Day 1 (Crawley > Oslo > )

The colour of snow. The taste of tears. The enormity of oceans.

The salt packet on flight SK1514 had this poem on it. It seemed an auspiciously poetic start to the holiday. We were in row 5, so we could poke the business class passengers in front, and we seemed to have a surprising amount of legroom.

The flight was excellent, reinforcing our positive Scandinavian stereotypes. There were free newspapers, eatable aeroplane food, two (!!) bread rolls and even a smooth ride. All in all, a very enjoyable flight.

We touched down at Oslo Airport. Quote of the day went to Richard who described it as 'like an airport bought from Ikea'. Certainly wood seemed to be a very popular building material.

I then assumed my official role as official talker to strange Norwegians, ascertaining we could make it to Oslo S(entral?) without paying a supplement. Half an hour later we arrived at Oslo S(aturday and everything is closed), dumped our bags at left luggage, didn't do likewise in the toilets (5 kr? They should be so lucky) and headed into town, after I had booked us on the night train to Bergen. We thus had five hours to kill.

Oslo itself was rather grey in the evening mist. We headed down Karl Johan's Gate, passing myriad Burger Kings, the Storting (parliament), the University and eventually reaching the Royal Palace.

Having decided the single guard on duty probably wouldn't attack us if we went through a gate, we went into the gardens (nice; a bit soggy).

We then headed south to the harbour and had a look at the boats (lots of Norwegian flags which look like Union Jacks), the rather ugly town hall and the eternal peace flame (not very eternal yet. It had only been lit earlier in the month!)

Storm clouds gather ...

Then it rained. Heavily.

We walked through the deserted Akerhus castle and headed back to Oslo S(hops are far too expensive) via the Domkirke cathedral, which we'd managed to miss completely earlier on.

We still had an hour to spare so we wandered round a deserted shopping centre (OK we were getting a bit desperate for things to do now), bought some excruciatingly expensive crisps and cinnamon cakes and played pontoon.

Finally our train was called so we boarded the train and headed westwards to Bergen.

2.20am: Can't get to sleep, though eyes have been shut for about two hours. Scenery is spectacular even in semi-darkness.

Day 2 (> Bergen)

A gloomy day, and not just in terms of the weather. Having got about an hour's sleep on the night train, we had to wake up (OK, stay up) at 5 in the morning so that we could be transferred to a bus at Voss. Nobody had thought to tell the bus company this however, so the buses didn't arrive for nearly an hour.

The hour-and-a-half long journey along the E16, which wound its way through tunnels and along a fjord was as scenic as the rail journey although by the time we reached Bergen we were pretty tired.

It drizzled.

The prospect of rushing round Bergen doing all the sights suddenly seemed about as appealing as the salami sandwiches we came for breakfast. We therefore set about seeking a campsite not too far from the centre (fine in theory). The woman at the Tourist Information Centre told us which bus to catch so after a two-hour wait we caught it and headed to Lone Camping (very apt).

Richard was being his usual cheerful self, consistently lifting group morale. We rejected a cabin for one night in favour of very cheap camping for two, although the wet grass and lack of Campingaz soon suggested this might have been the wrong choice.

It rained.

Nonetheless now my feet have dried and we have finally found somewhere to stay things are looking up again. Indeed my resolute cheerfulness is sending Richard into deeper fits of depression. And we've been here less than 48 hours so far.

Day 3 (Bergen)

Had a very good night's sleep. As its now Monday the supermarkets have opened so we could go into Rimi and get some breakfast (nice cakes). We then made it into Bergen on the bus and astonishingly it was not raining!

First we went to Bryggen (old houses etc) and to Bergenhus, the old fortress, with good views from the top.

Next to the fish market - not too smelly - where we bought lunch of prawn rolls which were very nice.

After lunch we ignored the funicular railway and instead walked up one of the hills over the city which had even better views.

Andrew wanted to go on an excursion to a nearby lake but the rain turned us back, so we returned to the city by funicular to save our legs.

Certainly the best day so far (even if we didn't make it to the Leprosy Museum. Perhaps because we didn't make it to the Leprosy Museum.)

Unfortunately on our return to Lone, the gas cylinder we had bought in 'Platou Sport' (Norwegian for Milletts) didn't fit either Andy's or Richard's stoves, so our frankfurters lay uneaten.

Only a bit of drizzle today and the forecast is improving. Tomorrow we are going to buy a stove to fit the gas and head to Flåm.

> Continued in Part 2


Part 1 (Days 1-3)
Part 2 (Days 4-6)
Part 3 (Days 7-10)
Part 4 (Days 11-14)
Part 5 (Days 15-17)
Part 6 (Days 18-22)
Part 7 (Days 23-26)
Part 8 (Days 27-30)

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If you have any problems with the site or spot any mistakes please email me at matt at matthewmayer dot co dot uk

"A gloomy day, and not just in terms of the weather."