Having visited Norway once before, I made this trip in order to explore some areas only glimpsed previously and some others only heard about that intrigued me. Over three weeks in July/August 2014, I went from Oslo to the northern tip of Langoya, one of the four or five main islands that make up Vesteralen, and back again. My journey was by public bus going north and coming south to Fauske, and thence by train back to Oslo.

Having been underwhelmed by the fjords on my previous visit, I concentrated my attention on mountains and coast, anyway my favourite types of scenery. Norwegian buses and trains are terrific, as are Norwegian roads, tunnels and ferries, so that travel, even on long hauls, was for me an unmitigated pleasure. My thanks also go to the very competent bus drivers who stuck to the speed limits, drove smoothly and obligingly gave me half-price ‘pensioner’ tickets.

Norway has the reputation of being expensive but costs can be reduced if you stay in hostels and mountain huts, self-cater and book public transport (especially trains) in advance. To top it all, Norwegians are unfailingly friendly, helpful – and usually English-speaking.

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