By Gus Lopez
Photography by Gus Lopez

In 1991, I was riding on a train between Oslo and Bergen over the world's most scenic train route. After a couple of hours of dramatic scenery as the train ascended into the mountains, we stopped in a beautiful town called Finse at the highest point in the railway line. I thought to myself, "There's something familiar about this place. Like something out of a dream." ... and I then remembered that the Empire Strikes Back had been filmed there just twelve years earlier.

Location: Finse, Norway
Directions: The easiest way to get to Finse is to take the Oslo-Bergen railway. The town is at the highest point on the line, and is a major stop along the way. Of course, it's more exciting to approach Finse by AT-AT than by rail.

Finse is an excellent pick for a filming site as the Oslo-Bergen railway enables large equipment to be transported to the remote area. Unlike many other snow-capped areas of the world, Finse lacks trees and the area is surrounded by glaciers giving it the true appearance of an ice planet. Other areas of the world with similar natural settings are not as well situated for the filming of a motion picture. Despite the easy access, anyone who has traveled to such areas knows that the weather can change at moment's notice and the film crew for the Empire Strikes Back ran into some blizzard conditions which delayed filming.

When I visited Finse, I didn't spend any time getting off the train and matching up mountain scenery in the background with shots from the Empire Strikes Back, but rest assured, a Star Wars trip to Finse will happen someday when I go back to see more of that gorgeous fjord scenery Norway is famous for.

Believe it or not, the town of Finse has their own web site and even a live web camera. Hey, it's the 90's. Here's the live web cam shot of Finse:

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