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Exploring Oslo and Hiking in Finse

I am a little behind in posting this next round of photos. I am actually presently back in the Netherlands. Below are some photos from Norway; look for a video bike tour of Copenhagen's greenspaces soon!


David King's friend Francesco met me as I stepped off the train. Francesco totally set me up. He took me out to lunch, oriented me to the transit system, and helped me find the maps I needed for my backpacking excursion. Francesco... if you are reading this, thanks again. Your kindness was a great introduction to Norway.

Six days in Norway was not quite enough, but it was expensive and I figure it is always good to leave a place when you are enjoying it. The first three days I checked out museums and other sights by day and the Oslo tango scene by night (more on that later). My favorite museum was the Nobel Peace Center. They are having a special exhibit starting in September about the civil rights movement from Martin Luther King Jr. to the election of Barak Obama.

My mom, Leslie Labbe, was an American Field Service student in Oslo in the 1950s (when she was 16). This is the house she lived in.

Here's the school she attended.

Here's a cute little Oslo freeway. Only four lanes. Adorable! Isn't it? Compared to the freeways in the USA, it is like a miniature golf course. Perhaps the Columbia River Crossing planners in Portland could be inspired.

Oslo has a large wilderness park on to the North and west of the city, much like Forest Park. The Nordmarka goes on for miles. I only hiked a little ways in but got a taste for the coniferous forests that surround Oslo.

On my way to the Nordmarka trailhead I came across this group of young mountain bikers out on a field trip. No signs off single-track in the Nordmarka but lots of wide gravel trails for riders.

I went to the historical museum and took in some viking art. Most of it was rather of gruesome. In this scene someone is getting stabbed with a big sword and blood is splitting out.

The Norwegian maritime museum had some familiar looking romantic paintings of Norwegian maritime scenes. Here are three.

I thought this was a funny name for a Nordic cruise line company.

Check out this schnowzer! I saw this profile and wondered if my Rosenfeld relatives didn't actually come from Norway instead of Germany. This is a statue of Roald Amundsen outside the FRAM museum in Oslo. The FRAM is a massive and hulled wooden ship (the strongest, they say) that carried crews on ventures to the North and South poles.

The train ride to Finse (toward Bergen) was gorgeous.

I got off the train at Finse and started hiking. I stopped at this little bridge for lunch.

Best friends: Me, cheese, and prunes.

Alpine stream feeding into Finse Lake. (I know a guy named Fremont who is an expert at crossing these. I know a guy named Sven who isn't.)

I lost the trail the first day out. Luckily I had my binoculars so I could find the trail markers. But when the fog set in I had to pay extra close attention.

Ringed Plover at my first night camp.

Cold fog and trail markers on day two.

This is little bird, which is hard too see, is a Meadow Pipit, I think.

While this little fluff ball is a Whinchat. There were tons of these curious little fellows flying around me as I hiked.

I struggled to identify this raptor. It is either a Common Buzzard or Rough-Legged Buzzard. Based on distribution and habitat I think it is probably the latter. “Buzzard” is the rather unappealing European term for medium-sized raptors (smaller than eagles and larger than falcons. Our general term for this class of birds is hawk.

Hardangerjokulen is the name of the massive circular glacier (5km in diameter) in the mountains south of Finse. It flows in every direction, sending these huge tongues of ice out into the surrounding alpine landscape.

Some form of herbaceous rubus species. I finally ate one of them: tasty and fairly sweet.

I camped at a lovely spot my second night. Chris (my younger brother) thought this picture looked like it came from an L.L. Bean catalog. Well… when the sun came out and I was kickin’ in the heather, it felt pretty much like being in an L.L. Bean catalog.


When I got back to Finse I snapped a shot of this cool little train bike. I am not sure if this combines the best in both modes of travel, but it is certainly novel.

Here’s the train arriving in Finse to take me back to Oslo. It is coming out of a 10KM tunnel that runs west of Finse! I went through another 10.7km tunnel on the route between Finse and Oslo. The Norwegians will drill through anything to lay railroad tracks.

Alright. That's it for now. More soon.

Posted by jim.labbe 23:58 Archived in Norway

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Hey Jim - the NYT covered Amsterdam today: http://bit.ly/3nFpg1

by Jessica

Thanks Jessica. Celine and I stayed in the Jordaan district, at a really inexpensive place with a room right on a canal. I am staying there again later this month. I will have to check out this ambassador of dutch beer.

xo, jim

by jim.labbe

Also! A friend told me about "Friends of Bikes," a homestay match program for bicyclists. Supposed to be cheap and nice. Their website seems only to be in Dutch, which is a disadvantage but probably keeps it non-touristy...http://www.vriendenopdefiets.nl/

by Jessica

Hi Jim, I actually looked at the Friends on a Bike site and it is also in English! So that would be way cool to do...... get a little more in the Dutch culture by being at people's homes....... so awesome, I want to come too!!!

by Lucia

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