The adventures of Kurt, Sarah, Ethan, Reid & Leah

Trip to Bergen: Day 1

July and August is prime-time for touring Norway so before the boys start school we decided to make a quick excursion out of Oslo. At first we envisioned the possibility making a run up north, maybe even crossing the Arctic Circle. Upon realizing it would take more than a day of train travel to reach that we opted to take a circuitous tour from Oslo to Bergen (Norway’s second largest city) and back.

The first leg of the journey is along the Oslo to Bergen railway, a 7 hour train ride that many consider one of the most scenic in the world. We boarded the train from Oslo’s central station at 10:30am Tuesday morning. Sarah made our seat reservations in the family car which featured a padded play area that the kids enjoyed having access to.

We packed up snacks, PB&Js, etc. for the trip and plenty of electronic devices to help pass the time (at least for the kids). Sarah and I couldn’t keep our eyes away from the windows and kept snapping off pictures. The scenery was really amazing.

Leaving Oslo

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.

About midway through the trip, the train climbs over the Hardangervidda, Europe’s highest mountainous plateau. The train stop at Finse, at 1,222 metres above sea level, is the highest point on the line and (dork alert) was the shooting location for all the exterior scenes of planet Hothfrom the Empire Strikes Back. Even in the middle of August there is snow on the ground at this elevation.

Finse, highest point of the journey. A.K.A. planet Hoth.

The contrasts in the landscape were quite beautiful

From Finse, the railway works it’s way back down to sea level, through more stunning landscape before arriving at Bergen. We arrived around 5:30pm, walked from the train station to our hotel, checked into our “double-room”, basically a small one bedroom apartment with kitchen and living area. The kids got the bedroom with the boys on the double bed and we made a small pallet on the floor for Leah. The living area had a fold out sofa bed for the parents. We got a dinner recommendation from the hotel clerk who suggested a place that served good portions and was moderately priced. Starving, we made our way there quickly.  To say the restaurant was eclectic is a bit of an understatement. Also nary a kid in the place except for ours which didn’t phase us considering it was the first time we have eaten out anywhere since we have arrived. Reid had a ham sandwich which amounted to thin prosciutto piled atop a toasted sourdough bread with aioli spread, Sarah and I ordered chicken curry wraps, Ethan had nachos (yes, nachos) complete with taco seasoning and Leah scrounged from everyone’s plate. Norwegians seem to like a Mexican food, or at least an “Old El Paso” take on Mexican. I have noticed most of the grocery stores have a whole section dedicated to Mexican fare. We also experienced the service (or lack thereof) we had been warned about due to the fact that Norwegian waitstaff actually receive a real salary and are not reliant on tips.

After dinner, we walked about and took in some of the sites in and around the harbor.

Bergen Train station

Bergen Train Station

An evening stroll through Bergen

 

Some of the oldest buildings are along Bergen’s harbor, hard to find a true parallel line among these structures

Where there is water, there is fun to be had

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