Monday, July 26, 2010

Flam, Norway

Map picture

The Flamsbana: One of Europe’s

Greatest Train Rides

Note: I am writing this on July 24, 2010, even though the ship has no internet. We have been advised that limited internet will return on the 24th, so until then I will continue to write and save these for later transmission. Enjoy!

Arriving into the tiny village of Flam was a breathtaking experience! Very early this morning the ship transited some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, the Aurlandsfjord. DSC_2415 Unfortunately, even though I had gotten up early for the experience, the sun had not yet risen above the surrounding mountains, and so the hillsides were in shadows. Just as the ship was approaching Flam, the sun crested the mountain tops and for awhile we had a brilliant vista before us.

The tiny village of Flam is home to only 400 people. The ship was originally scheduled to offer tender service to the shore, but a few days ago that was changed to say that we would dock. As I looked at the town as we approached, I assumed there must have been some mistake. The valley narrowed so much by the time we would reach the town, I was not sure the ship would fit, must less have room to dock – anyway, I certainly could not see a dock. As we got closer and the surrounding mountains got closer I just could not see how in the world this would work. Then I saw a brand new small dock, and again my first thought was that if we docked there the bow of the ship would be overhanging the town. Well, that is what we did and the bow did overhang the town. DSC_2423 How they will back us out tonight is anyone’s guess, but it must be possible. They for certain cannot turn the ship around.

We came to Flam not only for the scenery, but also to ride the Flamsbana train. It has been described as one of the most dramatically beautiful train journeys in all of Europe. It took over 20 years to construct and in the hour long journey you travel 20 miles and climb over 3,000 ft. By the time we left the ship at 9am to walk to the nearby train station, our beautiful sunny morning had disappeared and clouds were building. That certainly did not bode well for good pictures. However as luck would have it, Lisa and I got seats on the wrong side of the train for the journey upward and the only thing we could see out our side of the window was a solid wall of rock. We could look across the aisle and see some great scenery, but there were no pictures to be had.

The train made a photograph stop at the Kjos Waterfall, DSC_2472 and then continued to our destination, the Mountain Hotel.

DSC_2488 Here we had an hour and a half to enjoy waffles and coffee before the next train back to the ship would arrive. We walked around the hotel to see about some pictures, but there was nothing to write home about and the clouds had thickened.

For the journey down, we managed to get seats this time on the correct side of the train, only now the sun was completely gone and we had a dull grey countryside. So I do not think the photographs will be spectuclar, but still it was a fun day in the tiny village of Flam, Norway.


No comments: