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Rail Norway

Trains are to travel as vinyl is to music. Sure, there are more technologically advanced ways to appreciate both, but for some, given the choice, there is no choice. The panoramic pathos of a slowly passing countryside seen through a window delights the purist and inspires the poet inside all of us. The hypnotizing horizon. The crackle of the record. Allow Been-Seen to suggest one, train ride, that is. Oslo to Bergen, Norway.

The voyage from the Norwegian capital to charming Bergen by rail is visual feast so gluttonous that we needed to research topographical vocabulary to describe it. Heaths, fjords, glaciers, gorges, ravines…all are on display during the Norwegian coast-to-coast trip. And the trip is, for all practical intents and purposes, the only ways to see it. The Scandinavian nation’s highway system doesn’t reach the most mountainous areas of Norways’ heart, but the train does.

Or, if you’re a numbers guy, try this: 292 miles long, built in 1909, US $117 for a one-way ticket, 200 mountains pierced and 4058 feet at its highest point. And that’s just the train ride. Jump off, and it only gets better; numerous options for side trips deeper into the Edenic countryside beckon, no matter the season. Explore by bike, ski or foot. Very highly recommended is the Rallarvegen Navvies Road trip, a breathtaking bicycle ride from Norway’s roof to the sea by way of lush valleys and thunderous waterfalls.

You don’t have to take our word for it. Ask Andrew Stevenson. The travel writer’s book, Summer Light: A Walk Across Norway expertly chronicles this part of Norway with true passion. But, we digress…we’re talking train rides here, not bike rides into possible snow drifts. So, sit back, take it all in and get lost in the stunning views. And, if you can’t take sa few LPs and one of these with you, and Ipod will suffice.

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