Monday, June 22nd was our day to head for the Fjords. We were not eager to leave the east, nor did we have near enough time to discover the things we would like to find, but our vacation schedule doesn’t permit us to linger as much as we’d like. But the things we did get to see left us with deep impressions we will never forget. This was a day to take in the scenic beauty of a place we have never seen before this trip.
|June 2015 Norway Trip|
|Click on the date to see the post|
The train itinerary we chose is called Norway in a Nutshell and it brought us over the highest altitude mountain pass of any train in Europe. The train was filled with almost as many tourists as local travelers, and many of them were Asian. We encountered groups of Koreans and Chinese, and three groups of Japanese. This gave Joe a few opportunities to practice Japanese. and one connection was made that may last.
The stop at Finsehytte is 1292 meters above sea level. The highest peak is at 1976 meters. The place seems barren, almost as forbidding as the Wyoming landscape.
I suppose the cabin here is a getaway for someone who gets tired of city life occasionally. But we asked some locals about the houses in Utoaset and Finse, up in the Hardanger Glacier region, and they said many or most of the people live here year round.
From our stop at Myrdal above the frozen tundra, we took a local train to Flåm on the Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord. The entire waterway is 204 kilometers long and up to 1,308 meters deep, but we just took a two hour tour (in which the weather was amazingly beautiful) of a couple tributaries. The train ride three quarters of the way west to Myrdal was beautiful, but the local train down the mountain to the fjord was even more spectacular. None of this compared, however, with the ferry boat from Flåm to Voss. I have lots of pictures and I will post the good ones in a board on Pinterest.
The train followed the streams fed by the melting mountain snows and the glaciers. They stopped to let us tourists take photos of one of the many waterfalls. If we had stopped for all of them, the trip would have taken four days instead of one.
At Flåm we switched from train to boat and headed out on the fjord. There were all sizes of watercraft from single kayaks to small cruise ships. Ours was an average sized ferry with no vehicles and too many people. But we managed just fine with our fellow tourists from Netherlands on one side and Milan, Italy on the other and from Thief River Falls and Alexandria (a high school band) all around us.
No, Joe’s not growing a beard per se: just failing to shave. That will be corrected soon after our return. In some of the pictures the water looks blue and in others it looks green. This is probably the picture Pat Dooley, Joe’s mom, will put in her Christmas newsletter. The green is from the Glacial silt and is a lot like the color of the lkes in Glacier National Park, Montana in the US.
Along the way, we saw several villages. In one, there were kids taking turns jumping into the icy cold water. I caught one in mid-air here, but you have to look closely just this side of the floating dock to see him.
The boat brought us into Gudvangen and a bus took us to Voss where we reconnected with the train to Bergen. The roads had many switchbacks ascending and descending the steeper areas, and at one place, se saw a few intrepid skaters who looked like they were getting ready to commit suicide (we took this picture especially for Steven – our own skater as we did on our trip to Russia in which we photographed Russky skaters in Red Square).
We arrived in Bergen late in the evening and our host, Oystein, picked us up in his shiny new Tesla.