Sunday, 7 August 2016

Norway: Hardangervidda

DSC_5666 Our plans for Monday were all carefully laid. Train from Oslo to Hardangervidda, probably, errm, the station just beyond Geilo, and walk up to the Tuva "turisthytte". But first, breakfast, and singing Happy Birthday to Miriam. Sadly I'd left her present - Exploding Kittens - at home. Miriam and I went off to find the DNT and buy some maps and get the "hut key" - which in the end we found no need for, the unguarded huts were just left open, never mind it is a nice souvenier - and cunningly went to their administrative offices not the public shop. However, the shop was nearby. However, it didn't open until 10. However, we happily sat in a nearby cafe and wrote up our diaries.

In the DNT we get an overall "route planning map" which turns out to be very useful, it covers all of southern Norway and usefully shows you which maps you need; and maps for Geilo and Finse, which cover our intended walk across the Hardangervidda. This is a semi-random choice based largely on my having been to Finse once cross-country skiing oh-so-many years ago with Mark Leonard, Anne-Marie Nuttall and Steve X.

The next step went well - we checked out of the hotel in good time, and strolled casually to the station, noticing as we did a number of what were probably Syrian refugees, some begging, some setting up for shoeshine. The first flaw was Daniel having left his watch at the hotel. Never mind: he has time - without too much panic - to dash back and get it. The second was more serious: the train was sold out. This is Norway: they are solid folk and would not think to cram excess people onto a train; when it is full, it is full. So is the next one. Oops. A helpful chap points out that buses go to Geilo, and so they do, but not obviously beyond. Anyway, as Agile folk we switch to a bus trip, and a somewhat later arrival. More seriously, our walk in to Tuva has just grown by several hours and our time available contracted by the same; so we need a hotel in Geilo; M picks us the grandiose Dr Holm's Hotel which is far more than we need but pleasant anyway. Notice that here and elsewhere I an not giving any prices. This is because Norway is expensive. The only way to survive with your sanity intact is to ignore prices. Their restaurant even has a proper genuine-French maitre d'.

The bus trip is fine. It has a loo. I read the Economist, look at the scenery - we get to see much the same as we would have from the train, indeed we stop at several station car parks along the way - and sleep.

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