3 July 2011

To Oslo by train

It has been a while since I've been to Scandinavia on holiday and longer still since my one visit to Norway so it seemed to be a good time to head north. And, as last year, I chose to do it by train rather than take the more troublesome and planet-killing plane.

All international train journeys in the UK start at St Pancras, and what a good place to start it is.

It was a lot more convenient for me when the Eurostar left from Waterloo but that is dingy and decrepit and is hardly the place to start or end a grand adventure. William Boot would not have approved.

The new St Pancras is clean, fresh and airy in a modern way but is still protected by its magnificent Victorian roof.

From there it was next stop Brussels, of which probably the least said the better. I know people who live there and say that it is a nice city but it is horribly let down by its shabby, camped and confusing station.

The on to Koln (Cologne) and a much better station in a much better location, perched just above the Rhine and squeezed as close to the Cathedral as possible while still allowing them both the space to be their own landmarks.

And another sensational roof.

The next leg to Copenhagen took me up through Germany and Denmark as far as Kolding then it was a hard right and across a series of bridges and islands.

But I saw little of this as I was travelling overnight in a sleeper car. I woke soon after Kolding, which is a shame because it is a pretty town.

After Copenhagen it was the short hop through the tunnel and over the bridge to Malmo.

This is as far as Deutsche Bahn could take me for some reason and the rest of the journey was booked through SJ, the state-owned railway company.

SJ would not post the tickets to me in the UK (in rejected my post code format) so I had to collect them from a machine in the station. This worked well and any worries about being becalmed in Malmo were quickly dispersed.

Large parts of Sweden (and Norway) are being rebuilt so the journey to Oslo had to be made in stages. First there was the regular train to Goteborg, then a replacement bus service to Trollhattan and finally a Norwegian train in to Oslo, arriving just in time for a Pizza and a scramble over the new opera house.

I left St Pancras on Friday at 14:30 and arrived in Oslo on Saturday at 20:45. The journey was easy and there was plenty of time at each change to catch a meal and even to see some of the town before moving on.

Now that I am in Oslo the holiday really begins but getting here has been part of the adventure. This is much better than flying.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a very interesting journey. I am from Malmö, so I could have given you some ideas where to go, should you have got stuck!

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