flåm, ferry, fjords - all roads lead to bergen [norway in a nutshell]



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Justin and I woke up super early to say goodbye to Oslo. It was neat to watch the capital of the country wake up at dawn very slowly during the walk from our flat across the downtown area to the central station. Hardly a soul in sight when we left but by the time we got on our train people were up and about as usual.
This day was a travel day to Bergen and we decided to follow the scenic "Norway in a Nutshell" path  to get there. The plan for the day: train from Oslo to Myrdal, train from Myrdal to Flåm, ferry from Flåm through Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord to Gudvangen, bus from Gudvangen to Voss, and finally one last train from Voss to Bergen. 
View from the last train car leaving Oslo as the sun rises. 
It did not take long to find snow, frozen lakes, and everything metal caked in ice. The day kept altering between deep snow drifts and luscious greenery, depending on the elevation. 
Our first train was really nice. I liked that the WC sign above showed the temperature outside as we traveled. 2 celsius here... Before this trip I'd never really used a train to get from Point A to Point B but by the time I ended up in Copenhagen a few weeks later, I felt like a pro. :)
More snow, less ice. We passed dozens of these perfect little lakes.
This is at the Myrdal station where we switched trains and got on the Flåm railway which is famous for this particular leg of the trip. 
Justin contemplating deep thoughts on life. Or maybe just thinking about lunch haha. I loved this old train from the early 1950's. 
As we got going the landscape got a bit wild and harsh but in the middle of it all, someone decided it would make a nice place to live. At least their skis probably get good use. Not sure about that bike though.
At this point I felt like I was living inside of a Warren Miller film. Which was totally fitting because it was Justin and Dad who taught me how to ski and took me to those films every year when I was growing up. (I did not see any penguins or polar bears despite what the scenery would suggest.)
And then seemingly out of nowhere the snow was gone and turned into beautiful fall countryside.
Currently where I live in LA we are restricted to 15 minutes of water for the lawns, one day out of the week, and only when the sun isn't up. Somehow I don't think these people have the same problem because their yard looks pretty green to me.
Waterfalls were a highlight of the day. I lost count after I reached a hundred. 
Coming into the colorful village Flåm. 
I would love to come back in the summer and spend a couple days here, exploring the village and venturing out to see the stave churches in the area.
Forgive me for taking a photo of a rock sitting in water. But it was so clear and blue! I don't think I've seen anything like it.
At least until I saw this.
The Flåm train stopped at this little outlook point so we could check out this HUGE waterfall, Kjosfossen. Now when I see ads for bottled water that claim to be so pure from glaciers or whatever, I think of this. 
Flåmsbana, our train about to tunnel through the mountain. 
Siblings say hello :) We were actually pretty terrible the whole trip at remembering to stop and take photos of us doing touristy stuff so it was a good reminder when everyone else hopped off the train and started passing around the cameras.
Back on our way! Back to feeling like I was living in a snow globe.  
Making friends with the locals. In Norway you are totally welcome to take your dog on the train, you just have to buy a ticket for it. 
Before I left on my trip I sat down with Grandma West and looked at her photo albums of the trips my grandparents took to Scandinavia. She said that Grandpa got such a kick out of the trolls that were everywhere and always had to stop and take a picture. I felt like two generations down the line and I'm seeing the same places they saw, so Justin and I did the same. (P.S. If I sent you a postcard from Norway, just know that I chose it from that rack of postcards in the background. And 80% of my options here were postcards of naked Nords in nature in some pose or another and I really had to resist sending those.) 
Justin snapped this photo right before we got on our ferry to sail through the fjords. 
And away we go... it was FREEZING COLD on the boat and there was a little cabin we could stay warm in, but it was worth it to venture outside to capture the view.
Think about how tall grown trees get. Then realize how tiny they look up on top of the cliff. Then realize just how huge that cliff is. Imagine repelling off that. I will stick to 9th street in Ogden, thanks.
These fjords were the first of five UNESCO world heritage I would see in three weeks time (six if Amalienborg ever gets approved.)
Bless Lady Elisabeth for not making me sea sick. More on that later.
Eventually I turned into an ice cube and had to enjoy the view from inside, but Justin stuck it out for a long time. 
Sunrise to sunset, the whole day was beautiful. When we docked at Gudvangen the sun was gone and it was not even 4pm. It was pitch black by the time we got on a bus to Voss. Now that I think about it, maybe this is where Voss water originates...
After the bus and one more quick train we finally made it to Bergen. Our little Airbnb flat was adorable and this place also had heated bathroom floors! Scandinavians really have it figured out.
Bryggen is this medieval wharf founded in the year 1070 A.D. and UNESCO site #2 for me. The sun was down but we still had hours left in the day and it was kind of fun wandering around this town after dark. 
 Ferries docked for the night with Bergenhus Fortress in the background.
In the fortress was Haakon's Hall. It's unknown exactly when this was built, the best records can pinpoint is that it wasn't there for a coronation in 1247 but it was present for a wedding in 1261. 
Foundations of buildings excavated in the fort next to Haaken's Hall. Some shadow puppet dancing definitely happened here. 
 Rosenkrantz Tower, "The Keep by the Sea"
 Also super old.
At this point it was the end of a long day and we were tired!  
But first, this church was right in front of where we were staying.  
 One thing that seems to be lacking from modern architecture is the lack of detail and craftsmenship. I mean this is just a simple door but the ironwork is stunning.
The door by the stairs is where we stayed. Exploration + sleep time = something like 14 hours in Bergen. Not enough! But we had an early morning flight to Riga, Latvia to catch in the morning so until then...

1 comments:

Carrie and Tyson at: March 14, 2016 at 12:10 AM said...

I loved this so much! Your photos are just beautiful! And Norway is beautiful and your written sense of humor makes me snicker! And now I have wanderlust.

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