I’m happy to say I’ve started on the slow journey to Norway through booking the first leg of my travels.
Booked in for the day after class finishes is a train trip from London to Kiel. Total travel time about 11 hours and I’ve managed to fit in a 24 hour stopover in Brussels to visit a friend for a day. Jan has said I can stay with his family in Kiel too and I think he will be travelling on the same train over to Brussels before continuing on through to Kiel the same day. My German neighbours in my flat kindly alerted me to this convenient stopover quirk in the booking with bahn.de which does make it a whole lot more attractive to spend that sum of money for the distance considered.
We had a couple of guests staying from Oslo for the weekend who travelled from Oslo Torp to Stansted for a grand total of £28 return. How do you compete in a market like that!!? It cost them more to travel from Stansted to Cambridge than it did to travel across the North Sea. Madness.
“I’ve always said the easiest way to become a millionaire is to start out a billionaire then go into the airline business.” – Richard Branson
After Kiel, I have an offer to stay with another friend in Copenhagen on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd, before I’ll need to get cracking onto Norway as it’s getting close to Christmas time after all! Train travel in Denmark looks like being the more expensive section of my journey but there are still relatively cheap ferry tickets to Kristiansand from the top of Denmark. If I get my timing correct then I should be able to be picked up in Kristiansand on the 23rd in the afternoon to get to Arendal where I’ll be spending Christmas with my girlfriend’s family.
What’s even more expensive than DSB trains in Denmark and completely ruled out one of my options was ferry travel from Kiel or Copenhagen to Oslo. Normally this would be a cost competitive option, but as it’s Christmas time Norwegian companies send their staff on Christmas breaks via the danske/tysk båter (Danish and German party ferries) so it seems to be not so cheap in this festive time of year…
A different ferry option which starts getting complicated in terms of timing is to take the train to Goteborg from Copenhagen, ferry to Frederikshavn in Denmark, short train over to Hirtshals and then ferry again over to Kristiansand. It seems to be viable on face value at least. And a nifty little website called Rome2Rio summarises the majority of that journey as the second option. I suspect however that one or more legs of this journey will have a higher price than anticipated though. Probably the 4 hour train ride to Sweden…
A number of people have also been talking about (and it’s just talk at this stage) about hitch hiking part of their journey home for Christmas (Europeans that is). It’s not something I’ve ever tried before and seems a little risky with the high possibility of me sleeping the night in a snowdrift next to a petrol station. I’ll think about it.