Kjosfossen Waterfall 2

Time to move on – to day we will travel from Oslo on the Norwegian East Coast to Bergen on the West via the other highlight of our Aurora Safari Tour, Norway in a Nutshell.

It was to be a long day with various forms of travel using train, bus and boat. Due to this we were advised to arrange with the hotel to have our luggage taken to our Bergen Hotel by a courier to save us having to move the luggage from train to bus to boat a few times. Although this was an added cost, about which we had been advised, it was well worthwhile. 

We started the day at 08:30 by travelling by regional train from Oslo to Finse, from the sea level city of Oslo to one of the highest points in Norway at 1222m. It was amazing scenery and it was really interesting to see the changes in foliage and the tree lines which gradually disappeared. By the time we reached Finse we had travelled into the mountains and the temperature had dropped considerably. There was a very strong wind blowing and sleet swirling around. From there we moved on to Myrdal at 866m.

Our train from Bergen arrived late so we missed our first connection on the Flåm Railway which was to take us 900ft down to the town of Flåm (pronounced like plum) which is just 2m above sea level. We had to wait about 15 mins in howling winds and swirling sleet, for the next train making us even further delayed. The breath-taking ride seeing some stunning waterfalls and amazing scenery of mountains and mountain roads overcame any issues with late trains and standing in the sleet and rain. The route has 20 tunnels some of which have gaps in the sides so that the waterfalls are not missed. The train stopped at the Kjosfossen Waterfall, dropped a sharp 90m, for passengers to get off the train and take photos. 

Kjosfossen Waterfall 2The Kjossfossen Waterfall

At Flåm, is the Flåm Museum where one can learn about the 20 years spent on the construction of the Flåm Railway showing some incredible photos of the railway as it developed. The men worked under some of the most awful and dangerous conditions. Included in the museum is a souvenir shop where one can buy a variety of things such as the Railway Logos and Norwegian crafts.

Approaching FlamThe approach to Flam

Flåm is situated on the South-Eastern tip of the Aurlandsfjorden and the next step on this tour was to go by boat down through this fjord and into the narrowest in Europe, the Næroyfjorden.

Fjord at FlamThe fjord as we leave Flam

Unfortunately, as it was in Winter and we were so far north, it was dark by 15:30 so we missed seeing this. Although we realised before going that darkness fell early at this time of year, it is one of the issues I have highlighted to the Tour Operator to explain to tourists that it will be unlikely that they will be able to see the beauty of this fjord. We had a few rather angry co-passengers that evening.

We left the boat at Gudvangen which was on the opposite South-Western tip of the fjord. The southern end of the fjord ends in a ‘U’ shape with each of the 2 towns on the ends of the ‘U’. There was a bus waiting for us but, as we arrived 5 mins early we had to wait the 5mins before we left for the town of Voss. The drive apparently took us through the mountainous Nærøydalen Valley but once again it was dark so we could not enjoy the beautiful valley. In the Summer months the route goes on to spectacular Stalheimskleiva Road which has 13 steep and spectacular hairpin bends. In Winter, the bus takes the new and quicker route to Voss with which (all the passengers) were very happy as there had been so many delays during the day and it was now already after 18:00.

At Voss we once more boarded a train, which had waited for us, and were taken to Bergen. We arrived there just after 19:00 and were most grateful that the hotel was right across the road. It was my intention to send an e-mail to one of my sisters with some of my memories of our youngest sister to read at her wake the following day. This became a most frustrating task as one of the hotel’s computers would not link to the internet and the other was exceedingly slow. After 2 hours I gave up and sent a short message on my phone. I was really sorry that it was all I could do.

Besides the appreciation of the journey we got a real surprise when we boarded the boat. A young couple came up to us and asked from where in South Africa we came. When we asked how they knew we came from South Africa he said that he saw the Cape Union Mart logo on Trevor’s shirt and my flip file. They had got married in Pretoria 6 days previously and were now on honeymoon. At breakfast this morning we had met another couple from Cape Town and yesterday we met 2 really nice Singaporean sisters who were doing the same tour as ourselves. It later became amazing how often they were in the same place as ourselves.

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