When we arrived in Flam the next morning, it was raining and a low cloud hung over the village. It was a spitting image for the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand.
After breakfast we headed straight for the railway station. The Flam Railway is the steepest train in Europe, taking you from sea level to Mountain Peak (almost 900 metres above sea level) in about 40 minutes. It is lauded as being one of the most scenic train rides in the world.
Luckily they had plenty of tickets (to the tune of 246 tickets) available for the next train, so we snapped a couple up. These were not cheap (480 Krone return each – about £) but we decided it was a one-off, and there wasn’t much else to do in Flam as the weather was so dismal.
The Flam Railway starts off in Flam on the Fjord edge, and travel along the lush green valley bottom next to the river, watching waterfalls of snow-melt tumble off the surrounding mountains. We passed the centre of Flam, where the old church is located.
We never tired of seeing more and more waterfalls, and we even stopped by one; a particularly large waterfall which covers you with a liberal amount of spray (bring waterproofs!). Bizarrely, a woman pops out from behind the rocks over the waterfall and starts singing!
As we steeply ascended by weaving our way back and forth up the mountain, it became misty and we were delighted to see snow on the floor! It felt like we were on the Hogwarts Express going into another (magical) world!
Up here, we passed frozen lakes, cute red houses, and lots of snow! We soon reached Myrdal, our final destination. The train stops here for 10 minutes or so, so you can get out to take photos. But beware, there is competition for seats on the train, and one British women told me that a lady shoved her out of the way so she could take a photo! A group of tourists also got continually told off for walking on the railways tracks to get a good photo. You are firmly on the beaten track, here!
After these shenanigans, we were soon heading back down the railway to Flam. You can apparently hire bikes to cycle downhill back to Flam, but we preferred the more sedate way of travel! Beforehand i was a little apprehensive about whether we should do this train ride at all, mainly due to the cost, and also as the photos looked like another rail journey we did in the Andes so I wasn’t sure if it was worth it. I had planned to go for a walk and stick around the Flam area. It was only the rain that made me concede that the Flam Railway was the best thing to do…. and I’m glad we did it. It was a really pretty and fun ride, from the lush green valley up to the snowy landscape, the journey perforated with waterfalls. Recommended.
Back at Flam we poked about in the souvenir shops, picked up a couple of postcards, bought the Norwegian answer to a Kit-Kat, and had a little walk around the Fjord edge. By this time the mist had lifted so we were able to see more of the fjord, distracted only by the amusing antics of a group of tourists doing some cheesy posed photos! Needless to say, it was pretty touristy in Flam!
After that it was back to the ship, where we sailed away along Aurlandsfjorden and then Songefjorden, past more waterfalls.
Sadly Songefjorden was quite misty, which was a shame as we couldn’t see the mountain tops. After a while everyone else went inside to get warm. We decided to go in the hot-tub on deck, so we enjoyed seeing Songefjorden from the warmth of a hot tub before getting dressed for another lovely dinner! 🙂
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