Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->2008-->Norway.-->Day 30

Day 30-1. Kongsvinger - bus to Oslo - an afternoon being a tourist.

Distance D 9.09 km Max 32.0 km/h Time 0.28:28 Average 19.0 km/h
Distance S 9.37 km Max 31.5 km/h Time 0.32:09 Average 17.4 km/h

Today started nice and sunny which was good. Whilst I was doing the washing up Damae found two guests in the tent hiding under bags. Luckily she hadn't managed to squash either of them whilst empying the outer tent. Like us they weren't in a particular hurry and were only a short distance from the tent when I returned. By half eleven we were on our way. We re-traced our way back to the train station in Kongsvinger, identified the platform we needed and stood around waiting. An old folding bike caught my eye but otherwise there was not so much to do at the station. Still we had our tickets and were looking forward to the day out in Oslo, and all we needed now was a train. One arrived, but then things didn't go according to plan.

A conductor, who was clearly looking the worse for wear, poked his head out of the goods wagon and said rather abruptly in Norwegian, "No room too much food" and refused to let us on board. We wondered what food it was and how much of it would be needed in a train for there to be not enough room for two bikes. We asked the Station Master if he could help. He had a few words with the conductor, who was resolutely against trying to find a space on his otherwise empty train. The interaction didn't quite match with this poster which detailed the ways that the NSB satisfied travellers needs for good and accurate information. I mentioned to the Station Master that perhaps the NSB hadn't quite lived up to the expectations on the poster. He mumbled something as he edged away before disappearing completely.

A little unsettled by this experience we realised we were not going to make it to Oslo today in time for our boat trip. The next train was something like two hours later. I phoned Per-Christian, who after a few moments thought and a quick look on the internet pointed out that there was an express bus service to Oslo that left from outside the station. We could get off at a stop before Oslo and Per-Christian could pick us up with our bikes. He also told us we could return the train tickets and get a refund.

We thanked him and headed back to the Narvesen that functioned as ticket sales office for both bus and train. Here we were told we could get tickets for Oslo on the bus and that there should be space for our bikes. However as we had bought our train tickets yesterday we could not get an instant refund. This was only possible if you wanted a refund on the day the tickets had been bought. We would have to fill out a form and send it up to the NSB. Grumble grumble rules we said, and paid for the bus tickets. We ended up filling out the form and a few weeks after our holiday had ended a letter came back from the NSB with a refund (less the inevitable administration costs).

We waited outside the Narvesen a while and the bus eventually arrived. After a quick word with the bus driver we removed our panniers (thanks be to Ortlieb quick release panniers) and slid our bikes into the capacious boot at the rear of the bus. The panniers went in the side lockers and with a sigh of relief we climbed on board. (Since this experience we have made use of coach services a few times, it is cheaper than taking a train and the express coach networks goes to many places where there are no trains.

The road trip was uneventful, travelling through scenery reminiscent of yesterdays cycle albeit a little more varied and in the sun. At least Damae was happy as she practiced for a part in 'The King and I'. We got off the bus short of Oslo and as we were putting panniers on our bikes, Per-Christian appeared. We wheeled the bikes to his car, filled his boot with panniers and put his bikes on the back rack.

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