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Day Nineteen: Norway

August 19, 2006

For train aficionados, the Oslo-Bergen rail line is the cat’s pajamas.

“Or the bee’s knees,” suggests Orange Bear.

(Oslo-Bergen train, photo by atcy)

Snaking along Norway’s western coast, the Bergensbanen features 182 tunnels and takes riders through fjord country and over “the roof of Norway” — the vast, treeless Hardangervidda located 4,000 feet above seal level. Finse, the highest point on the Hardanger plateau, substituted for the ice planet Hoth in the 1980 classic The Empire Strikes Back.

“Funny, I saw hikers. I saw Gore-Tex. No tauntauns.”

Norwegian artist Edvard Munch set his iconic painting, The Scream (1893), against the backdrop of the Oslo Fjord.

“Is that good or bad?” asks Orange Bear.

The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo showcases three well-preserved Norse ships that are over 1,000 years old. The Oseberg ship is a classic example of the Vikings’ naval craftsmanship right down to the stylized prow and stern.

In 1947, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl took that old-time maritime know-how a step further when he and and five other men sailed a balsa-wood raft (the Kon-Tiki) 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean. You can find the Kon-Tiki boat on display at a museum, also in Oslo.

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