Thanks to you all for voting and confirming my destiny on this 99 country journey which meant I had to make it to Norway in February before my 100th country adventure to Tunisia. This was an easier border crossing than most and I chose train to be my way to enter my 99th country. I’m not a big fan of flying and I didn’t fancy another death bus journey like the Ethiopia or Nagorno Karabkh ones in days gone by. So train it was.
To book your train from Sweden to Norway, you have two main options these days:
1. Book it online in advance.
2. Book it at the train station.
So I decided to book my ticket online, with the help of my travelling girlfriend Panny Yu who had a working computer at the time. Yes, in my entire recent travels in Sweden, Denmark, Christiania, Norway (and some of Finland), I didn’t have a computer so things have been a nightmare recently.
The train cost me 449 Norwegian Kroners and was booked through NSB website. Thanks to my mate Daniel Evans, I was able to print the ticket at his place in Angelholm in Sweden. Next stop was Gothenburg and after touring the city, I headed to Gothenburg main train station ready for the trip ahead. It was the 17.55 pm train.
I boarded the train to Oslo and sat down ready for the crazy journey. Opposite me were two ladies, both local. Darkness was falling as I waved goodbye to Sweden (for the fourth time).
I got talking to the two girls on the train, Lisa came from Horter in Norway and would be crossing the border with me before getting off at Moss. The other lady was a bit older and was Swedish, her name was Eira and she came from Trollhattan in Sweden and would be getting off just before the border.
The train ride was superb – trains in Scandinavia are clean, fast and efficient and I loved the trains in Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. It was already dark as we left Gothenberg and after chatting to the ladies and writing some notes, I fancied a beer to celebrate being in my 99th country.
However Lisa told me that the train had no bar on it. I went for a walk and indeed she was right – they had just soft drinks and tea and coffee. So I planned, like before to head to the Scotsman Pub in Oslo on arrival to celebrate.
Over the course of the chat with Lisa I mentioned that I was more excited for Norway as it was my 99th country and she chatted to me about Edvard Munch. The famous Norwegian artist with his Skreek painting. Lisa shows me a keyring of the painting and I recognised it straight away. As a gift to me, Lisa presented it to me on the train just as we crossed the border. I was so happy – thanks Lisa!!
I was now in Norway, country 99 and I was excited. However it was pitch black and dark outside and there was no border control, passport check or even sign that we had changed countries. At 19.57 pm we pulled up in the town of Halden and this was our first stop in Norway. I headed to the door to breathe in my first breath of Norwegian Air.
Lisa got off the train at 21.06 pm at Moss and my train came to a halt at 21.49 pm in Oslo.
With my backpacks I made my way through the cold winter streets to the Scotsman Pub to celebrate. I was alone and I couldn’t even get online (my laptop was broken) and it felt a bit annoying that I couldn’t get onto Facebook to post on my page about it, especially as my readers had voted for this country. The Scotsman was open, lively and everyone was in good spirits. It was a Thursday night!
As I sipped that beer in the Scotsman (which was a local beer and cost £6) it felt like a nice chilled out moment to ponder. But it was on with the show. I spent my time in Norway in Voss, Gudvangen, Flam, Myrdal, Oslo and Bergen and loved my stays in the Hostel Montana, the Clarion Collection Christiania Teater and the Olympiatoppen Sport Hotell.
I’ll have more to come on Norway, as ever playing catch up with myself is the hardest part of being a travel blogger!
Here are the videos from the day I visited my 99th country: