To The Arctic Circle
I was really confused, was I going to be an hour early? The train filled quickly as we travelled towards Oslo S but 2 hours later and we arrived meaning I was 1 hour earlier than originally planned.
Oslo was modern and efficient I wandered round the large railway station at least twice. I managed to avoid spending any money whilst waiting for my next train. There was a piano close to one of the station entrances and someone was just sat playing. I sat on a bench for a while listening to them. After about 15 minutes they stopped picked up their bag and headed for their train.
I headed to platform 19 for the overnight train to Trondheim. I was 30 minutes early but the train was next to the platform. I filmed for a while and then walked along the platform to my carriage passing the sleeper cars. I wondered if I would be able to sleep on a train in a normal seat. I had slept on aircraft before so I couldn’t think of a reason why not. I soon found my seat, however there was someone already sat in it and they flatly refused to move. I moved further along the carriage to an empty seat.
The train carriage was extremely quiet so I had plenty of room. The seats were soft and fairly comfortable, they reclined and had a lot of leg room. This train carriage would have put any airline to shame. Once the train departed I settled down for the night. The conductor checked my ticket but wasn’t concerned about the seat discrepancy.
Sleeping on the train wasn’t easy I kept waking up because some part of me either ached or had gone numb. It helped when the conductor turned off the carriage lights precisely at midnight. I was warm enough but couldn’t find a good sleeping position. Every time I did wake up there was more and more snow building up outside the window. The train had a display above the carriage door I watched the temperature Drop -5 degrees then -9 degrees. As I arrived at Trondheim it was 06:47 on Monday morning.
Walking along a snow-covered platform when it’s -9 degrees is fun as the snow was solid. I was excited about my next train because after all this is why I had travelled all this way. I was about to take a journey on the famous Trondheim to Bodo railway. A 500 mile journey into the Arctic circle. I was looking forward to seeing the spectacular scenery I had been promised from the Netflix programme called the Northern Railway.
I checked the timetable, found the correct platform but as it was so cold. I went into the main hall to keep warm and ended up paying twice to use the toilet once. I waited until 30 minutes before my train was due to leave and headed for the platform. I had walked down the steps and under the track to get to the main hall. Just to my right was a lift for disabled people. I thought I could use it to save the steps, it turns out I couldn’t as it only went up about four feet to the platform I was sat next too. So now I had to go down even more stairs to get back to my platform.
I stood inside the entrance to the platform with other people who were getting the same train. It was cold but not as cold as the platform outside. The train was due to leave at 07:38 and I was determined to get to my seat before someone stole it. The train arrived and I pounced on it to find my seat, crap! I had been given an aisle seat and had taken this journey to see the stunning views Norway had to offer. So I stole the window seat making me just as bad as they guy who stole my seat on the previous train.
As soon as we left the station I fell asleep so for the first 2 hours of this famous journey I wasn’t going to see any of it. Luckily for me though but not for some of the other passengers, whilst I was asleep the train broke down. I thought we had arrived at a station but it turned out we had been stationary for over an hour and the train was going to be 2 hours and 40 minutes late. This information was given by a lovely young lady who worked in the buffet car. I had nipped along to get a coffee to wake myself up and she gave me a hot dog, coffee and the advice all for free.
Before the train finally received its replacement engine, I managed to obtain a further free coffee. I was to end up eating those hot dogs for the next 3 days. I ate my free hot dog and drank my coffee at my stolen seat. There wasn’t a commotion and no seemed to be complaining everyone just took it in their stride. At 10:40 an engine was hooked up and off we went.
There wasn’t a moment which was boring the scenery just kept changing lakes, fjords, pine forests, mountains, tunnels and then lots and lots of snow. We climbed to the top of a mountain range which had stations and picture postcard villages in and even a couple of large towns. Throughout the journey the temperature dropped from -5 all the way to -14. I was so glad I was inside a nice comfortable warm train.
We passed a frozen waterfall that looked very majestic it had just a small trickle of water flowing from it but the rest was just frozen water in mid-air. The view could only be described as Christmas. All day it didn’t really get light it stayed as twilight throughout my whole journey along the Northern Railway. Just after 3pm I decided to get some more sleep.
We rolled into Bodo some 2 hours late, only 9 people disembarking from this magnificent train. It was dark and cold but warmer than the mountains at only -1 degree.
Inside the Arctic Circle. Bodo, Norway
Bodo Pronounced Bood. Is a place I will go back when I have more time. I didn’t get time to explore but after all this micro-adventure was about the train journey.
The hostel was very easy to find as it’s situated in the railway station. It was dark and very cold so I was glad to discover the entrance. There are in fact two ways to get in the hostel the first is a lift inside the station building and the second around the front of the station. I opted for the front door and stairs because I didn’t discover the lift until the next day. The floor was very slippery and it looked as if the ice had thawed and re-froze.
I had my new ski pants on so I was actually a bit hot but rather that than the alternative. I made my way upstairs to the reception area situated on floor 2. There was a guy already checking in for a few nights as he was planning on exploring Bodo. He was born in Newcastle but had moved to Australia when he was 8 years old and now was travelling around for a year and decided to visit the Arctic circle.
The receptionist had worked in the English Lake District and knew my hometown well. We chatted about my cycling tours and wild camping, it turns out he does the same. I received my room key and a voucher for breakfast and one for discount on an evening meal. I was to be in a dormitory number 204, I was offered a private room but my budget didn’t push to it. I wandered the corridors until I found a door with 201 – 210 above it. I decided that since I had found my room it was probably a good idea to go and eat in the station cafe first. I would after all not be able to leave my bag in the room on its own.
I had only eaten ham and cheese barmcakes and hot dogs for the past two days. So I decided to grab a Norwegian meal in the station cafe.
I had made a note in my journal to repost my Facebook feed at this point so here it is.
Flight is booked for Sunday to Oslo, Norway which will involve 4520 km of travel from home and about 20 hours on a train to get into the arctic circle. I will be filming the journey, then on Monday and Tuesday filming episode 1 for Travel-Tactics. Very little sleep in the next 2 weeks traveling to:- Manchester Airport, Torp, Trondheim and then a trip on Norway’s Famous Northern Railway which is a 500 mile, 10 hour journey through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. I will arrive in Bodo (pronounced Bood) on Monday night, followed by some intense filming and hopefully get to see the northern lights. The plan is to sleep under the stars, currently -4c so thermals and lots of layers, I hope I can operate the camera with my gloves on. TravelTactics.co.uk Launching Jan 2017.
I’m good and enjoying every minute. Night train okay but not loads of sleep. This morning 07:38 Trondheim to Bodo is warm and comfy. I fell asleep for the first 2 hours but the Norwegian railway company is amazing. I woke up thinking we are at a station, turns out the engine has broken down and we have a 2 hour delay until another engine arrived. So i haven’t missed any of the scenery because they parked up to let me sleep, wasn’t that nice. Also buffet car free in the event of a delay so im fed and watered too! Oh! Seems free wi-fi here too. Only when the train has power and it just went off i guess it’s power off when connecting a new engine. Replacement engine just arrived and hooking up ttfn
19:08 I’m in the train station cafe after checking into the hostel. Room 204 bed 7 upper bunk. 2 guys already in bed and online. Miserable both of them, one said nothing. I spoke and said if i snore wake me. They now think I snore and they won’t sleep, more like I won’t sleep.
Once I’m in my bunk I’ll stay there all night. Last time I slept in a dorm I snored and was jabbed in the back by the guy below me.
I’ve ordered a half chicken and chips with a beer from the owner of this very quiet cafe.
Weather is overcast and it was snowing earlier but it’s turned into rain. So no northern lights.
It’s only 7:16pm so after I’ve eaten I’ll check out the common lounge area.
I’ll hit the shower and shave tonight and then I feel good for sleeping. I think I’ll sleep in my bag rather than sheets as I doubt their brand new. There a bit crispy if you ask me.
It was dark inside the room and there were already two guys in situ. The first in a lower bunk opposite the door staring at his mobile phone. The next was in the lower corner bunk staring at his phone. I said hi and was surprised to not get a reply both were very engrossed in their phones. I didn’t want to be above them so I went around the corner to an empty bunk.
The room was fairly large and was L shape, the two guys were on the long wall and my bunk was between a short wall but close to two windows. These windows looked out over the trains and platform I had just arrived on. I was a little nervous as it had been a long time since I had slept in a dormitory. However Bodo was too cold to wild camp. I decided to sleep in the top bunk so I could see out of the window.