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Phespirit goes to Norway
Oslo     July/August 1997

AROUND NORWAY

Map of Norway

1 Oslo

Winter Olympics connection, part 1:

Phespirit shuns participation in any winter sports, but can tolerate touring Winter Olympics relics. The 1952 Oslo games are still the only Winter Olympics to have been held in a capital city (Sarajevo not being a capital at the time).

Holmenkollbakken ski jump is a landmark of the city that provides panoramic views across the capital, and dramatic views down the slope. Phespirit descended its tower by safer means .....

Lots more to do in Oslo: the Viking Ship museum, the Polar Ship Fram museum, Kon-Tiki museum, Norsk Folk museum, City Hall, Parliament, Vigeland Sculpture Park, and a swift boat tour around the Oslofjord.

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2 Lillehammer

Winter Olympics connection, part 2:

Lillehammer hosted the Winter Olympics games three years ago. Unlike Oslo, and despite what the tourist board would say, there's precious little else to be said for the place.

Never mind. All is well when the weather's fine.

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3 Gol

Norway in a Nutshell, part 1:

Phespirit paid £96.40 for a 'Norway in a Nutshell' railway round trip between Oslo and Voss. The itinerary was:

from to by dep. arr.
Oslo Voss Train 08:00 13:57
Voss Gudvangen Bus 14:30 15:40
Gudvangen Flåm Boat 15:45 16:50
Flåm Myrdal Train 17:15 18:08
Myrdal Oslo Train 18:11 23:18

After about three hours his train stopped at Gol and was detained there for an inordinate amount of time. He later found out this was due to an overnight freight train derailment. At the time though, he knew simply that his itinerary had been blown apart.

He pressed on regardless.

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4 Finse

Norway in a Nutshell, part 2:

Phespirit's train continued with its scheduled stops after the delay at Gol, albeit wildly off schedule. One of these stops was Finse.

At 1,222m, Finse is the highest altitude station on the Norwegian railway network. Phespirit briefly stepped off the train at Finse so that he could justly claim - in case anyone cared - to have visited the highest station on the Norwegian railway network.

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5 Myrdal

Norway in a Nutshell, part 3:

On consulting his timetable to find a way to salvage his disrupted Oslo-Voss-Gudvangen-Flåm-Myrdal-Oslo day out, Phespirit sadly recognised he would be forced to sacrifice visits to both Voss and Gudvangen, including a boat trip round the Aurland Fjord - blast!

Instead he got off at Myrdal. From here he could take a return trip on the Flåm Railway. This 20km stretch of track descends 900m, with a gradient of 55% along 80% of the route. Dramatic statistics to describe even more dramatic scenery.

Myrdal station, it has to be said, is merely high up and chilly.

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6 Flåm

Norway in a Nutshell, part 4:

The end of Phespirit's line from Oslo. He had about half an hour to explore the valley and the Aurland Fjord before catching the Flåm Railway back to Myrdal, there to board the next train for Oslo.

It seemed a miserably short visit after such a problematic journey. Exploration wasn't the point, though. The journey was the point.

Epilogue: Phespirit got a substantial refund for the disruption to his trip.

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  1. Oslo
  2. Lillehammer
  3. Gol
  4. Finse
  5. Myrdal
  6. Flåm
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Oslo Lillehammer Gol Finse Myrdal Flam