Flåm Valley

Oslo to Bergen

The train from Oslo to Bergen is famed for being one of the most picturesque journeys in the world. The train stops often on its way up into the mountains, picking up passengers from the outlying regions of Oslo, and then settles in for the long and beautiful haul along the granite spine to the coast. I have done the trip before, and wanted to show it to Bronwyn, as it seemed like a great way to celebrate our wedding anniversary. However, this is the electronic age, and half the passengers in our carriage closed their window shades to concentrate on their laptops instead of looking out of the window. The two guys closest to us carefully occluded half of our view by closing their blind, and then packed up their computers and went to the buffet car, possibly to drink beer and watch the scenery go by, leaving the rest of us in the dark. It took some judicious seat-hopping, and a certain amount of hanging out of the door windows, to appreciate our journey.

On the lower slopes, hay fields scattered with occasional wooden cabins were punctuated by tiny villages and towns clustered along rivers, each community widely separated from the others but always painted bright colours, usually red or yellow.

After several hours of climbing, we attained the snow-line. Here again there were scattered cabins, but between and among them was nothing but scattered and shattered rocks, with only the occasional bowl of summer snow. Presumably these places are unusable outside of the winter months. The few towns are given over to skiing, but in November they were not yet open for business, although the pistes were being mown in preparation.

Impressive melt-water waterfalls sprang from the dark granite as the train plunged through tunnel after tunnel, some bored through solid rock and others constructed from sturdy timber as a defence against avalanches. Melt-water lakes, some already re-frozen, sat amid a lunar landscape. Very beautiful.

Finally we arrived at our destination, Myrdal, at the top of the world, where the famous Flåmsbana train waited to take us down to sea level. Privately run, this is the steepest non-cog train in the world, dropping 864 metres in 20 kilometres of beautiful switchbacks.

The genial conductor pointed out some of the finer views, and suggested that if we moved to the disabled compartment, there was a window that could be opened for a better view without exposing the other passengers to the 6 degrees outside. As we dropped into the first incline, we caught a glimpse of the Rallarvega, the mountain trail from Myrdal to Flåm which we intended to walk later in the week. About half way down the valley, the train stopped for a few minutes so that we could get out and admire the thundering Kjosfossen waterfall.

As the track flattened out into the valley above the fjord, we descended into cloud, and when we emerged from the bottom it was dusk. The tiny but beautifully formed town of Flåm spread out before us, and we stepped out of the train onto the quayside.

Eating in Flåm

We moved into a lovely little apartment overlooking the fjord. We’d felt lucky to get the apartment at all because both of Flåm’s hotels had said that they were full, only their most expensive suites were available, but in the event it turned out that they were actually empty and running on skeleton staff for the off-season. It was the same story with the restaurants. The receptionist at the Fretheim needed to see our reservation, so we tried the other restaurant in town. There was nobody there until we tried the kitchen where we found a surprised waiter chatting to his girlfriend, but we dined very pleasantly on catfish in black butter sauce. On another evening we made a reservation at the Fretheim, to find of course that we were the only diners, although the salmon tartare and venison in red wine were delicious. Both restaurants were operating on a two-dish menu which would not change for the off-season, so we were doubly glad that we had a fully equipped kitchen in the apartment.

A cruise down Naeroyfjord

One morning, we took the local bus to Gudvangen, involving a 5km tunnel to the top of the pass and then an 11km tunnel back down to sea level, in order to catch the ferry back to Flåm. The point of this was to see the Naeroyfjord, designated a World Heritage Site because of the unspoiled beauty of its fjord terrain. We were very lucky that the sun had boiled off the cloud layer and although it was very cold, we sailed under a clear blue sky. The scenery was breathtaking, not least because of the crystal clear reflections of the mountains in the water, disturbed into surreal shapes by the waves of our passage.

Hiking from Myrdal to Flåm

One morning we took the Flåmsbana back up to Myrdal, so that we could walk back down again. There is a trail, the Rallarvega, which was originally built by the navvies who were building the railway, but which is now mainly used as a precipitous mountain-bike trail. Years ago, while back-packing in this area, I had hiked down this trail and still remembered the experience with fondness and awe, so I was keen to introduce Bronwyn to the experience.

The views are fantastic, and the sheer scale of the vertical cliff faces that tower above is enough to make you feel utterly insignificant and so very privileged to be there, crawling like an ant down the face of the glacial valley.

At the bottom of the gravel track, the Rallarvega becomes a formed road and winds along the valley floor. Occasional farms dot the landscape, but at all times the heart-breakingly sheer mountains tower above, punctuated by endless waterfalls. By each fall, some early settler has evidently built a house to take advantage not only of the water, but also of the view.

After almost 20 kilometres, we came abreast of Old Flåm, where we paused to admire the neat little church and its gravestones with their tale of a few families with familiar names (Flåm, Fretheim) spread over hundreds of years. Like the landscape, the social scene changes only slowly.

Aegir Brewery

There is a brew pub in Flåm, but for most of our stay it had remained firmly closed. Over our stay I had managed to drink several of their products at different restaurants and hotels, particularly their stunning Imperial Stout. Norwegian alcohol prices are notoriously savage due to heavy taxation, but at NOK 185 (about GBP 18) for a bottle, I reckoned that this was probably the most expensive beer that I had ever drunk.

And then one day, the brewery doors were open, to reveal a bar modelled on a Viking longhouse, with carved wood and reindeer pelts and a large fire.

After a few pints of the excellent stout, I got chatting to the brewer, Evan. It turned out that he had taken a batch of the stout that I was drinking, and then matured it in oak whisky barrels to make what he called ‘Lynchburg’. This was so good that, in an attempt to prevent it from being all drunk at once, he had almost doubled the price to NOK 340, or GBP 34 a bottle. This did not prevent a visiting American from buying the entire stock. Luckily for me, Evan had kept a case back for himself, and I was able to buy one, now definitely and without doubt the most expensive beer that I have ever drunk. It was worth every Krøne.


Travelling light as usual, we arrived at Oslo airport with only cabin baggage, booked an express train from an automated ticket machine, and after a clean and fast trip emerged blinking into the Autumn sunlight. The friendly Hotel Thon was easy to find, and we were given a room on the second floor with a balcony fully fifty feet long and twenty feet wide.

A lion was waiting at Oslo station
A lion was waiting at Oslo station

Enormous balcony at the Hotel Thon
Enormous balcony at the Hotel Thon

Close to the station is the Aker Brugge, an area packed with restaurants, all with busy outside areas, everybody chatting and drinking and eating. Many of the seats were draped with sheep fleeces, and at other restaurants the waiters handed out blankets as you arrived, so that despite the ten degree chill, short sleeves and mini-skirts were not uncommon.

Outside dining, Oslo style
Outside dining, Oslo style

We chose to eat inside a cosy Italian restaurant, where the drinks were the typical Scandinavian triple the English price, but the service was friendly and the food was excellent. Eventually we ambled out into the last hours of light, intending to get a quick nap at the hotel before going out on the town.

The Radhuis
On the way back, we passed an enormous brick building that looked like a power station but which turned out to be the Radhuis or town hall. We stopped to admire some friezes along the outside walls, carved wooden scenes from Viking mythology, and then suddenly realised that the building was still open to visitors.

Oslo Radhuis
Oslo Radhuis

We went inside and found ourselves in an enormous space, not dissimilar to the turbine hall at the Tate Modern in London, but painted throughout with allegorical wall friezes not only there, but also in a chain of spectacular rooms that led around the second storey.

Wooden carvings outside Oslo Radhuis
Wooden carvings outside Oslo Radhuis

The inside of one of the Radhuis rooms
The inside of one of the Radhuis rooms

The main hall of Oslo Radhuis
The main hall of Oslo Radhuis

The paintings were in the style of 50s communism, all square jaws and bold colours, with heavy emphasis on agriculture and industry. However, each frieze told a story, and that story was often a complex mixture of mythology and the recent German occupation, mythical figures juxtaposed with prisoners in concentration camps. The bear of Norway baring its teeth at uniformed trolls as they tear the clothes from the newly released princess. Very stark and very effective.

A rather jingoistic frieze in the main hall
A rather jingoistic frieze in the main hall

It was evening when we finally tore ourselves away, and continued to our hotel for that nap. Our alarm went off later that night, but we were happy to ignore it and sleep through for the next twelve hours. After all, we were on holiday.

Frogner Park (Vigeland Park)

The following morning, after a breakfast of coffee and herrings, we headed out to the glorious Frogner Park, which has long been one of my favourite places in Europe. This entire green space is given over to the works of Gustav Vigeland, who designed and built the whole thing over a ten year period. The weather had been a bit glooomy, but the sun came out and glowed from the carpet of yellow maple leaves underfoot, as we joined the hundreds of tourists enjoying several hundred works of art spread over almost a kilometre.

The view back across the bridge from the central plaza.
The view back across the bridge from the central plaza.

I love these guys! Cocky son.
I love these guys! Cocky son.

Another beautiful study
Another beautiful study

Once you leave the bridge of bronze sculptures, you climb up to the centrepiece of granite pieces.
Once you leave the bridge of bronze sculptures, you climb up to the centrepiece of granite pieces.

Eventually you realise that he's trying to save his falling children.
Eventually you realise that he’s not kicking them, he’s trying to save his falling children.

The astounding centrepiece, showing the ages of man, the dead at the bottom supporting the youngest on top.
The ages of man, the dead at the bottom supporting the youngest on top.

The Oslo Museum is situated in Frogner park. We watched a very clever and entertaining film called “1000 years of Oslo”, which was put together in an amusing way from shots of museum exhibits and paintings. It covered exciting periods of boom and bust, wealth and poverty, and then skipped suddenly from the 1920s to the present day, missing the occupation and holocaust. The actual museum did much the same thing, with a display for every period of settlement since the Vikings except for the World Wars. The Norwegians had an ugly war.

On our final evening, we headed up to the Grünerløkke district, which is famous for its local bars and cafes. We were not disappointed, there were establishments of every style and ethnicity. We stopped at a few for glasses of wine and snacks, and were pleased to find that – presumably because of the vastly over-taxed prices – each small glass of wine was checked and re-checked and treated with a great deal of respect.

At one bar the owner suggested that we try a soup made from lamb, cabbage and potatoes. It was very good, and we were told that in traditional bars it is made available as a cheap dish for the benefit of heavy drinkers. I did have trouble getting my head around the idea that anybody who can afford to be a heavy drinker in Scandinavia might need cheap food, but the concept is still admirable. At another bar I scored a beautiful lightly poached whole trout with leeks and a cauliflower sauce. They certainly know how to keep their patrons happy in Oslo.

Scandinavia by Train: 5 – The long haul to the Arctic Circle

We needed to stock up with supplies in Bergen, for the long two-day haul up the coast of Norway to Trondheim and then past the Arctic Circle to Bodø and beyond. We found a small shop called Makka that billed itself as the “cheapest supermarket in town”, containing a wild jumble of all kinds of useful items. We stocked up with enough food for several days, as we would be on the train for a long time without access to shops.

We have been pooling our food and cooking together, which is nice, but the others eat like birds and I found myself permanently hungry on my share, so I also stocked up a separate bag of my own supplies.

We had run out of fuel for our Trangia stoves, which run on purple-stained methylated spirit. It took us til the shop was almost closed before Julia discovered that the Scandinavian equivalent rødsprit is stained red instead instead of purple.

Oslo to Trondheim

One feature of Scandinavian trains is that it is really difficult to avoid seat reservations if you want to travel any distance at all. Before boarding the Trondheim train in Oslo, I attempted to buy reservations for Julia and myself, but the office was closed. We could still use our tickets, but the problem is that there is no way of telling, once on the train, which seats are reserved and which not.

In the event, Dave and Sammy got lucky and happened to choose seats that remained un-reserved for the entire journey, but the rest of us kept getting bumped by the conductor, as passengers with reservations boarded throughout the day. Eventually, as night fell and the train rumbled on, we gave up on seats altogether and lay down in the corridor by the toilets.

Just as we drifted off into sleep, there was a loud clunking noise as some extra carriages were added to the front of the train. No sooner had we drifted off again, snug in our sleeping bags, when the conductor woke us up and took us to some unoccupied seats in the new section. I’m sure that he thought he was doing us a favour, but these weren’t comfortable long-distance compartment seats, they were very hard and fixed and intended for commuting. The upholstery was thick with dust, and smelled strongly of cigarette smoke.

Things were made worse by the sunlight streaming in through the windows most of the night, because we were closing in now on the Arctic Circle. I wrapped a headband around my eyes, and tried to settle.

When I awoke and removed the headband, Julia and Conway had disappeared. We were approaching Trondheim, so I collected our things, and looked around for Julia’s boots, which she had left next to mine under a seat. They weren’t there. I got up and searched, eventually finding them on a floor-level rack next to some luggage. I bent to pick them up, and was very surprised when the luggage sat up and wished me a good morning. Julia had found a cosy dark burrow to sleep in.

Conway was on the next rack down, his only complaint being that a lady kept trying to wake him up in order to put her luggage away.

Trondheim emerged in a light drizzle of rain, and we disembarked and took shelter in the station cafe, drinking coffee and tea out of tiny cups while we waited for our connection. From what we had seen from the train, the town appeared to be largely a trading gateway for rail, road and sea. Certainly the people that we saw hurrying back and forth along the platforms seemed determined to get somewhere else.

Across the Arctic Circle

As I climbed aboard the train from Trondheim to Bodø, I became aware of an unmistakeable aroma, so my first step was to hole up in one of the toilet cubicles and have a wash and a shave. Opening my wash-bag, I mused that I would henceforth be in no danger from sepsis if I cut myself shaving, brushing my teeth, or even wiping my bottom, because all of my bathroom supplies were liberally coated with antiseptic ointment which had exploded from its tube.

Once more seated, smelling considerably more fragrant and without a hint of bacterial activity, I broke my fast on sausage-and-cheese sandwiches washed down with full-cream milk. This latter caused some amusement among us, because as we compared cartons it became clear that the symbol for “full cream milk” was a stylised strawberry (or, Dave insisted, a red clover), whereas the symbol for “skimmed milk” appeared to be a purple buttercup (which Dave averred to be a pink, or possibly a carnation).

And so we passed the time, because the journey was long, and even when we emerged from the rain, there wasn’t much to look at beyond pastures and lakes, a few trees, and – occasionally in the distance – the glimpse of some mountains. On the other hand, I couldn’t help reflecting that although this long-haul was a little dull, it was nothing compared with my recent experience of another long-haul, the infamous Belgrade-Athens Express. Today we had nothing to complain about; ample provisions, functioning toilets, and nobody was vomiting in the corridors. A very civilised country, is Norway.

Musing happily, I drifted off to sleep for a few hours, and when I awoke I found that the landscape had changed dramatically. The trees – both deciduous and coniferous – had shrunk markedly, and were spaced out, separated by expanses of exposed bed-rock. On the horizon, treeless mountain-tops loomed. We got into a discussion about whether the strongly demarcated tree-line that we could see was caused more by the latitude or by the altitude. It passed the time.

The tracks detoured inland around a fjord at Mo i Rana, but then continued North until a line of pyramidal cairns came into view, marching across the countryside, each topped by a spheroidal metal frame. At 17:38 on July 9th, we crossed the Arctic Circle for the first time.


Detraining in Bodø on a Sunday afternoon when all the shops and cafes were closed, we wasted little time in hoisting our back-packs and hiking out of town, looking for somewhere to sleep. We pitched our tents in the first available spot, a little square of marshland that – it soon became clear – was directly under the flight path for Bodø airport.

We dined on bolognese and rice pudding, and woke to a beautiful morning disturbed only by the thunder of aero engines.

Close to our campsite was a little wooden church with an onion tower, which we explored before striking camp. From the outside, Bodin Church is a simple brick and wood construction with a leaded spire. Most of the interior is starkly plain, painted white with a pine planking barrel vault ceiling, but there were also a highly decorated pulpit covered with oil paintings, an incredible carved and gilded wooden altar, and enormous brass candelabras.

At the time, we couldn’t work out if it had been designed that way or if it had been formed from the relics of older buildings, but I later discovered that the interior genuinely derives from the 17th and 18th centuries. It was a beautiful find to begin our day.

Scandinavia by Train: 4 – The Rallar Road

The Rallarvegen, the Rallar Road or Navvy Road, was constructed in 1904 to provide access for materials and workers arriving by sea, to the mountain-top site of the Oslo to Bergen railway. There are a number of different stretches, but the most famous extends more or less vertically down from Myrdal at the top of the mountain, to Flåm at the bottom.

Myrdal to Flåm

Conway, who had been feeling poorly for most of the trip, was thankfully starting to feel a bit better, so we all disembarked the Oslo-Bergen train at Myrdal, shouldered our back-packs, and began the hike down to sea level.

The first part of the switchback descent is very steep, and it immediately became obvious that – whatever else was going to happen – we were not going to run short of water, for there was a new waterfall at every turn.

We quickly descended below the snow-line, and found ourselves surrounded by a wonderful variety of wild flowers; monks-hood, fritillary, orchid, white campion, forget-me-not, and several that we could not identify.

The scenery is simply stunning. There are no words to describe the sheer size of the landscape; terms such as ‘enormous’, ‘huge’, ‘vast’, are just too everyday to describe the incredible feeling of immense craggy age and power of the peaks around us.

The fact that trees have found a toe-hold in every nook and cranny adds to the appalling sense of scale. An unadorned rock may be impressive, but it is difficult to appreciate how big it is. Here, you look up, and up, and up, and in the vertical distance you can just make out the tiny little matchsticks of full-sized ash trees perched on the ridge-top.

Every time I looked up, I could feel my heart swell with the magnificence of the view. I noted in my diary that the Romantic artist John Martin must surely have come here for inspiration.

As we descended the Rallar Road, the path became less precipitous, and the waterfalls that had hitherto launched in great rainbow arcs from the sky, became cascading rapids that raged alongside us.

It was by now getting late and a little cold, and the midges were starting to bite, so we put up our tents on a convenient flat spot.

We woke to a world that was dull, cold and grey. It was well into the morning, but the steep sides of the valley kept us in the shadow. Then, suddenly, the sun crested the mountains and the heat hit the tents like a bombshell; we all tumbled out as it was far too hot to stay inside.

I froze my scalp and fingers washing in the nearby meltwater stream, but dried off instantly in the sunshine. We breakfasted on locally sourced “hot fruit soup”, and lazed around while leisurely striking camp. There was no hurry, it was a beautiful place to be.

Later in the day, now largely on the level and approaching the town of Old Flam, we had become spread out along the trail as we looked at the scenery and investigated caves behind the waterfalls. Even though the path was reasonably flat, the surrounding landscape was still vertical, but wherever humanly possible, grass had been cut and hung out to dry for winter fodder.

Dave, Conway and Sam found some firewood and lit a fire to cook lunch. Julia encountered a goat, and got involved in a head-butting competition with its kid.

I became fascinated by the water pipeline that now ran along the trail beside us, which was constructed from wood, with about the same diameter as a wine barrel. It leaked dramatically, but I suppose there’s never any chance of running out of water here, and repairs simply involved nailing a plank across the larger holes.

At last, footsore and weary, we arrived in the village of Old Flåm. The town looked exactly as if wandering explorers had hiked up from the fjord, dropped their packs, and erected a church and widely separated houses wherever they fancied the view. It was quite lovely.

We had intended to walk all the way down to Flåm harbour on the fjord, but we were hot and tired, and couldn’t resist resting on the wooden platform by the train tracks at Lunden, a stop for the famous Flåmsbana, the steepest standard-gauge railway in the world. One came past heading in our direction, so we flagged it down and rode it to the Flåm station terminus.

Flåm to Voss

After stocking up on chocolate bars, we rode the Flåmsbana back up to Myrdal. The train doesn’t follow the path of the Rallar Road, instead carving its own route through a series of very impressive tunnels, but it was fascinating to catch the occasional glimpse of the path that we’d taken.

There’s a crowd-pleasing stop near the top, where you can clamber out onto a very wet platform and gape at a waterfall as it thunders underneath the train, and then we were back where we’d started, waiting at Myrdal for the train to Voss.

At Voss, we needed somewhere to stay. There was an official camp site, but for budgetary reasons we needed to free camp, and it quickly became clear that although the town of Voss was nominally small, it is spread out with houses as far as the eye can see; we weren’t going to able to hike out to the edge in any reasonable time frame.

By dint of some judicious clambering through building sites and over fences, we managed to get to a piece of greenery around the back of the official camp site, where we quietly set up camp, planning to leave early next morning in the hope that nobody would notice us.

Scandinavia by Train: 3 – Oslo to Myrdal

The Oslo to Bergen railway is widely billed as one of the best train trips in the world. It climbs up from sea level, and runs along the mountain tops before dropping back down to the fjords of Bergen. It is made doubly special by the station half-way along at Myrdal, where you can hike from the top of the mountains down to sea level at Flåm, and then catch the cog train back up to rejoin the main railway.

Julia and I paid for reserved seats so that we could get an unrestricted view from an opening window, while the others opted to search for unreserved seats wherever they could find them. Having reserved seats also meant that we could nip into the toilet cubicle and wash some clothes, without losing our place.

Words fail me to describe the first part of the trip up to Myrdal. There are only so many ways of describing huge vistas of wild conifers, deep blue glacial lakes, and looming craggy mountains. The trees are immense, and I have never seen so many different shades of green in the riotous growth of uncultivated softwood forest.

Just when I thought that I’d seen everything, the train climbed above the tree-line, and the character of the land changed abruptly. It was 35 degrees in the shade, and the sun beat down on pristine white snowfields, relieved only by the smashed remains of last year’s snow-fences, and the early construction of next year’s.

Occasionally a lonely cluster of wooden shingle-rooted homes would spring into view, nestling against a river or lake.

When not trundling along knife-edge cliff edges, the train was diving in and out of tunnels carved through the rock. At each end of the tunnel, the train passed through a snow-barrier in the form of a long wooden house, to protect it from avalanches. As we climbed higher, these wooden tunnels became more prevalent, and sometimes entirely free-standing.

Eventually it had to end, and the train dropped down to the sleepy hamlet of Myrdal, protected by massive snow-fences and completely ringed by the high rock walls of the valley.

It was time to disembark, because we wanted to hike the famous Rallar Road down to Flåm, but we would return later to enjoy the final part of the trip to Bergen.

Scandinavia by Train: 2 – Vigeland Park, Oslo

We disembarked the ferry from Denmark, grabbed a coffee and a croissant, and caught the local train into Oslo. Dave had visited before, and remembered an interesting sculpture garden in the centre which was our ultimate destination, but we stopped on the way to visit the grounds of the Royal Palace. Conway had had a rough night trying to sleep on the ferry and was feeling unwell, so we all relaxed in the pleasant grounds of the Palace and watched the birds so that he could have a snooze. Later it became clear that he wasn’t up to moving any further that morning, so we left him sleeping in the sunshine, and made our way into the city.

Vigeland Park, Oslo (Norway)

Frogner Park in central Oslo is dedicated to the works of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland. There are hundreds of life-like human figures, in bronze and in stone, engaged in all kinds of activities, both mundane and bizarre; juggling babies and fighting dragons as well as some beautiful thoughtful pieces.

The centrepiece of the park is a huge tower, carved (by seven sculptors over 11 years) from a single stone, and consisting entirely of human bodies; the bottom layers crushed and dead, getting younger as you move up the pile, to babies dancing on the top. This amazing piece is surrounded by twenty-odd additional sculptures of pairs of humans engaged in various acts depicting the path from birth to death.

Words cannot really describe this magical place.

On the way back to the Palace to check on Conway, we wandered through the streets of Oslo itself, and found that here, too, there were sculptures on every corner. I described the architecture in my diary as “quiet baroque interspersed with brutal concrete”, and noted that most of the young ladies had tinted their hair away from the ubiquitous Scandinavian blonde.

Eidsvoll (Norway)

The temperature was now up in the low thirties, and Conway was very sick. We picked him up from the Palace and headed out on a local train to find somewhere to sleep, stopping on the way at a roadside shack for fish-burgers and ice-cream, where the kindly proprietor filled up a gallon water jug so that Conway could stay hydrated.

Later that evening, we tumbled out of the train on the shores of a likely looking lake, clambered over the rails, and found ourselves in some abandoned station buildings, the former Eidsvoll Station. We settled down nearby in a clearing in the trees, sending Conway to bed with a large tea and a dry crust, then set about preparing a meal. We had some packaged chow-mein that had been donated to us by some Chinese girls at the Copenhagen Interrail Centre, and a Vesta curry, and some macaroni soup. Not exactly gourmet stuff, but it was filling and washed down well with lots of tea.

We had intended an early start in the morning, to take the famous Oslo-Bergen line (widely acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world), but I’d forgotten to set my alarm, and we were all awoken at the last minute by Dave bashing a billy with a spoon. We quickly struck camp and then, with only eleven minutes to catch our connection, took the fastest route to the station which was to run along the rails to the platform. Boarding with two minutes to spare, we spent the short trip to Oslo washing up in the toilets.

We only really had time to breakfast in the Oslo station cafe. Conway was feeling a bit better, but was only able to force down some cornflakes. The rest of us examined the eye-watering prices for filled rolls, before realising to our delight that the cheapest option was to order tea with cream cakes, so that’s what we did.