Flam is for tourists

Flam is for tourists, of that there is no doubt.

Anywhere that has a train that stops in a tunnel so you can get out, take pictures of a waterfall and be serenaded by some character dressed as a mythical legend with piped music has got to have tourism nailed right…….

But before the tourists, there were the locals, and you have to have some sympathy for them, because if I lived here, I would not want massive cruise ships coming up my Fjord.

L1005074

Flam is for tourists

I wouldn’t want to be living here with this load of invaders; certainly Flam is for tourists, and it shouldn’t be!

Let’s start by leaving Bergen on a train…..

IMG_0237 IMG_0239 IMG_0241 IMG_0242 IMG_0243

Actually, you feel pretty relaxed after a lovely local train trundle from Bergen up through Voss and climbing over the mountains to the railway station and junction of the regional mainline at Myrdal; unaware of the tourism honeytrap you are about to encounter.

IMG_0245

Opened in 1908 this little station is where it all happens (at 866 metres above sea level). Looking back at our visit to the amazing Jungfrau railway in August 2013, makes me realise that this is really nothing compared to that 3,454m station – Transfer from the regional red train to the tourist green one – and off you go!

IMG_0250 IMG_0248

From here, the famous Flåm Railway winds its way down to the tourism mecca of the fjord below.

L1005095 L1005091 IMG_0275 IMG_0263 IMG_0261

It’s hard not to get caught up in the tourist shots; ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ seems to be designed for the sort of traveller who wants to see the entire country in 24 hours while in a sprawling queue behind an iPad waving umbrella holding tour guide, helping them from ship to shore, to train to hotel to plane. Not for me thanks.

Norway in a Nutshell…..No thanks!

L1005096 L1005085 L1005083 L1005081 L1005080 L1005075 L1005070 L1005067 IMG_0276

 

You see; it could be a nice place without the tourists. But with a major travel interchange big enough to welcome the QE2 and load them on a big train, then sadly the only way to enjoy the area is to get on a boat and out of town, up the Fjord.

L1005113 L1005112 L1005111 L1005109 L1005104 L1005103 L1005100 L1005097 IMG_3310 IMG_0268 IMG_0269

Now we are getting somewhere!

taking a regular ferry up the fjord with a cup of coffee and your camera is the way to really take in the scene for a few hours; so after we packed up and stored our bags away, it was time for the highlight of the week so far –  the fjord tour and cheese making…

IMG_0274

Fjordcruise Nærøyfjorden

We start off with a little bus through amazing tunnels to Gudvangen; this was only built 20 years ago and until then this part of the world was cut off by road and only accessible by boat!

L1005142

From Gudvangen we jumped on to the 10.30 ferry/boat out up the Fjord and were soon sailing past Styvi and Dyrdal, getting to Undredal after an hour and a half; a very pleasant cruise.

L1005124 L1005117 L1005120

We hopped of in Undredal and were met by a guide; a super local chap.

L1005140 L1005141

He took us on a tour of village and the highlight was a look inside the amazing church.

L1005127 L1005129 L1005130 L1005133 L1005134

Undredal Stave Church (Norwegian: Undredal stavkyrkje) is a stave church in Aurland Municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, on the shore of the Aurlandsfjorden.

The church is part of the Undredal parish in the Indre Sogn deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.[1][2]

The church is only 12 by 4 metres (39 by 13 ft) and has only 40 seats, making it the smallest stave church still in use in all of Scandinavia. The parish only includes one small, rather isolated valley, with only 116 parishioners, making it the second smallest parish in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.[3]

L1005138 L1005137 L1005136

Ostesmaking (cheese tasting and explanation) was all very good in the village, I can see why they were happy to be cut off until 1989 when the tunnel and road was built!

L1005150

Soon it was time to be back on the bus to Flam. (Sadly) And after a look in the railway museum, pick up our bags, have a coffee and then get back on the Flam Express to connect for Oslo train later.

L1005155 L1005154 IMG_0286 IMG_0275

While waiting to board it was good to chat with some elderly American fellow travellers, on a three week Scandinavian mini tour they have also taken in St Petersburg (jealous now)!

The scenery on this late afternoon trip was superb from our reserved seats on the Myrdal -Oslo leg – a 4.5 hour spectacular over the mountains and down to our final destination.

IMG_0288

Itmay not be Switzerland but i don’t think I have been on a more stunning (regular) train ride in such comfort at such altitude.

Even better, unlike Northern Rail, the hotel emailed a menu through and we ordered some snacks and beer for our 10.30pm Oslo arrival – now that is pretty cool!

IMG_0290

All in all, a pretty good couple of days – despite the tourists!

Tip for next time – avoid at all costs and take to the hills!

L1005135

next stop….Oslo.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *