The day started early. At 6'50 our train departed from Bergen, and we do not fool anyone if we say we started it with some skepticism. If before true engineering works such as the rack railway that took us to theJungfraujoch, Top of Europe in Switzerland we were amazed, we don't forget big disappointments like the End of the World Train that took us to the P.N. Tierra de Fuego in Argentina.
The Flam and Naeroyfjord train from Bergen
We love the train. I don't know if we have ever said it, but Isaac has been working in the world of trains for half his life. That is why wherever you can, and as touristy as it may be, we try to enjoy those scenic routes that only allows one railway line.
Although you can buy Flam train tickets directly from the internet and do only this tour, there is an option from Bergen that has seduced us and that they call the "Norway in a nutshell".
What is "Norway in a nutshell" and how to do it? This is the most popular tour of Norway, and combines the most spectacular scenery in Norway with various means of transport (bus, train, boat) in a single reservation. You can hire directly at Fjords Tours, deciding day, dates and direction of travel. Sense?
- By train to Voss, bus to Gudvengen, boat along the Norwegian fjords of Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord, Flam train and train from Myrdal to Bergen
- Exactly the opposite, starting with the train from Bergen to Myrdal, Flam train, boat on the Norwegian fjords to Gudvengen, bus to Voss and train back
We have chosen to get up early, and to make the option that begins with Myrdal. The reason? First, because whenever we can avoid overcrowding, we will do so early. Second, because those who know us know that we believe that travel should always be "increchendo" (term that we will patent, haha), which means that something better must always come, and we believe that the Nærøyfjord fjord will surprise us even more. The route will be something similar to the following:
!! Passengers on the train !! Specific salimoooos towards Myrdal. 2 hours and a half in which the intention was to take a good head ... which has fallen!
However, we do not know if by the first rays of sun entering through the window, or even by the smell of mountain landscapes, we have woken up with a beautiful "incoming" view of what awaited us
We were arriving in Myrdal and the change in temperature with respect to Bergen was beginning to notice (a couple of layers of coat are not bad at this point).
Flam Train Tour: Myrdal-Flam
The Myrdal mountain station welcomes us at this time of the morning. It is cold, and the few travelers who got off here (the Bergen train has been leaving people at different stops) we have not been able to avoid warming our hands and stomach with a good tea or coffee in the small booth that is at the same time as the station.
There is no place for loss, you enter on one side and leave on the other with your glass very hot, and almost without realizing it appears the famous Flamsbana or Flam Train, a panoramic wooden train with a certain charm.
We read before coming that it is better to place on the left in the direction of descent (or right if you climb from Flam) to get the best views, and so we did, but the reality is that people move from side to side as they go seeing the different "highlight" of the route. We assume that with tourist overcrowding we will have to choose well, but we go quite alone. We have done well to get up early and make the route "backwards"
The Flam Train route is an engineering work that crosses up to 20 tunnels (18 of them handmade) in the 20 km and 900 meters of unevenness that separate Myrdal from Flam. Deep valleys, mountain landscapes and beautiful waterfalls accompany us from our departure. In fact, very soon we see one of the most famous, that of Kjosfossen, the only place on the route where they also give us a few minutes to get off the train and take some photos
Already with all the travelers on a wooden platform, a music begins to play and a kind of "nymphs of the waterfall" dance in the distance. It is indeed a bit touristy, but not as much as one would expect.
They say that the train runs through some of the most spectacular places in all of Norway. It may be yes, but when one has very high expectations about something, it ends up disappointed and it is a bit what has happened to us. We have not noticed that magic we feel in other places, for example, a while later on the ship.
Why? We do not know, he has not "told us" anything that other places did not do. They are very beautiful, yes, but much less to pay the amounts paid for a branch that has no other purpose than to connect Flam with Myrdal and thus have a link with the train Bergen - Oslo. !! Without more!
And so, several waterfalls later, some creek, and after some beautiful snapshots, we arrive at the town of Flam (which reads "Flom"), a tourist gold cradle location of the Turnmantur on duty, which also sell the train excursion to Gold price since it is so in demand that you can run out of your ticket. Anyway, those are matters that do not concern us and more when we did not expect what came next.
About half an hour after arriving at our destination, and perfectly connected, it was time to embark on a dream navigation that we still did not know
The Nærøyfjord Fjord: Flam-Gudvangen
We recognize that when we decided to face this excursion from Bergen, the main claim was the Flam Train, although we knew from "hears" that navigation through the fjords would not disappoint us. Although our small ship had nothing to do with the large cruise ships that dock in these parts, what began at that time was a dream of the places, now yes, most beautiful of the Norwegian fjords.
For 2 hours and 15 minutes, a ferry makes a journey between Flam and Gudvangen, a privilege for any traveler.
At not much speed, we begin the journey through the Aurlandsfjord fjord, an arm of the great Sogneford (which we will not leave) approaching the beautiful villages of Aurland and Undredal, among others
The ferry has three floors. The top is a platform full of chairs where the more "agile" take place at the beginning of everything, without falling into the detail that the cool breeze will end up lowering them sooner rather than later. The one in the middle has part of the outside, perfect and warmer, and an interior where you can eat a breakfast dog (which is exactly what we have done, for 50 NOK) without missing any view through its windows. The one below is for cars and going in and out.
But the peak moment begins when we leave aside the intersection between Sogneford, Aurlandsfjord and a new fjord, one of the most beautiful in Norway and the world, the Naeroyfjord.
Naeroyfjord, in the Norwegian fjords, is possibly the narrowest and most spectacular fjord in Europe, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco with total justice.
National Geographic, in some of its publications, also considered it "natural space" number 1 next to the Geiranger Fjord. Perhaps that is why even large houses and farms do not show up on the riverbank, or even talk about large resorts.
As we said these days, the objective of our trip is far from here, specifically in the Norwegian Arctic of the Svalbard that we will arrive in 3 days, but it is the first partial vision that the Norwegian fjords are giving us far exceeding any expectation. Those 500 km that extend between our entrance door in Stavanger to Andalsnes, which we will not reach on this occasion, leave nature of an extraordinary beauty, of steep walls of up to 1400 meters, to waters of 500 meters deep
Naeroyfjord, in the Norwegian fjords, goes one step further. Its magic lies in its narrow navigation channels surrounded by huge gorges, numerous waterfalls and marine mammals (which they say can sometimes be seen)
Their peoples, isolated in another era, saw their way of communication in the fjord. Today, however, it is an escape route for many who see in the distance to make their particular trekking route or simply rest resting on the sun on some stone. Peace. Pure peace without adultery!
Of course, tomorrow if we ever want to disappear from the world, we have found our place
What can be done in the Naeroyfjord and Aurlandsfjord area ?:
- Hikes through the Aurlandsdalen valley. Receive the nickname of Grand Canyon of Norway.
- Bike tours along the Route of the Camineros (Rallarvegen) and the valley of Flåm.
- Stalheimskleiva road. 1.5 kilometers that curls and 13 curves of 180 degrees.
- The Norwegian Wild Salmon Center. The traditional salmon fishing.
- The medieval wooden church of Borgund, in Lærdal. One of the most genuine in Norway.
- Historic routes in Lærdal. Splendid trails ideal for walking.
- Safaris by the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord fjords. From the hand of Flåm Guide Service, fauna and flora at your fingertips.
- Stegastein viewpoint. Fantastic panoramic view of the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding mountains.
- Hikes along the fjords. Beitelen and Rimstigen are two hard high-rise routes with fantastic views over the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord fjords.
- Kayaking through the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord fjords. Guided kayaking excursions of wide variety.
- Otternes Bygdetun (museum). Cultural treasure and an authentic "living museum".
- Undredal and its medieval wooden church. 80 inhabitants, 500 goats and the smallest wooden medieval church in Scandinavia.
- The Viking village of Gudvangen. Aroma of the chimneys and the pitch that covers the walls of their houses.
- The White Magic Caves of Gudvangen. His silence, his music, his magical lagoons, Grieg, trolls and Vikings.
Another of the most scenic moments is the passage next to the town of Bakka and the Bakka church, which are located on the west bank of the fjord.
Just imagining the creation of these places speaks of their majesty. And it is that the whole one of huge glaciers and geological formations, gave way to the sea water that entered to flood the valley modeled by the old mass of ice, giving rise to the spectacle that we are seeing today ... and we do not want to deceive anyone,! One of the most impressive we have ever seen in our wanderings around the world!
The most wonderful "cruise" we have ever done ends in the village of Gudvangen, where another ferry, one of the many that travel from side to side every day, is about to sail.
We will not stop here much, although we would do it for days. Our bus to Voss is already waiting punctually "Norwegian". This is not over.
The winding road Stalheimskleiva: Gudvangen-Voss
The main claim of the 45-minute bus ride that separates Gudvangen and Voss is called Stalheimskleiva, and only remains open in summer. In a fairly large tourist bus (and we still have few tourists) we start a chilling descent by a vertiginous road surrounded by waterfalls and views that are scary. We would dare to say that more spectacular than the Flam Train itself.
An ancient route, of narrow road, descends through the valley "unscrewing" 13 pronounced curves, leaving chilling views. It seems to be the steepest stretch of road in Northern Europe
If in addition, the waterfalls have not yet arrived, a couple of small stops allow us to photograph the Sivlefossen and Stalheimsfossen waterfalls (or something like that), today loaded with water and leaving a beautiful picture (how many times have we used in the "beautiful" story "beautiful" "pretty" "wonderful"? we can't think of more adjectives)
We arrived to Voss around 2:30 pm. We have more than 1 hour to take a walk and have an ice cream (34 NOK). with more than a dozen really beautiful images and snapshots in our head (and our camera - hopefully -).
Legend has it that once there was a pagan temple in the place where the church of Voss is located today. It would be in 1.023 when King Olav Haraldson visited Voss and raised the great stone cross that is still raised on the floor of Vangskyrkja, another true architectural wonder that we cannot avoid approaching, very close to the train station.
Over the years, Vangskyrkja received numerous contributions. Thus the bronze candlestick is Dutch dated from 1614, or the angel located on a stone fountain of 1820. The stained glass windows and the organ date from 1923
If you have at least 45 minutes between journeys, we strongly recommend getting here because it is very worthwhile, especially the most Christian or lovers of unique buildings.
!! 15'30 !! We go to the train ... we lose it. !! Run Paula! !!Run!!
Farewell from Bergen and night train to Oslo
The return to Bergen, lasting 1 hour and a half, has flown by. Perhaps that "nap" deserved by the early morning has helped a lot in that task.
In the evening, there is little to tell. We take the opportunity to take our last walk through the beautiful Bergen and try the blackberries (3rd NOK), where life remains immune to the passage of travelers, to make a few purchases in the shops of Bryggen (35 NOK), go through that terrace where the chairs are covered with "sheepskin" that we liked the first day (NOK 70) or have a relaxing dinner in our Sushi Bar (NOK 277) near the hotel before take the night train Bergen - Oslo at 23.00 from which we write these lines
It's 00.45, and I still haven't managed to sleep. It is not usual for one day to impact on us as much as today what Naeroyfjord has achieved, in the Norwegian fjords. It is hard to recognize it, but having traveled so much makes you lose that innocence for things, even the value of them. Few things surprise. Today however, we are loaded with images, and especially emotions. !! We are absolutely enchanted by Bergen and all the possibilities it offers !! and we are sure that one day we will see these snapshots again, in our best place at home and in our memory
I think we'll try to get some sleep, but tomorrow will be hard. What will await us in the capital? And in the Svalbard? We admit, at this point, that a rattle of restlessness stirs our stomach. Soon we will fly to polar lands ... and that promises many new adventures. !! To sleep!
Isaac and Paula, from somewhere along the route Bergen - Oslo (Norway)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: NOK 461 (approx. 55,54 EUR) and GIFTS: NOK 35 (approx. 4,22 EUR)