

We summitee the hill, and the vista was spectacular! Bergen City Centre was rolled out onto the hilly landscape on the left, and I could even spot the bright Bryggen houses from our hill. To the right it became more flat. Lumps of land lay submerged by the quiet water.

It is exceptionally still in Bergen  the only sounds that break the silence and birds or conversations between people. Otherwise there is an odd hush that falls.

As we crept along the preset floor, I realized that a troll or elf would not be out of place here at all. The late afternoon sun scattered between the trees and dappled the forest in a magical way, crowning everything with a soft halo. Then we descended at 9pm. It was still light out. But it was time for football (France vs. Switzerland- go France) and we hopped down to join the family in the couch to watch the game and lounge while indulging in fruits and cherries.


3 thoughts on “Cross Country: Oslo to Bergen

  1. The place is really beautiful especially the view from the top of the mountain!
    The blog describes it in a very wonderful way!! Am planning for my vacation in Norway already…


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