Time To Travel North
Going through the diary has me wandering around enjoying this one time tour of my life, please be patient since I am having way too much fun re-experiencing some places and reliving memories.
6th September - Biding farewell to Holland an exciting region to visit, time restricts longer visit after confusion with train times hopped on-board a train taking us to Lübeck, Germany. Wisening up to time zones, made note of 1 hour difference from Holland at 15h30 to Germany being 14h30, time enough to arrive, enjoy a Hamburger with Beer cost of DM 4.55 (ZAR 2.50).
Fabulous elderly couple assisted us find the hostel who were unable to speak English, needless to say my Std. 6 German failed again, did help with reading, grossly failed communicating... Planned visiting sites before going back to station tomorrow, sites all within walking distance giving us good opportunity to stretch our legs.
7th September Woke to a very misty/foggy morning, lets explore Lübeck.
The Holstentor is one of the two remaining city gates of the city of Lübeck. Built between 1464 and 1478, medieval mercantile glory days. Source
We ambled through lovely old buildings up to the Lübecker Rathaus one of the most spectacular and important town halls in Germany. Back to Lübeck Hbf, 09h22 train to Copenhagen arrived at 14h00.
Walked to the Tivoli Gardens, via Østergade (old town) linking pedestrian street Strøget, then onto Little Mermaid. Always return using different routes, tracking back to railway station via Frederiksborggade, quick look at the Copenhagen City Hall seeing the statue of the Lur Blowers, Church of the Holy Spirit (Helligåndskirken) a Franciscan monastery, Church of Our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) Lutherian church, repaired over time since building approximately 1201, abundant history everywhere....
After a day of walking, we continued on from Copenhagen to Helsingør station (English: Elsinore) to hostel Villa Moltke Helsingør for the night. Gorgeous setting along a beach on Øresund strait, a stately redbrick building (another 7 minute walk from Højstrup Street train station), many trams were inclusive on pass tickets.
8th September Caught train from Helsingør to Hillerød station to explore the Renaissance, Frederiksborg Castle.
After hours surveying this most grand castle, chapel wing was spared when castle burned 1859 leaving a pearl of Danish history intact.
Next traversing back to Helsingør to take 20 minute ferry crossing onboard Najaden to Helsingborg, a car and train ferry, another new experience watching how embarking was done on this short route of 3 nautical miles.
Caught train up to Stockholm and hope to get a connection through to Uppsala, another plan awry, spent the night in Nyköping.
Peaceful place, clean and quiet, we have been really lucky so far as hostels are concerned. At Nyköpings Vandrarhem you are next door to Nyköpings Hus castle, Nyköpingsån, the harbor and the city center. Family hostel dating back to 1764.
Saw reindeer in Denmark and today we saw Elk and Deer, wildlife from the train window unable to photograph, nice seeing them out and about.
Passed our first large inland lakes, everything is extremely coulourful, I personally think that even though the days are shorter than previous trip with Mom, it is colder, the scenery has more than made up!
Finding your own way around from stations to hostels one sees a lot of sights even though not having time to enter each, chatting with locals most try their best to explain what you should not miss.
9th September Caught an early train into Stockholm where we walked around, bought "Sven", Swedish Viking Figurine hand made in wood.
Started hunt for store to buy sugar, every time we wish to make tea or coffee we always short, so begins our grand sojourn of finding sugar. Found a Saturday morning food market,, smell was so tempting we broke down and bought some crazy looking bread rolls filled with meat and cheese respectively, eventually finding sugar....
Each railway station was delightful in architecture, Stockholm the largest in Sweden opened in 1871 already over 100 years old! With so much to see, so much to do, very few photographs.., all locked up in memories one will never forget.
Next leg of journey is from Stockholm to Östersund managing to catch train at 10h10, hoping to connect to Trondheim. After arriving half and hour late to be informed there is only one train per day to Trondheim with 18h05 stopped for winter months. With little to next to nothing in Swedish currency, Youth Hostel closed for winter we booked into a "Pension" at SK 65.00 (ZAR 16.00+/-) for the night.
We have sugar... hot coffee sounds good, our international lightweight immersion heater with plugs, does the trick again with enamel mugs we brought from home. Not having had a hot meal since Holland, something hot to drink makes the world of difference.
10th September Early 07h37 train to Trondheim arriving at 12h35, having decided not to travel further North, trains not being too frequent, a lot slower than Germany. Scenery with inland lakes, feast your eyes , absolutely delightful!
Walked out of the station building onto sidewalk close to the water to enjoy the sights before a potent beer (one of the most alcoholic filled beers I think I have ever had), deciding our next move. Trondheim Fjord is third longest, an inlet on Norwegian Sea, it was flat, we had wanted to see deep fjords which led us to our next decision...
Leaving Trondheim with mixed feelings having wanted to do more sight seeing in the area, now on the 15h15 train to Oslo, overnight sleeping/resting your eyes upright! Oslo connecting to Myrdal at 04h50 tomorrow morning, further train to Flåm Railway 05h50 where we will find a fjord with deep perspective.
11th September 08h45 we are on the Innwik ferry, up Aurlandsfjord from Flåm to Gudvangen, toward Gudvangen winds through the Nærøyfjord, where the mountains lap into the fjord, water clear blue, this most spectacular scenic trip has to be experienced. Trip through this 'place of the gods' took about two and a half hours, well worth the overnight train ride getting here...
Gudvangen To Voss by bus then boarded train to Bergen to spend the night. From my diary I noted, 'yesterday and today have been so scenic "seeing is believing". Our train journey from Myrdal to Flåm was most unusual in the gradient, the rail line is 1 in 18, consequently train only has two coaches with a unit in front and behind.'
Bergen is second largest city in Norway, quaint and charming, wish we had better wather to explore more this afternoon but it is cold, wet and we are hungry! Bought some groceries, splashed out on meatballs in asparagus sauce, mixed salad and peas, big change from bread & cheese...
Early to bed after night on train in upright position, hostel not far from town Montana. Early morning walk to take in the sights (still damp outside), catch train departing at 07h20 to Oslo arriving 14h05. Some photographs did not make it this is one very pretty little town to explore!
12th September Trip through mountains traversed numerous snowsheds up over the highest point the rail system goes, Finse Norway. It is hard to believe what snow and wind can do to a mountain until you actually go up and see, it is barren, whereas an hour or so you are once again drifting past blue lakes and green trees reaching unreal heights for the sky.
On researching now, routes are not quite the same Bergen > Flåm > Finse > Gol > Hønefoss > Roa > Oslo, currently run slightly different, old line now used for freight trains apparently.
Bergen Line is often applied for the entire route from Bergen via Drammen to Oslo, where the passenger trains go, a distance of 496 kilometres (308 mi). It is the highest mainline railway line in Northern Europe, crossing the Hardangervidda plateau at 1,237 metres (4,058 ft) above sea level. Source
Arriving in Oslo a lovely city, great weather the afternoon was spent at Frognerparken (Frogner Park) marvelling at the Vigeland Sculpture Park within , best way to explain sculptures is a celebration of life, exquisite!
Enjoyable walk to see The Viking ships all dating from between 850 to 900 AD, they were in fact burial boats, a fully laden ship with three smaller boats, sleighs, beds, barrels, servants, horses... all off to Valhalla.
Tracking back to the Oslo Central Station to catch train to Sarpsborg where we will spend the night.
13th September Most frustrating day so far, only got a train at 09h38 from Sarpsborg to arrive in Gothenburg Sweden at 12h45.
Trying to reach harbour by foot as we had no Swedish Krohne thought we had no further need for SK, exchanged some money to enable us to travel down by tram, finding out we did not need the money after all, tram never required payment.... Only afterwards realized there is no way to get to the harbour walking, fly-overs for motorways presented a problem hindsight always 50/50.
Upon arrival the ferry was only departing at 17h45, what a disappointment, we just can't seem to get moving in these countries, everything starts late and moves slowly, well we sure walked Gothenburg! Now due to arrive at Frederikshavn at 19h00.
Always look on the bright side of life, we managed a "duty free" meal, we each had half a chicken, apple jelly, baby marrows pickled and chips for SK25.50 (ZAR 5.10+/-).
Train down to Fredericia station arriving at 02h00, no connecting train, too late to book in anywhere, sleep on the station at least they have electricity in bathrooms to make a cup of coffee or tea. Advice given on the ferry was the train from Fredericia 02h30 still connected, a direct express to Hamburg due to arrive 06h27 (summer/winter timetables screwed us up)!
Moral of the story, nothing goes according to plan, make decisions on the fly and enjoy every moment. Once again I lament we never took enough photographs!
Next train/ferry travel to Germany, Switzerland, Austria taking us on the next leg of the trip.
Highlight on this leg of the trip, #pinmapple link inserted for travelers wishing to get to 'Viking Mountain'.
Photographs originally from film camera, converted in early 2000's to digital so please excuse the age, memories are wrapped up here!
Thought for Today: "Travel makes one a stranger." - African Proverb