The bus from Mundal to Alesund started with a 6 mile journey under a glacier in a tunnel. Lots of varied scenery when the light reappeared at the other end. Alesund is famous for its Art Nouveu architecture, put up as was the fashion of the time after a huge fire reduced much of the city centre to dust early in the 20th century. We booked in to the local Hostel which turned out to be a mistake. The rooms were dingy and Sue ended up being bitten by bed-bugs. For some reason, they left me alone. (Maybe they took one look at my tee-shirt and thought they’d give me a miss.)
Alesund was disappointing in other respects too with not a lot going on to make us want to stay for more than one night. The Rough Guide gave the Hostel at Andlesnes a good write-up so we headed for there.
Fortunately, the description was accurate with a well-run hostel and
hearty breakfasts. We looked on incredulously as one of the guests devoured a total of 14 (yes, fourteen!) boiled eggs. We didn’t see him for the rest of the day but he returned late on looking somewhat deflated.
Andlesnes is the starting point for one of the most spectacular rail journeys in Norway, the Rauma Line. It runs for 75 miles in total, beginning along the Rauma glaciated valley with mountains towering literally up to the sky on both sides. It follows the river to its source on a high plateau in central Norway, weaving across the river and road on a series of bridges made with great skill early in the last century. At one point, in order to gain height where there is no room for it to climb because it is so hemmed in by the valley walls, the engineers came up with an ingenious solution. The track crosses over the river and continues back on itself on the opposite bank. It then tunnels into the rock and gradually turns back in the opposite direction through 180 degrees, climbing all the time. So the train ends up pointing back in the right direction but coming out of the tunnel several hundred metres above the track it went in on. Amazing.
From the end of the Rauma Line, we got the main line to Trondheim. There was a Festival to St Olav going on with concerts, a medieval market and singing and dancing in the streets around the cathedral. Not to be outdone by the railway engineers, Trondheim was the first city to put a cycle lift onto one of its steeper hills. A foot plate comes out of the ground onto which the cyclist puts their weight and, in a similar way to a ski lift, the cyclist is transported effortlessly up the hill. I'm thinking of writing to Dorchester Council to see if they could put one in from the bottom of High Street to Top o' Town.
"But I only came out for a walk..."
Monk sets fire to beard in protest at tobacco tax
Nobody makes tailpipes or panniers like Harley Davidson
With the weather being kind to us, we enjoyed our stay here but the lure of a more barren land- and sea-scape was luring us, more specifically, the Lofoten Islands So we boarded the overnight sleeper to Bobo and headed off for the Arctic Circle ….