Norway 29 June: Arjang - Oslo
After a surprisingly peaceful sleep in a local gym hall we awoke after a cold night to a misty morning. The mist was soon to clear to reveal a clear blue sky and glorious sunshine. Arjang Tourist Board had considerately arranged breakfast for us at the Nordic Hotel in the town. They were also extremely helpful supplying us much-needed maps and allowing us to use their internet for free.
After a fairly late start we headed towards the Norwegian border. We had decided to do the majority of the running on the small roads as opposed to the busy E18 highway to Oslo.
This would mean that we had to run further than anticipated, but we were all eager to run on the quieter roads through forests and besides the many lakes.
It was a wonderful joy to run through the last part of Sweden as we ran beside Lake Foxen and over a bridge with spectacular and stunning views in either direction. The lake was a deep blue and crystal clear surrounded by sweet scented pine forests.
The roads, as expected, were very quiet and peaceful as we passed the traditional timber constructed burgundy houses and farm buildings.
Before we knew it, we were at the Sweden – Norway border. This was on a small road with no border checks. It was one of the quickest border crossings we’ve experienced.
For another year the Swedish flag was put away and the Norwegian flag unfurled. Many thanks to Komal, our Sweden co-ordinator and for all the support we got in Sweden.
Shortly after crossing into Norway we passed some animals not typical for Norway – llamas.
The landscape seemed to be more dramatic than Sweden, with more rolling and hilly countryside, and features unique to the country. We ran across a hydroelectric dam, with spectacular views of the lake, and classic Norwegian houses with roofs covered with turf.
The countryside was so pristine and clean, as if it had just been created. Even the farms and machinery were spotless as if they came out of a showroom.
Along the road we met children, and one was especially shy of the torch until Olesya held the torch with the young boy.
We ran along the dirt roads surrounded by pine trees and later along rolling roads besides expansive meadows and grasslands.
On the outskirts of Oslo we were afforded magnificent views over the city and the harbour. There we met three guys from Poland who ran with us.
By the time we approached the centre it was late in the evening and people were relaxing outside cafes in the wonderful sunlight. They waved and cheered us with big smiles. On our way we met some Japanese tourists who excitedly ran with the torch.
After a long day we met up with our Norway co-ordinators, Premananda and Martanda at ‘The Fragrance of the Heart’ café beside the city hall. Premananda prepared us a fantastic meal that we heartily ate in the relaxing atmosphere of the café. It was so blissful in the late evening light, here where it is still light until midnight.
Colm Magee (Ireland), Franz Hintereger (Austria),Gints Peleckis (Latvia), Jadranka Grbic (Serbia & Montenegro), Janos Derekas (Hungary), Jirka Albrecht (Czech Republic), Mark Collinson (England) Olesya Ilyasova (Russia), Ondrej Vesely (Czech Republic), Petar Mihaylov (Bulgaria), Petr Machacek (Czech Republic), Roger Rogge (Germany), Sylka Schmicker (Germany), Svetlana Gorshkova (Russia), Valentine Bebik (Ukraine).
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