Posts Tagged ‘Train’

Train from Luxembourg to Strasbourg

Day 3 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

After 2 days in Luxembourg, we had to tear our thoughts away from Luxembourg and move ahead with the rest of our trip. How I wish we had more time to spend in Luxembourg. The city is so compact and pretty. Luxembourg city isn’t huge like London or Paris, and it certainly doesn’t have the grand imposing palatial buildings celebrating past glories, but Luxembourg exudes quiet charm in its own special way. I have a bad habit of dwelling too much on what has past. I feel melancholic that it’s over, and I need quite some effort to remind myself that the rest of the trip awaits me, and that it could actually quite possibly be even more exciting!

So, to get to my next destination, which was to be Strasbourg, we had to take the TGV again. Unlike the train from Paris to Luxembourg, this train reminded me very much of Harry Potter!

Train from Luxembourg to Strasbourg (3)

I’ve taken a few train rides during my travels in Europe, eg London to Bath and Bristol, Norway’s Flam to Oslo, but I’ve never actually been in a train where I have my own cabin! Tell me it’s not like how you envision the Famous Five from Enid Blyton to have travelled during their time?? I was so excited to be in a quaint cabin like this I took many photos, hopping in and out of the train as well!

Train from Luxembourg to Strasbourg (7)

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Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway)

I was glad I took the Flåm Railway in the end. The truth be told, I was kind of worried about taking this train ride. I have a thing about trains travelling along mountain cliffs. The sight of the sheer drop makes me scared! The last train ride I took was for the journey from Sydney City to the Blue Mountains. Everyone was obviously oblivious to the DANGERS of which were supposedly so apparent to me.

The Flam Railway train ride is touted to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world and is the 3rd most visited tourist attraction in Norway. However, it is also the steepest standard gauge railway in Europe and travels up 863 metres in the 20km journey. In order for the train to scale this height in such a short distance, there is even this 180degree turn within a mountain, I’m like WHAT THE HELL IS THAT??? But in order for me to visit Flåm, I would have to take this train ride to get back out!

Turns out, I was not scared in the end! I’m quite surprised and the Partner was quite surprised too! So much for making a mountain out of a molehill. I guess I was just too busy snapping picture after picture that I had no time to be scared. Also, it helped that the train was travelling at a pretty slow speed, slow enough to make my brain think that it was safe. The gradient wasn’t apparent to me at all, and even the 180 degree turn would not have been noticed had I not read about it earlier. And also, at the steepest of parts, there were railings for protection. On second thoughts, these railings appear to be made of wood…

So the moral of the story is, in order to enjoy the dramatic scenery, one has to first scale the steep mountain.

Flam Railway scenery (3)

The Flåm station at the start of our journey

Flam Railway scenery (2)

Only 8 passengers in the entire train. The perks of travelling off peak! I had the whole carriage to myself and in fact I was basically moving left or right depending on where the scenery was.

Flam Railway scenery (7)

Can’t remember what the name of this road is. It’s a popular cycling route during the summer. The Norwegians love to tell you how many hair-pin turns there are. “Hair-pin” is like their favourite word, and the more there are, the better!

I have to remind you that despite the safety record, a bus once toppled over while travelling on a road with these hair-pin turns enroute to Milford Sound in NZ. I took that bus ride a number of years back (b4 the accident) and it was pretty terrifying for me. See, I’m not making a mountain out of a molehill!

Flam Railway scenery (4) Flam Railway scenery (5)

One has to get used to the sounds of the gushing water when living so nearby.

Flam Railway scenery (10)

Flam Railway scenery (8)

The Flåmsbana actually makes a 5 minute photo stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall! In the summertime, 2 maidens magically appear to serenade the tourists. These photos just don’t do justice to how wonderful the feeling was to be able to view the waterfall up close and to enjoy its misty spray.

Flam Railway scenery (9)

The train and other tourists waiting patiently. The other tourists on the ride weren’t particularly enthusiastic about the waterfall. After a couple of photo shots, they retreated to the warmth of the train carriage. Can you spot the rainbow? Bet they missed it.

Flam Railway scenery (13)  Flam Railway scenery (11) Flam Railway scenery (12)

And finally, after 50 minutes, we arrive at the Myrdal Station, 866.8 m above sea level!

Greetings from Oslo!

It’s COLD COLD COLD! On the first day that I arrived, which was yesterday actually, it wasn’t that bad at all . I only had 3 layers on. Then the weather turned so cold in the evening it was a struggle making it back to our hotel from the shopping street just opposite. We had to take refuge in 3 separate stores to “defrost” before making it back. And I heard that today is the coldest day for Autumn in Oslo! Not that I should complain, I purposely lugged 3 jackets here for a reason!

My hotel is in a superb location. It’s just next to the Oslo S Central Station. We took the normal train from the Oslo airport to Oslo S and it was 25 minutes with just 2 stops. The great thing about being here is that there are so many shopping centres around this area, with the Karl Johans Gate being the main attraction of it all (something similar to our Orchard Road or Oxford Street if you know London, except cars are not allowed there.)

As expected, food has been darn expensive so far. For my 1st meal in Norway, I had …. Chicken Tikka Masala! Yeah I know, but I really need some time to assimilate to having to pay S$40 for a cafe meal! The Chicken Tikka Masala cost only S$25 and was thankfully pretty tasty. The organic movement here is pretty strong, or perhaps using the word “movement” is wrong. You get the feeling that food here always been natural and unadulterated. Even my complimentary hotel buffet breakfast served organic milk and organic bread, something which I can say would be extremely rare to find in Singapore.

Here are some pictures of my stroll along Karl Johans Gate. Just this street alone has 3 H&Ms! I know all the Orchard road malls feature the same stores anyway, but this is different because they can all be seen from the street!

Karl Johans Gate (1)

Karl Johans Gate (2)

Karl Johans Gate (5)

Karl Johans Gate (6)

Karl Johans Gate (4)

Karl Johans Gate (8)

Karl Johans Gate (3)

Karl Johans Gate (9)

And that’s the palace right at the end of the street

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