Nick Knowles is experiencing the wonders of the world, by train - and in this second episode he's in Norway. From the Viking capital of Trondheim, through tree-lined fjords and snow-capped mountain scenery, Nick travels north through pretty Mosjøen with its brightly painted wooden waterfront houses to the coastal city of Bodø. A statue of the famous Viking seafarer Lief Erikson overlooks the seafront at Trondheim where Nick starts his journey. Channelling his inner Viking, Nick boards a train bound north through Trondelag, making a brief diversion, like thousands of travellers a year in search of selfies, to the regional station at Hell. At Grong Nick stops for the night on the River Namsen, one of the most famous salmon fishing rivers in Norway. And when we say "on"… literally, he stays in a hotel-cum-static railway carriage parked on a disused railway bridge over the river. Nick hears how rich Brits, known as the "Salmon Lords" came here from the 1830s onwards – and taught the Norwegians how to fish for salmon. Their technique of harling is still used today. Further up the line, Nick reaches the picture postcard town of Mosjøen where he has negotiated a helicopter ride to Norway's most popular cabin for hikers. The Rabothytta overlooks a glacier and is four hours from the nearest road. His next stop is Mo-i-rana from where he visits the WWII camp at Dunderland, one of a series of Nazi internment camps for POWs who were forced to work on the railway, extending the line northwards to further Hitler's ambitions. With poor clothing and scarce food, many died in captivity. Nick meets a Sami reindeer herder who encourages him to dip fried reindeer in his coffee, kayaks upstream to see a stunningly stylish local hydroelectric plant servicing 1700 houses, and takes a ride across one of the strongest maelstrom's in the world: Saltstraumen. Nick: "It's like being in a giant fairground waltzer". Inside the Arctic Circle, he meets the Bodø Penguins, a group dedicated to daily sea swimming even when the sea temperature is near freezing. Nick's not a fan of cold water, but he's stoic and up for the challenge. But only after he's donned gloves, neoprene socks and a woolly hat… Brrr!
Aired: 17 Mar 2023