Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Narvik to Lulea

Before I left Oslo I had looked at the Swedish Railway website to see if I could get a ticket on the train that day. It said that it was booked out but when I looked at the carriages, I saw that they were virtually empty. I asked somebody who looked like he might know what he was doing whether I could get on the train and he said it was fine. He was going to drive the train!

I found a good seat and the train started off. The conductor turned up and looked at my ticket for the train the prior day and was fine with it when I told him about the plane delay. He looked at his list of reserved seats and asked me to move to another seat which was a single by itself. You can imagine how relieved and exhilarated I felt. The real journey was beginning.

The matching seat to mine on the other side of the carriage.

I had done this journey 40 years ago in the reverse direction. I had forgotten how stunning the ride through the mountains was. I was so glad that I decided to take a chance on Narvik rather than go directly to Helsinki. As my sister Clare pointed out to me -

“The journey not the arrival matters.” ― T.S. Eliot

I had been looking forward to seeing Narvik again after an absence of 40 years. Not that I remember too much about it except that it was quite a slog up the hill to the Youth Hostel and that I went into a bakery with the most delicious smell of bread. Norwegian bread is often heavy, dense and wonderful.

So this was about it for Narvik.

The road into Narvik.

Yes, it's a fjord.

It reminded me of Milford Sound in New Zealand.

The end of the fjord.

Many of the older houses in Norway are painted this shade of red.

It's a wild and woolly landscape.

This must be a skier's heaven. At every station another bunch of tired skiers climbed slowly onto the train dragging their skis. Most of the skiers seemed to be cross country rather than down hill.

Lots of tunnels and overhangs to cope with avalanches.

Each station seemed to have some interesting buildings.

A very rocky area.

The reason for the existence of the train line is iron ore. You can read about it here. To be honest, there were only a few iron ore trains that went the other way. There were also some trains loaded with containers. Since their is only one track, our train had to wait at some stations for the on-coming train to pass.

Evergreens were not common. Mostly it was birch denuded of leaves.

Downhill ski slopes.

The last half of the journey is on a flat plain and frankly not all that interesting compared to the mountains.

The train changed direction at Boden so I now had the sun shining in the window which makes taking photos difficult. These were the only windmills I saw.

Interesting building. Most of the towns and villages were bereft of ornate structures like this. 

It was only as the train gor near to Lulea that the snow started to disappear.

The train arrived on time at Lulea. It was a wonderful trip and I would highly recommend it. Make sure you reserve a seat on the northern side of the train.

No comments:

Post a Comment