17 December 2010

Molde - Norway

Next destination – Molde …an overnight train journey from Bergen to Oslo and then another train journey from Oslo to Åndalsnes. The latter was divided into 2 parts…Oslo to Dombås, which was beautiful…as expected of Norway. But the Dombås to Åndalsnes journey on what is called the Rauma Railway was breathtakingly, mind-blowingly beautiful. Not only for the sights but also because it was like a guided tour with a recorded voice in the train pointing out sights and providing information. The train actually slows down at some places for us to enjoy the sights. So much so that we did same journey on the way back but there was no sense of boredom. As if that was not enough, they also handout these very pretty brochures with the highlights of the journey.

River RaumaDombås is at the highest point on the railway line so very soon into the journey we experienced such sheer mountain precipices. The River Rauma runs along the railway line and train crosses the river on quaint wooden,granite and stone bridges several times in order to cope with the huge change in altitude. At one place its like hair pin bends using both sides of the valley…now the river on your left and now on your right and me as usual jumping from one side to the other! The Kylling Bridge is quite spectacular in its height especially considering was built by the local people with only the help of bridge experts.

The whole line was quite impressive – especially the Stavem Turning Tunnel which is really an engineering feat. The train almost completes a circle inside the mountain within this1340 mt tunnel. Trolltindene It emerges out of the tunnel pointing in the other direction only 19 mts over the place from where it entered the tunnel!

And finally in the last leg of the journey…the impressive Troll peaks. Trolls are creatures from Norwegian fairy tales. Said to live in the forests and mountains, they are enormously large, ugly and stupid and turn to stone if they are exposed to sunlight. Trolltindene (Troll Peaks) are massive at 1800 mts above sea level and legend is that these are actually trolls that were turned to stone when caught in sunlight and so many of these peaks are named after Trolls. Bishop, King and QueenTrollveggen is next…Europe’s highest perpendicular mountain wall …total drop is 1800 mts and 1000 mts is a sheer precipice.

At Åndalsnes which is surrounded by peaks, we are asked to look for the Bishop, the Queen and the King! I honestly could not make out the King or Queen, though the Bishop was easily identifiable.

From there to Molde by bus - the town of Jazz and Roses. Guess we were visiting at the end of the season, so we didn't see as many Roses blooming everywhere as expected. But we did see the famous Rose Maiden – a bronze statue of a girl with a basket of roses!

The town itself was quite beautiful and we decided to just walk around using the map which showed 2 trails to follow to cover the sites of the town. Eating berries, playing on swings and posing among roses, we finally reached the Romsdal Open Museum…even though it was past closing hours a gentlemen said we were welcome to explore around inside!!!

Molde Panaroma Molde Panaroma
From there we climbed up to the Varden…initially we couldn’t find the way to go up, and nearly decided to give up…but eventually we went and it was so worth it  - the Molde panorama was awesome.What Glee! There are 222 mountain peaks in this panaroma…and using this map like thing one can point to and see each one. 

As we returned to town we saw this really nice statue. The sculptor had captured the glee on the child’s face so well. From there to the pier where I felt one can see one of the best  panorama-views in Norway… a large bay with hundreds of high mountains and various islands.

To end our day was ‘an eat all you can Pizza time’. Because we ordered vegetarian and I guess we were the only ones…so we didn’t get slices…just one HUGE pizza. We were so wrong when we thought we wouldn’t be able to finish even half. That’s what fresh, mountain air does to you…we cleaned it all up!

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