Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Train to Flåm, at Last!


October 12, 2018

We got up early, trudged to the bus station carrying our heavy bags and caught a bus to the train station, feeling like pros getting around now that we’d spent 3 days in Bergen. This time we’d thought ahead to reserve seats, using our first class Eurail pass ticket. We were going back from Bergen to Oslo, with a detour to Flåm

The train to Flåm takes about an hour and is famous for its magnificent mountain views. We’d planned to go on our way to Bergen but an avalanche had closed down the line. But we were determined to try again.

In Myrdal, the timing is tight for getting off the Oslo train and getting on the Flåm train. We had about five minutes in between but made it no problem, as Myrdal is small. A small crowd of people got off to join the Flåm train, many of them a group of Japanese that wanted to stay together and waved us to get in another coach, which we did.

The Flåm train is an older, more quaint train, the sort you might expect to take you to Hogwarts. It goes a little slower and the windows (which were quite clean) had several that would slide open from the top to take pictures. We put our two huge backpacks, and spare bags in a luggage rack, got our cameras out and settled down for picture taking.

 The ride was well worth it; amazing scenery straight from a postcard. So we kept busy, Khevron with his camera and me with my 360 GoPro. The car wasn’t very crowded and soon everyone was moving from one side to another to catch the best angle to take photos or video from.

I opened the window and stuck my 360 camera out the window to maximize its usefulness, otherwise, I. Outlying get a shot of the inside of the train.

 After an hour of happy picture taking, including a stop at a magnificent waterfall, where they actually let you out for five minutes, we arrived in Flåm.

At first I was taken aback that we would have 4 hours to kill in this little town and almost tried to talk Khevron into getting back on the same train to go back to Myrdal. But we didn’t (as he pointed out that there was even less to do in Myrdal but wait for our other train). So I relented.

But, happily, we found a self-guided hike to a waterfall that looked doable, that we could do in 2-1/2 hours, so we opted for it. The first 30 minutes were easy, and then we got to the actual trail, which was very steep.

 It did have a stone stairway, made of every large, uneven stones. I got the hang of navigating it but soon grew out of breath. The truth is: I’m in terrible shape (not for my age--I think I do pretty well for someone who is 50-something). But even the 27,000 step day climbing to Floyen didn’t get me ready for this.

I took a number of breaks to get up to the top, but the view was worth it. The waterfall was spectacular but also, we had a magnificent view of the valley. And it was October 12th and the leaves were all turning golden yellow and an occasional wind would send a cascade of color around us.

 Also, we were the only ones here! So I was able to take great 360 photos without other tourists coming up behind me to shoot, not realizing my camera shot in every direction. In Iceland e saw a wonderful waterfall but there had been maybe 100 other tourists there (we’d gone on a tour bus).

We got some bangers and mash for dinner and caught the train back to Myrdal and then to Oslo. We were both pretty worn out.

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