Continued from Part 2
Day 7 (Flåm > Bergen > Oslo >)
A long day.
We woke up at 4.30am in order to be in time for the departure of the ferry at 6.30am. The sun hadn't yet risen above the mountains and all was quiet as we took down the tent.
The boat left promptly, we were three of only about eight passengers from Flåm in the small but comfortable vessel. We docked at various small villages en route and picked up passengers, before an exciting 'mid-fjord' transfer on to the main express boat to Bergen.
The scenery was very pleasant especially out on deck in the morning sunlight, although the fjords weren't quite as dramatic as I had perhaps expected. When you were sailing down the fjords themselves it was difficult to appreciate their scale.
As we emerged from the Sognefjord and turned south along the coast, the landscape changed to a mass of skerries and islands, which we weaved our way through.
We finally arrived in Bergen, where for once it wasn't raining, and booked our reservations on to Oslo and Trondheim.
After lunch (Burger King - oh well) we caught the train the Oslo, the Bergen-Myrdal part of which we were now traversing for the third time!
This time there was a chance to appreciate some of the scenery - snow-topped mountains, lakes, forests and rivers - in the daylight. The journey did seem very long and the train was delayed for some time because of problems with its brakes (not very encouraging!)
The train arrived at Oslo S(peedy changeover) 28 minutes late which still left us half an hour to transfer to the Trondheim train, where I am now. Hopefully some 'Z's will be more forthcoming tonight.
Day 8 (>Trondheim)
Last night's night train passed with less incident and more sleep than the previous one, so we were less tires than we had perhaps expected when we arrived at Trondheim at 7.30am. Next came the problem of accommodation. Richard zoomed off to find the Youth Hostel while Andrew and I waited ... and waited ... he eventually returned having discovered in an hour and a half that the cost of the hostel was 170kr. We already knew this from the Rough Guide.
While Richard had been out gallivanting we had been reading up on the InterRail Centre, another hostel which sounded pretty good at 115kr/night. We headed across town and eventually reached the building. To our dismay we read a notice "The InterRail Centre is shut for four days during the festival. We suggest you go on to the hostel at Bodø. Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200" (OK, I made the last bit up.) Not being particularly anxious to take another ten-hour train ride, we decided to take the bus to Sandmoen Camping on the edge of the city via bus 46.
The campsite had free showers and a shop that opened on Sundays. This was sufficient to convince us that we had found a good place to camp.
We went to explore the local area, which consisted of an industrial estate.
I had a shower and investigated the possibility of watching FK Rosenborg play tomorrow, while Richard and Andrew went for a walk to Heimdal, the 'local' (3km) town. They returned bearing pasta and semolina.
The pasta passed without much incident, but Richard's semolina changed from a large floating mass of white powder, to a lumpy watery mass, to a thick gloop (partially burnt), to a consistency not far from cement, and a taste not too far away either.
I challenged Richard to eat the remainder of the pot after my portion, and after peppering the gunge with biscuits in order to improve the taste, he began to eat his way through the vomit-like concoction. He failed. I won one krone. The pot had to be washed up. Uuurrrrgggghhh.
Day 9 (Trondheim and Hell)
"You want to go to Hell?" asked the conductor on the train. Unable to resist the silly name, an excursion to Hell had been planned, mainly so we could write postcards with Hell jokes on.
It consisted of a few houses, a closed shopping centre, a Shell garage and a multi-storey car park for nearby Trondheim airport. I bought a 'Japp' bar (Norwegian Mars bar) for the devilishly high price of 16kr.
Having consumed the chocolate bar from Hell, and taken the obligatory photos in front of the railway station, we took the train back into Trondheim.
This being Sunday, not much was open. Andrew and I headed for the Domkirke cathedral, dedicated to St Olav. Inside it was rather dark but we looked around, translating a long and boring Latin inscription and inspecting the shining Norwegian Crown Jewels. We also climbed to the top of the tower for view over Trondheim.
Next we took the bus to Lerkendal Stadium to buy tickets for the table-topping clash between Rosenborg and Viking that evening. There was no queue and the ticket were 130kr each (money running very low! No banks open!)
Then it was back to the campsite for a dinner of sausages, tortellini and kiwi fruit (thankfully not all at the same time)
After dinner we took the bus back to the stadium in time for the 8.05pm kick off. We were mildly entertained by the pre-match build-up on the big screen, including a marching band, Norwegian impressionists (we think) a hilarious (?) comedian and pictures of people wearing silly hats in the crowd. We had decided to side with the 15,000 Rosenborg fans rather than the 200 or so hardened Viking supporters who had made the long journey North.
Rosenborg took an early lead and kept much of the possession throughout the game, but a dubious penalty decision on the half-hour made the score 1-1 and Rosenborg didn't convert their remaining chances. Rosenborg only appeared to have one chant: "Rooooo-seeeeeen-booooooorg (clap clap clap)" "Rooooo-seeeeeen-booooooorg (clap clap clap)" "Rooooo-seeeeeen-booooooorg (clap clap clap)" This was kept going for much of the match. The crowd were friendly enough though and there didn't seem to be much ill-feeling towards the Viking supporters.
Finally it was back to the campsite after a day in which we'd been to Hell and back.
Day 10 (Trondheim)
A full day in Trondheim began with yet anther pastry breakfast and yet another bus ride into the city. I now had hardly any money left, so the first stop was the bank to change some travellers' cheques, then to the train station to reserve our seats for tomorrow. For some reason we could only buy 'sleeper' seats despite the fact it is a day train!
Next we headed for the Army and Resistance Museum. The lower floors charted the endless squabbles and divisions between the Scandinavian nations. The more interesting top floor detailed the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II. A radio played Quisling's speech after his coup (he had the traitorous cheek to speak in incomprehensible Norwegian).
We then walked to the Old Town Bridge, where there was a good view of the old waterfront warehouses, and on up to the Kristianstad fortress, where it rained.
After this excursion, which took us past the world's only bicycle lift, we went back to Central Station. Since Andy "I hate Art" Taylor didn't want to go to the Applied Art museum, I went by myself. There was only one other person there and the museum's collection was excellent, showing the development of Scandinavian design developing through the centuries. Upstairs there was a temporary exhibition of tapestries, including my personal favourite "Even More Bureaucrats".
Since it was raining heavily on and off, I had to dash inside various shops for shelter. I also went to the public library and discovered (to Richard's later annoyance) that they had free Internet access, so I sent an email home. I also gorged myself on Norwegian strawberries from the market.
I got the bus back to the campsite where we had pork somethings for dinner. Then I besieged the washing room where the same woman used the only washing machine for four hours. Finally I got to wash and dry my clothes. And sleep.
In the evening it began to rain heavily. A stream began to run the and below the tent and our bags were soaked. We just hoped it would be dryer in the morning.
£1 = 13 krone (Norway)
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"Hell was inevitably something of a disappointment."