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living large in the four-oh-eight. wicked large.


my way or the norway.

Denmark and Sweden are connected by the Oresund Bridge, an impressive ten mile tunnel/bridge hybrid that spans the Baltic. So when you want to go from mainland Europe up the the Scandinavian peninsula, you no longer need to get wet. Of course, we saved Sweden for last. Norway was next.

The train rides from Copenhagen to Malmo to Goteborg to Oslo were typically Scandinavian: right on time, spartan yet comfortable. We even had high speed Internet on the high speed X2000, meaning we could surf the web as we roared through the countryside at over 200 KMH. We only spent one night in Oslo, which was probably enough. It's a charming city but it lacks the sophistication of Copenhagen (and Stockholm, for that matter). The real highlight of Norway is heading west over the spine.

It's been said that the train ride from Oslo to Bergen is among the most beautiful in the world. I don't know who said that, but I'd have to agree. It's right up there with crossing the Alps and taking the Red Line between Porter Square and Charles/MGH. Halfway to Bergen the train climbs to a stark, tundralike plateau. No trees, just a ton of lakes and rocky ridges. Past the town of Myrdal, the train roars down to the fjords of the west coast, through terrain that looks a lot like British Columbia. Without the totem poles.

Bergen (or as I like to call it, "Seattle Junior") hugs the North Sea, protected by a series of long and deep fjords. Our hotel, the Hanseatic, was located in Bryggen, the old waterfront. This gave us brilliant access to the fish market, where I tried whale (free Willy!), and the historic fortress that protects the harbor. The highlight had to be taking the funicular (a fancy word for steep train that goes in a straight line) to the top of Mount Floyen. Phenomenal views and access to great hikes down to the city.

All aboard at Bergen Station

Bryggen waterfront, Bergen

At the top of Mount Floyen, Bergen

So that's Norway, in a nutshell. Actually, many people do the "Norway in a Nutshell Tour" which is like a six-day version of our four-day journey. Whichever way you slice it, Norway is a very unique experience. If nothing else, it's the most scenic way to purchase $400 sweaters.


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