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Norway our way

 Leonie Coombes praises the outdoor pleasures of a mother-and-daughter holiday in Oslo and Bergen

 AT Copenhagen airport the chatty woman at the check-in counter is unimpressed that my daughter and I are off to Oslo.

“Oh well, the people are friendly,” she says condescendingly. We wonder what we are in for. When we tell her we are also going to Bergen, she just laughs.

But even from the air Norway grabs us, revealing itself as more rugged than its Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Denmark. Forests, fields, lakes and crops in intense shades of green and grey merge into a symphonic whole as though Edvard Grieg had orchestrated this vista. So far, so good.

We arrive at Oslo’s modern Gardermoen airport and board the high-speed Flytoget into the city; it takes 19 minutes, costs the equivalent of about $35 and is definitely worth it. We are lightly packed for a week of exploring cities and fjords.

We alight in the centre of town at New Theatre station and wheel our bags to the hotel. On wide and tree-lined Karl Johan Avenue, fashionable shops catch our eye and cafes spill on to tree-shaded footpaths. The pace suggests Oslo is a dynamic city, and indeed it is. The population of 1.3 million is expanding rapidly; the city nudges hills, forests and the Oslofjord, creating a planning dilemma that only enhances the cosmopolitan atmosphere. We are keen to become part of it.

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