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Bergen or Oslo? Train or fly...

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May 22nd, 2011, 06:14 AM
  #1
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Bergen or Oslo? Train or fly...

Good morning.

Would you spend more time in Bergen (by slighting Oslo), and, would you fly to Oslo from Bergen or take the train?

I am heading to Norway in early July. I land in Bergen and fly home from Oslo. I am also taking a hiking tour with Backroads which starts the day after I arrive in Bergen.

The first full day when I land I will have to explore Bergen, but of course I'll be somewhat jetlagged and the next morning I will take the train to Voss to meet the Backroads team.

Our hiking tour is 5 nights, and we come back to Bergen the following Friday at noon. My flight from Oslo leaves Sunday morning.

I currently plan to leave Bergen as soon as the ferry docks - catch a train to Oslo which means 7 hours through scenery, arriving at Oslo in time for dinner. One full day (Saturday) in Oslo and Sunday early morning departure.

I could alternatively spend the rest of the day in Bergen (with no jet lag), get up early the next morning and head to Oslo. If I take the train it means nothing more than dinner and a stroll in Oslo and departure the next morning. It is light until quite late so I imagine I can go to the sculpture park, at least (if it is open late). But no museums and no sightseeing in Oslo, really. Just a place to sleep, window shop, eat and then leave.

If I fly I would miss the train ride... but given that I will be spending the entire week hiking in mountains, then on a glacier, boating on the fjords and so on... will missing this 7 hour ride be dreadful? Should I fly to Oslo regardless of which day I leave? I could feasibly spend the day in Bergen (if I can drop my luggage somewhere that is) and fly to Oslo that evening... or even fly to Oslo the next morning and actually have an afternoon in Oslo.

It seems that no matter which I choose I am giving myself very little time in Oslo which deserves more than a day, so perhaps I should go for broke and leave Oslo to another trip entirely...

Thoughts? Thanks.
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May 22nd, 2011, 06:38 AM
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I would suggest that you fly to Oslo the day that you arrive back in Bergen after the hiking trip. I am a firm believer in doing the scenic train ride, but since you would have already had 5 says of hiking scenery then I would opt for the additional time in Oslo. I personally felt that Bergen can be seen in a day, even with jet lag, but that Oslo has more to offer and deserves at least a day and a half, or more. Save it for another trip-hmm-perhaps. but what if that other trip never comes--I vote for "do it now".
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May 22nd, 2011, 06:50 AM
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We also had to make the plane vs. train decision (in the opposite direction) last summer and opted to fly. It cut our door-to-door time by at least three hours and gave us an extra half day in Oslo. While we liked Bergen, I would have preferred a little more time in Oslo. Like you, we were going to be spending four days in the fjords, so we didn't feel like we'd be missing much in terms of scenery by skipping the train. Actually, we ended up having some pretty stunning views of the glaciers, etc. from the air.

Enjoy! Sounds like a great trip.
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May 22nd, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Great minds think and advise alike. I would fly to Oslo and see the viking ships, the city hall, etc. during the day and the park and waterfront in the evening as you describe.

You will be missing the train scenery Voss-Oslo. It is quite scenic around Myrdal, then becomes nice, but not dramatic, on to Oslo. It might be possible, depending on how late that day that you meet your group in Voss, that you take an early from Bergen on to the station past Myrdal (I'll look it up if you are interested), get off, and catch the next train back to Voss and your group. I remember the station was set in a high valley with glacier visible. It would require that the trains run often enough and that you are meeting your group in Voss late enough to make this possible.

We also had great views of the fjord area from the air when flying out of Oslo for Newark. I recommend a window seat.
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May 23rd, 2011, 04:14 AM
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Thanks for the feedback!

I think I will plan to fly out that afternoon. According to expedia there is a 4ish PM flight which will get me there after 5 PM. I think that gives me enough time to have lunch, wander, and still get to the airport. I imagine the airport is pretty small so I don't need to be there more than 90 minutes ahead of time and that's probably too much even. I'll have to find a place to stash my bags while I have lunch and wander.

Although, with the new news: Iceland volcano... I wonder if a train is probably a better idea - at least I know I won't be grounded.
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May 23rd, 2011, 04:22 AM
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ps. I note the airport is a 25 minute drive from Bergen itself. Once I'm there, I'm there. Any idea if the ferry has luggage storage? Or, if the little town where the airport is found has something to keep me occupied for 2 hours?
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May 23rd, 2011, 09:15 AM
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You might try the train station or if there is a bus station in Bergen for luggage storage. I've come across some other luggage storage options in other towns - an Internet cafe that stored luggage and a Hostel that stored for non-customers.
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May 27th, 2011, 06:05 AM
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About shops and dining at Bergen airport Flesland: http://www.avinor.no/en/airport/bergen/shopsanddining

I can highly recommend the train ride between Bergen and Oslo. A couple of years ago, when the Bergensbanen celebrated its 100th anniversary, the Norwegian National Broadcaster shoved every minute of the 7 h train ride in real time. Strangly enough it was a huge success, seemed as if all Norway watched parts of the program.
http://nrkbeta.no/2009/12/18/bergensbanen-eng/

When at the Viking ships in Oslo, perhaps have lunch at close by and scenic Lille Herber'n island. Two minutes boat ride, leaves all the time. http://www.sult.no/englishinformation.cfm
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May 31st, 2011, 03:41 AM
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Good morning everyone!

I am back from my weekend away.

Ms-Go, did you buy your tickets well in advance or the week of, etc? I imagine this volcano cloud is probably not going to be an issue now but I don't have time to waste if the airlines are going to cancel my flight and put me on one tomorrow.. I am thinking of waiting a few weeks yet. I don't have a lot of time to wait as my trip is only a month away!

Lastly, and I hope someone is still reading: are there ferocious mosquitos in Norway? We will be outside pretty much the entire time. I would have guessed not because it is so far north/cold, but, my Mom told me the mosquitos in Alaska will carry you away so there goes that theory...

thank you!
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May 31st, 2011, 03:56 AM
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Hi, just checked my e-mail archive, and it looks like I purchased our tickets about five weeks out (in mid June for July 24).

Others will have more experience with mosquitoes, but I don't recall any problems with them in July (we spent four days in the fjords)...and believe me, if there were mosquitoes around, they would have found me. I'm sure I took some spray as a precaution, though.
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May 31st, 2011, 04:37 AM
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We have our fair share of mosquitos here every now and then, yes. Summer highs are often around 75F. If it gets really bad, just spray yourself with some anti-mosquito things you can buy everywhere, and you'll be fine.
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May 31st, 2011, 11:10 AM
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We walked in Flam in fjord area late June/early July and did not have much trouble with insects. We, too, are attractive to biting insects.
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