This is all about my travels on trains (and the odd boat and bus) through Europe with my ukulele... night train episodes, Rocky outcrop serenades, hip flask fueled antics, invisible ICE trains, ukulele cabaret appearances, funiculars and linguistic prowess. The lone traveller tells her tales from France, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Europe August 21st 2010

7.16 Train: Oslo - Gøteborg In the end I did make it to Oslo in time for my train, so I'm back on course with the epic journey home. I even managed to get some sleep. I had a double seat to myself and over the course of the seven hour journey managed to arrange myself in an assortment of positions of varying degrees of discomfort. The excitement was that I got a free blanket, eyemask, inflatable pillow and earplugs.  Fab! As I walked through the carriage this morning it was quite a sight with people all scattered in even more strange positions than I had come up with. I assure you none of them were very sexy.  11.44 Train: Gøteborg - Copenhagen Well things are going well today. The ride from Oslo was comfy and ... read more
The Canal Boat
The chocolate shop...
Timers on traffic lights

Europe August 20th 2010

This posting was from yesterday... Today's excursion has been refreshingly off the beaten track. Very tranquil thanks to a complex journey involving tram, two buses and a ferry to get there, which meant that only a very elite few tourists made it. Quiet tourists at that. There wasn't much info available about how to get to Lysøen, the island which was formerly the home of violinist Ole Bull (pronounced ooola boooole) which is now a museum. So I had to visit the Information centre. The lady I spoke to seemed to think the whole thing would be beyond me - "it's really very complicated, you have to get a bus etc. You really shouldn't bother...". This instilled in me a deep desire to prove her wrong and the realisation that probably most tourists would be put ... read more
Buena Quay
Ole Bull's house
Ole Bull's harmonium

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Hardanger August 18th 2010

Well I only have a couple of days left now till I head home which is amazing but then when I think of all I've seen and done it does feel like I've been away a while. By the way as there are no Internet cafes in Bergen as far as I can make out, the remaining photos won't go up until I get home (Saturday). Thanks for nearing with me and all this barren text. Today is my excursion day. I got a special multi-ticket to get a train to Myrtal then the extra special train from Myrtal to Flåm and then the express boat all the way back to Bergen through the fjords.  I have to admit I wasn't in the best of sorts heading out. I hadn't slept well last night and ... read more
Waterfall Woman
The Train
My picnic with disgusting malt drink

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen August 18th 2010

Good times! Things have been going swimmingly well. I managed to get my washing done, buy tickets for a special excursion tomorrow, scale a mountain, scale my uke come down the mountain and brew myself another excellent cuppa! Even the sun has been out. I started out finding a nice bakery and getting myself a hefty cinnamon roll for breakfast. I also ordered a sandwich to take for my picnic lunch, always thinking one step ahead when it comes to food... Then I found the Information centre as I'd decided I'd take an excursion on the famous Flåm train. I ended up booking a round trip by train and then back by boat which is very exciting and financially crippling. In my most cunning moment of the day I also bought a ticket for the Funicular ... read more
View from Funicular
Another view shot
A quiet back street

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen August 17th 2010

Live train commentary from yesterday: I write this on the famous Oslo-Bergen scenic train ride. It's not bad. I'd say so far (2 hours into the 7 hour ride) the Glasgow to Mallaig journey is better, but then there have been some nuisance factors on this one. Opposite me are sitting a Texan father and daughter and call me a grouchy old cow but the father is bloody annoying. He has been since he sat down opposite me. He is the champion of stating the obvious and just doesn't stop the string of idiotic comments. The daughter is taking flash photos of the window, usually behind the window there are blurry trees or rocks as her timing is crap. I am concocting a plan. At the next stop I'll tell them the driver always takes a ... read more
Train jouney Oslo - Bergen
Train jouney Oslo - Bergen
Train jouney Oslo - Bergen

Europe » Norway » Eastern Norway » Oslo August 15th 2010

Norwegian sunshine! I've been so lucky with this weather. I arrived yesterday at the station and walked soberly in a straight line northwards to my accommodation. Easy! The route ended in the loveliest of green parks, sitting a couple of hundred yards away from my hostel. What with the sunshine, my arduous journey and my lingering hangover it was irresistible.  In fact its still irresistible as here I am now again in the lush grass by a pond where there are ducks and possibly fish. Wouldn't be surprised if there was the odd newt too. I'd never put it past them.  The hostel/hotel is a big one, but nice. Once again I have a lovely room with a kitchenette. I was given a shopping basket full of utensils so last night I cooked myself a pasta. ... read more
Dandelion Fountain, Oslo
The harbour, Oslo

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm August 14th 2010

I've arrived in Oslo after a prolonged journey where we had to change onto a bus midway through the journey and then get onto another train. I think ferries are the way forward. You don't get any of that larking about with transferring to other forms of transport mid-cruise - Ladies and gentlemen I'm afraid there's been a prang with a jellyfish and this ship isn't going any further. There will however be a submarine which will take you to Tallinn from where a fleet of schooners will be waiting to take you on to Stockholm. Good luck! Added to the prolonged journey was my prolonged hangover... Which brings me neatly on to Stockholm. It was a short time i had in the city filled with many happy moments as I was in the company of ... read more
Ford van with green uke in window
Me, Klara and Ronald
Ukulele cabaret - Sven

Europe » Finland August 11th 2010

I've just had a blissful couple of hours on the ferry. I was the 14th person to step on board at terminal Olympia. This ferry is very different to the Rostock one. Quite retro. The centre is a shopping mall, where I am now sitting post pasta & pesto.I found my cabin on level 9, marvelled at the fact that it is all mine and has it's own little hairdryer, then scooted up to the observation deck. There I sat, beer in hand uke by foot, sun on face and upper torso and smiles abounding with a fantastic view of Helsinki harbour. I can't tell you how super it was. There were some excellent clouds too, all whispy and untoward. Ferries are the way forward. Ferries in sunshine. Not stormy ferries. I'm about to head back ... read more
Funnel and Clouds
The Mall on the Ship

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki August 11th 2010

Seeing as I've massively over-compensated for my late ferry check-in by turning up 2 hours to early for my Stockholm ferry, named the Silja Serenade, I shall take the opportunity to catch up here. Yesterday I set out on a northbound excursion through some quiet parkland. I just kept walking along the coast and stumbled upon the Sibelius Memorial, a big bundle of floating organ pipes on a rock next to a melting head. It reminded me of my Harmonium and it's lovely decorative pipes. I hope Reg is in good health and making rapid progress with his pianolas... Anyway, I continued on my way stopping briefly on a splendid rocky outcrop to be buffeted by the Finnish winds (perhaps bellowing from the great harmonium in the sky). What a pleasant walk, I thought to myself ... read more
Leaving Helsinki & Suomenlinna Island

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki August 10th 2010

It´s a bit changeable outside today, occasional downpours and the odd spot of sun so I thought I´d write something before I head out. Yesterday I had a lovely stroll down to the marina and along the sea until I found a rocky outcrop (you might remember these featuring in my blog from last summer). For once I didn´t have my ukulele and just stared out to sea in a contemplative manner. Every so often my nerves were jangled by a ripping noise and shrieks of fear as just along from me people were jumping off a crane attached to elastic to get their thrills. Each to their own but it did disturb what would have been a nice peaceful moment. I walked up to Observatory Hill which affords a great panoramic vista ideal for me ... read more
Panoramic shot from the Observatory Hill
The Cathedral
Sibelius memorial

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