Travel by train and boat in Sweden and Norway 2014
July 13 to July 16

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  • Page Links to continue the trip
    Tromso 4
    back to Borlange 2
    back to Southern Sweden 1

    Our 3 week trip involved travel from extreme southern Sweden through to extreme northern Norway and was all about people connections and family history. The totally custom trip was planned over about 6 months without the aid of travel agents or packaged tours. Coordination with relatives and friends was by email and Facebook connections. Travel tickets and hotel bookings were arranged by direct Internet search and by using booking sites. Microsoft OneNote was used to organize the planning information and calendar. We packed light so that we could walk a distance with our stuff in and out of public transport in one go. Gary used 2 medium wheeled suit cases plus a good sized backpack and Grace used a small wheeled suitcase, a purse and a handbag (later changed out for a small backpack for Grace). We washed clothes twice on the trip. Two smart phones, a digital camera and an IPad Mini were used for communication, photos and reference on the trip. We informed our credit card companies that charges would come from places along the way.

    The catalyst for the whole trip was to attend a 3 day Anders Anderson reunion in Tromso Norway. Tromso with a population of 67000 people is known as the gateway to the Arctic and has been known as the Paris of the North. The Anders Anderson reunion for Gary was to connect with the homeland and people of Grandmother Halfrida Sebulonsen, who left for East Lake Lillian Minnesota in 1900 at the age of 13. Many Norwegians had emigrated to Lake Lillian from the Tromso area starting in 1862 - 1864. Also for Gary we traveled to Gagnef Sweden and connected with relatives of Grandfather August Erickson. Many Swedes emigrated from the Gagnef area in Dalarna to Lake Lillian starting in 1869.

    The trip for Grace was to visit relatives and follow the 1978 notes and photos left by her mother Ida and father Alex Swanson when they visited southern Sweden .

    The story continues with Grace and I back in Borlange after our good adventures in the Gagnef area .

    Next day, Sunday morning, was for exploring Borlange, returning the Hertz car at the Gustav Wasa Best Western Hotel, and walking from there to the nearby train station.

    Train Travel

    The Tågab train ride north from the 2 track station at Borlange to Mora was uneventful and takes only 74 minutes .

    Our plan at Mora was to take the Inlandsbanen train 6 hours and 20 minutes north to Östersund. The Inlandsbanan is a special tourist train with many local stops along the way and features individual hosted carriages without access doors to get from one car to another. That was the day of a car train accident that had happened before we were to board. So after waiting at the station we were provided with a coach bus to get to Ostersund by 22:00 that evening. We checked in to the Hotel Jamteborg for the night and walked in old town for shopping next morning where we purchased a pair of Swedish blue jeans and small back pack for Grace.

    In the afternoon we walked to the station and boarded a modern train to travel west .

    The ticket from Ostersund to Trondheim Norway covered the travel to the border at Storlein, the bus down the mountain into Norway and a Norwegian train the rest of the way to the station at Trondheim. We arrived about 20:00 in the evening and waited in the dreary station for 3.5 hours for the night train to Bode. The toilets at the station were pay toilets with credit card access only. Grace commented that we would have paid more in international fees than toilet fee. No attendant on duty at the station. Needed NOK before arriving as there were no ATM's either. Good that we had stopped at a bank in Ostersund who exchanged our Swedish K to NOK.

    Northern Norway 2014

    The night train ride north was good on smooth rails. In July It is light all night in northern Norway and we got little sleep in the coach seats with a full train and young adults traveling to a music concert. Not so good also was the wet floors in the toilets. Over all, We had planned the ground travel by the lakes along the fjords over the bridges and through the tunnels for the scenery and it was worth the extra time. The rail line terminates at Bodo because of the mountains and fjords farther north.

    Hurtigruten Line M.S. Lofoten

    At Bode on Tuesday, we walked to the terminal, had lunch and just waited several hours to board the MS Lofoten of the Hurtigruten line.

    The trip from Bodo to Tromso is almost 24 hours. Our small inner cabin was on the lowest deck of 5 on this smallest and oldest of the line. It was built in 1964, refurbished in 2003 and is well maintained and clean. It does not have an elevator nor does it carry cars like the larger boats of the line. The ships also carry cargo to and from ports along the way .

    There are 12 ships in the line that follow along from Bergin to Kirkennes in six days. So at any of the stops there is one ship going North and one going South. The largest Has a swimming pool, 8 decks, carries 1000 passengers and 47 cars.You get the ship that fits your schedule.

    This large unknown cruise ship is typical of others that go along the coast.

    On the way, the ship went into the Trollfjord for us to go through the very narrow neck and see the steep mountain sides plunge into the water.

    It seemed like we should touch the sides. Inside, the fjord widens out enough for the ship to turn around with side thrusters and go back out.

    We were served drinks in souvenir mugs of the event; a man and woman of the crew entertained us dressed in troll costumes.

    In mid-July it is light all night above the arctic circle but we slept through some of the stops. We walked the harbor area with many restaurants and shops at Svolvaer where we found an ATM to get some NOK.

    Inger Giaever and my cousin Herulv Sorensen surprised us by boarding at Finnsnes, the last stop before Tromso. They had taken a fast boat down especially to meet us and escort us the last 2 hours and 45 minutes of our journey.

    Herulv and Grace

    Inger and I


    On the dock at Tromso.

    Page Links to continue the trip
    Tromso 4
    back to Borlange 2
    back to Southern Sweden 1

    We are so happy and thankful for the friends and relatives that helped to make this a very memorable trip for us.

    Gary and Grace Gauer 2014