Flåm Railway—Short, But Very Sweet.
Two years ago, I paid a visit to a Norwegian couple I had met during my trans-Siberian trip. This time, I met them in Oslo and the three of us took the weekend to visit the small community of Flåm. The town’s appeal is two-fold: it’s located on the magnificent Sognefjord and you get to Flåm on what has to be one of the most spectacularly scenic railway lines in the world.
From Oslo, it was about a three hour train ride to the little town of Myrdal—really nothing much more than a small station. It’s just a 20-mile ride down the mountain to Flåm, but the train passes numerous waterfalls, sometimes clinging to the side of the mountain, sometimes boring through some 20 tunnels.
Two-thirds of the way down, the train emerges from a tunnel and you’re treated to a magnificent view of some of the tidy farms in the valley below. I’ve taken thousands of photos during my travels, but this is one of my favorites. The village of Flåm is another five miles up ahead.
Besides the railway station, there’s not much in the village itself: a hotel, a few guest houses, a couple of restaurants and a two shops which feature whole aisles of what is clearly the most popular souvenir item: trolls.
We passed this house on our way to meet the boat for a cruise on the fjord. I wonder about the maintenance problems one might have with a sod roof. Does it require a mower? Or will a weed-wacker do the job?
The cruise on the fjord was amazing. Except when there were wakes from occasional passing boats, the water was perfectly still, producing mirror-like reflections of the steep cliffs on either side. Our ride was in the early morning and a number of wispy clouds still hung over the water which, we were told, was more than a thousand feet deep where we were cruising.
Bottom line: the Flåm Railway was the highlight of the whole trip.