Joined November 2019 Message
  • Day28

    The Sun Sets on ScandiRail

    December 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ -5 °C

    Den siste dagen på turen! In true Solo Theo fashion, I packed in all that I could and broke the trip's daily step record! This was partly down to my morning walking tour, which was both sunny and not cancelled (much bettah than Göteborg). We toured around the city centre in the cold and even went inside the impressive Rådhuset.

    Next I rushed off to the Grünnerløkka, Oslo's hipster district (I can't resist). Situated aesthetically on the Akerselva River, highlights included a fabulous outdoor chandelier, fish 'n' chips at the Mathallen and Tim Wendelboe, who serves The Best Coffee in Oslo - he was not exaggerating. ☕

    Finally, I rushed through a real-life Barcode to see the sunset from Ekebergparken Skulpturpark. The views of both the city and fjord were unmissable and I must personally thank the sun for shining on my final day. 🌞

    The Dilemma diving sculpture at Ekebergparken encapsulates my mood as the trip ends and my first flight beckons. Ready to dive back into Britain for the first time since August... wish me luck! 🇬🇧
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  • Day27

    Winter Sports in the City (rated PG)

    December 17, 2019 in Norway ⋅ 🌫 -3 °C

    The capital city of a ski-obssessed country must of course provide ski facilities within its vicinity. Indeed, if you ride T-bane line 1 to its northern terminus you will discover Vinterpark, Oslo's very own ski resort!

    Skiing was a slope too far for me on this trip, but I happily rented a toboggan and threw myself down the Korketrekkeren slope - twice! 🛷 The name means Corkscrew and I understood why as I screamed my way down 2km of twists, turns and big bumps which gave me some significant air time. My POV video commentary cannot be shared - no one wants to hear such extreme panic just before Christmas!

    I then proceeded on the T-bane to the futuristic Holmenkollen Ski Jump. Mist-erious weather saved me from looking down to the bottom 😅, so I still can't appreciate the emotional state of a ski jumper.

    En-route to Vinterpark was Vigeland Sculpture Park. Joanna and I thought that Malmö had a lot of naked statues. But Vigeland had over 200 nude human figures, some in questionable poses. It was quite a sight, but I can't help but be confused by the number of naked likenesses in cold, cold Scandinavia.
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  • Day26

    Third Time's the Charm in Oslo

    December 16, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ -1 °C

    After one short day in 2009, mostly spent at the Viking Ship Museum, and a teaser at the Sentralstasjon last Monday, I am back to finally do Oslo properly!

    My descent into Oslo was tiresome. Just as I was getting comfortable in my sleeper cabin, I was turfed onto the platform at 7am in Trondheim. Then began another 7 hour journey to the capital. The snowy Dovre Railway was, however, a treat to watch through my tired eyes and a great journey to conclude my Scandinavian rail travel!

    I arrived in Oslo at sunset and grasped the opportunity to finally tour around its significant buildings, as the dusk lighting added some magic! The stunning Opera House was worth the wait to see and walk atop, while the Rådhuset was situated among lit-up trees.

    I then went to the house of my first proper Couchsurfing host, Karl! It may have taken all trip, but I found a couch to surf eventually!
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  • Day25

    Sunrise/Sunset All-In-One

    December 15, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 2 °C

    I've never been a sunrise person. My family can testify. I like my sleep and much prefer the more sociable timing of a sunset. But winter in Bodø means that you can see sunrise (11:15) without the need for an early wakeup and you get a free sunset thrown in just an hour or so later (12:30)!

    But before you decide you could never deal with such daily darkness, let me reassure you. There is twilight-y lightness from about 10am until 3pm (like further south). Then sunrise/set is when the sun makes a proper appearance, like a headliner at a music festival, and you must get outside and make the most of every moment! I could never tire of the pink Arctic skies. And watching the sunrise/set from across the Saltfjorden to Bodø's south, I appreciated that Norway really is "powered by nature".

    After a final long evening in Bodø (3-9pm 😆) I am now laying comfortably in my VY Sove (sleeping) cabin, on a night train to Trondheim. Let the descent begin!
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  • Day24

    Sleigh Ride

    December 14, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ -2 °C

    "Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap
    Let's go, let's look at the show
    We're riding in a wonderland of snow."

    This iconic Christmas song was my reality today, as I joined a group of 4 (1 Swiss lady, 2 German men and Norwegian instructor) for a day playing in the snow outside Bodø. It was lovely weather for a sleigh ride together.

    But first we tried snow-shoeing - walking boot attachments which allow you to feel invincible when walking in the snow. We climbed atop a hill to experience the Arctic wind, because we are hardcore winter travellers at this point! 🌬💪

    Then the sleigh ride began, each of us piloting our own sled pulled by four majestic Siberian huskies. (Can I take one home?) We shot across hills, fell off, took snow to the face and basically had a blast. 🐕🛷😅

    Then we warmed up in a log chalet with coffee, tea and the snow blasting in the dark outside. Couldn't be any more koselig.
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  • Day23

    A Walk in the Arctic

    December 13, 2019 in Norway ⋅ 🌙 2 °C

    13 December is Lucia Day across Scandinavia, so I began the day with a Lucia concert at dawn in Bodø domkirke. Picture this: a full church watching a choir of 30 girls dressed in white, holding candles and singing carols with heavenly voices.

    I then rejoined Heidi, my Couchsurfing contact. After mentioning a paid coastal tour that I planned to do, she did me one better and took me to Bodø's north coast herself in her car. The twilight sky, snowy mountains and fishing huts were a truly awesome landscape! We stopped to take a walk on Ausvika Beach, with Pia the dog, in the crisp Arctic air. 😊

    On the way back, we stopped at Nyholms Fort for views of the city centre at sunset. I'll never forget the pink sky. Now hoping for a green sky tonight. 🤞
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  • Day22

    End of the Line

    December 12, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 3 °C

    I did it! I took the train all the way from Utrecht to the furthest point of the Norwegian railways - Bodø. (It just took me 3 weeks and 11 other cities 😂.) The town sits just above the Arctic Circle and tops Iceland as my most northerly destination.

    The journey from Trondheim to Bodø took 10 hours!! But it didn't feel that long because the Nordland Railway line was possibly the most beautiful I've ever ridden, winding through a genuine winter wonderland of mountains, snowy forests and frozen lakes. For all 5 daylight hours my eyes were glued to the window in amazement, imagining Elsa and Anna running through the pines.

    After arriving in Bodø I enjoyed some Norwegian hospitality (thanks again to Couchsurfing), as I joined a couple in their home for dinner and a couple of TV julekalendars!
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  • Day21

    4 Hours of Sun

    December 11, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 2 °C

    I did not plan this trip simply to take today's main photo. But it's pretty neat that I got to see the view from this year's Interrail Pass cover!!! They are the wharves of the River Nidelva and they do not disappoint!

    I made the most of today's 4 hours of sunlight by climbing steadily higher up Trondheim's snowy hills for some incredible views. First to Kristiansten Fortress, then all the way to the Tyholttårnet for a sunset lunch(!) at it's revolving restaurant. I said "ha det" to the sun. I will see it next on Monday. 👋🌞

    I then came cautiously back down the icy hills to Trondheim's Julemarkedet. It was one of the loveliest of the trip, with a horse & cart, Viking food teepee, salmon tasters and a Christmas choir.

    Trondheim, you did good! 👏
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  • Day20

    The Olympic City

    December 10, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ -10 °C

    -12°C. 🥶 That was the temperature in Lillehammer for most of today. But I wasn't too cold! After 2 weeks of temps around 0°C, I'm getting used to it. So donning 5 layers, hat, scarf and gloves I visited Lillehammer's top attractions.

    Firstly, the Maihaugen open-air museum. I had thought Skansen was a snowy wilderness, but I hadn't seen nothing! The snow-covered wooden houses and pine forests of Maihaugen were straight out of Frozen. I was most excited to see the Norwegian stave church - Dad would be proud.

    I then went next-door to the Norwegian Olympic Museum. The Norwegians, like me, prefer the Winter edition - skiing is their national sport. I learnt about the origins of the Winter Olympic Games and tried, but mostly failed, at a biathlon simulation. I'll stick to skating!
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  • Day19

    Juletid på Lillehammer

    December 9, 2019 in Norway ⋅ 🌙 -6 °C

    Ok... just look how cute Lillehammer is on a December night! My heart is melting, unlike the snow, which is here for the long-run. Lillehammer really knows how to winter, with countless Christmas lights and cosy stores selling candles, jumpers and blankets. 🕯⭐ Can I stay? Or maybe just bring this culture back to UK and NL? I LOVE IT!Read more

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