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Transport: my own ambivalence; electric rental cars in Norway

It is certainly no secret that my heart beats faster when it comes to sustainable development and the significant reduction of the immense pressure we, as humanity, place on ecosystems and the Earth as a whole. In fact, I occasionally jestingly refer to myself as a part-time activist. I must confess, therefore, that I work on my travel blog with a certain ambivalence from time to time. On one hand, I wish for everyone to stay where they are, never booking another flight ever again and adhering to a purely plant-based diet. On the other hand, I hope that as many people as possible come to experience the splendid nature of Norway, thus realizing its paramount importance on so many levels. With all that in mind I thought I would share some tips with you on how to minimize the carbon footprint of your journey.

When it comes to infrastructure and transportation, Norway is truly remarkable. The sheer quantity and intricacy of the tunnels, train tracks, and bridges are unparalleled. Let us begin with the train tracks. One lesser-known fact is that you can explore Arctic Norway by train. From Stockholm, you embark on a night train journey of approximately 20 hours to Narvik. This journey far surpasses the time taken by car. Furthermore, the voyage takes you through breathtaking natural landscapes like Abisko in Sweden. And above all, the increasing popularity of nighttrains is for good reason. They're comfy and they carry a certain romantic nostalgia. But maybe that's just me.

The regions of Sørlandet (Kristiansand) and Vestlandet (Stavanger, Bergen, and Trondheim) are also easily accessible by train. What makes the Norwegian rail network exceptional is that sometimes, the journey itself becomes the destination. For instance, on the route from Oslo to Bergen, you could disembark at the base of a glacier and set up camp by a crystal-clear river. The trains are almost invariably punctual, the staff incredibly friendly, and the apps and websites required for planning your journey are exceptional. Plan your train journey here.

Travelling with an electric car is also an excellent way to traverse the country. You need not enlist a project manager to meticulously plan your trip from charging station to charging station. In fact, the network of charging stations is one of the, if not the best, in the world. Just take a look at this map. I can scarcely imagine a finer way to explore this beautiful country in tranquillity and silence. Virtually every car rental company boasts a substantial fleet of electric vehicles. A tip: be sure to secure your booking early, as EVs are quite popular as rental cars.

What I strongly discourage is embarking on a cruise, and the reasons are just so abundantly clear. Not only does the fuel consumption of these vessels inflict incredible harm, but also the vast quantities of discarded food from all the buffets contribute to an exceedingly elevated waste level. This, in turn, engenders significant emissions of methane (a type of super greenhouse gas). Moreover, a considerable proportion of the lesser-paid positions are undertaken by individuals from low-income nations, often toiling for seven days a week, enduring grueling 12-hour shifts. Ignorance is bliss, but please be mindful when it comes to these types of arrangements.

If you opt to stay in hotels, consider bypassing the major hotel chains. While their websites may boast grandiose sustainability statements, it is ultimately the independent and small-scale hotels that source their provisions locally and make a significant positive impact in small communities.

Another aspect that might not immediately come to mind, yet exerts a substantial influence, is your diet. Whether you are camping or lodging in independant hotels, procuring local produce is remarkably effortless. While journeying, it is highly recommended to keep an eye out for 'gårdsbutikker' (farm shops). Here, you can purchase the most splendid edibles directly from the producers, without the need for a truck to drive a single meter.

The Toogoodtogo app is also splendid, boasting a multitude of affiliated businesses. You can peruse nearby offerings, place your order through the app, and collect it at a designated time. This aids in preventing good food from going to waste.


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