From Bergen to Oslo

The morning started with a train ride. Similar to the one we boarded for the Norway in a Nutshell Tour; however, this time, instead of disembarking in Voss to board a bus, (and then a boat, another train, and then one final train) we stayed on the original train. Our final destination was Oslo for a few days before my sister and I had to part ways; she was headed back to Michigan, and Evelyn and I to Germany. If you google "Famous Train Rides," the Bergen-Oslo line is bound to pop up. It is the highest standard gauge railway in Europe, reaching an altitude of over 1200 meters (4000 feet for our imperial system friends), before heading back down to the low lands surrounding Oslo. It was a beautiful train ride, but a long one, clocking in at around 6 hours.


That morning in Bergen was, unsurprisingly, cold and rainy. Being on the western coast of Norway means this weather is normal (so make sure you dress accordingly!). Whereas in Bergen we started at a cool 50*F, it quickly dropped to below freezing as the train made it's ascent into the mountains that run along the spine of Norway. As we climbed in altitude, we began to see snow. At first it was small, leftover piles scattered here and there. But as we got higher and higher, the piles got bigger and bigger, until they were no longer piles, but straight up snow. We stopped a few times to pick up or drop off passengers - many of them skiers trying to get a few more runs in before the end of the season. Although, since it was already May and there was still over a meter of snow on the ground, I would hazard to say the season lasts until sometime in June. My sister and I, having grown up in Michigan, love snow. I wished I had thought to bring skis with me! Or at least snow boots. 

Forgive the slight glare, I had to take it through the train window!

Our time in the mountains was short lived. We soon started coming down in altitude and the snow disappeared. Before long, we were back to near sea level. Outside, the sun had come out and the temperature had warmed considerably. 

The Bergen line then continues through farm lands and small, rural, Norwegian towns. In the absence of a rental car, this is a fantastic way to see the Norwegian country side, which is some of the most beautiful we have ever encountered. Personally, this part of the train ride was less interesting than being in the mountains, so I neglected to take pictures (although in hind sight, I wish I had). Before long, we rejoined civilization in the suburbs of Oslo before ending our journey in the Norwegian capital. The sunshine and much warmer temperatures, now over 70*F, made the snow we had seen just hours before seem a world away. 

To soak in the warmer weather that evening, we headed to a park not far from our accommodations. After spending the majority of the day sitting on a train, it was nice to stretch our legs and take in the nice weather in the evening. We headed to nearby Toyenparken. Oslo is full of parks - some are small, others, like this one, are quite large. I have to say, Oslo is one of the greenest cities I have ever visited!

Throughout the park were beautiful landscapes - some were waterfalls, others playgrounds - and nature-inspired art pieces were scattered throughout. Had Evelyn been a wee bit older, it would have been fun to let her run around and play. As it was, she slept through most of it, but Katlyn and I enjoyed the stroll through urban nature! She was less than happy to be the subject of the camera though:

The best part of Toyenparken is that it's free! There are beautiful walking paths to follow, places for kids to burn off some energy, and quiet lawns for sunbathing or picnicing. It's a nice place to take a quiet break during the day or an evening stroll around.

lilacs were in bloom when we were visiting. They are one of my favorite scents of spring!