Posted by: Sarah | August 7, 2011

Touring West Norway Day 6: Pining For The Fjords…One Last Time!


Yesterday we reached the final day of our tour around the west coast of Norway and Eliot and Dad had flown into Bergen to join us for this final leg.  We were all completely stuffed after a delicious meal at Bryggeloftet & Stuene on Bryggen to celebrate my birthday (I highly recommend the steak in pepper sauce) as well as a short visit to Dyvekes wine bar (thanks for the tip Øyvind!)

The “Norway In A Nutshell” trip is the most popular tour by Fjord Tours.  It can be done as a round trip from Oslo (22 hours) or a one way tour from Oslo or Bergen (14 hours).  It is a long day but wow, you pack in some fantastic scenery.  It truly is Norway in a Nutshell.  You get scenic rail trips, fjord cruises and a coach trip down one of the steepest roads in northern Europe (very scary). 

We started at 8.40am on the Bergen Railway to Voss.  At the start of the journey you spend more time looking at tunnels than scenery but be patient – you’ll soon see a change in scenery and the fjords start appearing!  We boarded a coach at Voss and started on our way deeper into the fjords.  Suddenly you hit Stalheimskleiva – a 1.5km stretch of road that is 1:5 gradient (20%) with 13 hairpin bends (unlucky number perhaps?).  Thank goodness the road was one-way only but note it’s only open between May and September.  Apparently the road was built between 1842 and 1846 in order to improve the post road between Oslo and Bergen.  You see some fantastic waterfalls on the way down. 

We continued on and joined a ferry-boat for a fjord cruise along Nærøyfjord, Norway’s narrowest fjord where one section is just 250m wide.  We then sailed into Aurlandsfjord – a 17km branch of the worlds second longest fjord Sognefjord (204 km).  We even saw seals basking on the waters edge.  Together with Nærøyfjord, Aurlandsfjord is one of the most picturesque fjords in the world and another UNESCO world heritage site

The cruise ends at a little place called Flåm where you catch the Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway) for some of the most breathtaking scenery you will ever see in Norway.   Top tip:  Sit on the right hand side of the train as you look to the front of the train –
you’ll get some of the best views. 

 The Flåm Railway is one of the worlds steepest railway lines on normal gauge.  The train climbs up and up until you reach Myrdal Station.  If you have time (and I really wished we had) you can hire bikes for 260NOK and cycle back down to Flåm on an amazing looking cycle route (approx 18km).  You then get the Flåm train back up again.  It’s now on my list!

The final leg of the tour takes you back on the Bergen Railway line back to Oslo.  It’s a long trip so you might want to take a book but keep the camera ready…the scenery doesn’t disappoint.  If you’re lucky with the weather you’ll see a glacier on the way back at Finse – the highest point of The Bergen Railway.

We’ve had such a wonderful time touring the west coast of Norway.  I found myself liking the scenery in Norway to parts of the Rockies in Canada, the south island in New Zealand, the mountains in Wales, Yosemite in the USA, the Andes in South America…even parts of the coastline of Hawaii.  Never did I think I would see such extensive beauty in one country. 

Thanks Mum for sharing this amazing experience with me!

 

 

 

 

 

I had to include this sketch from Monty Python.  I go back to work this week – I love my job but I think I’m going to find myself pining for the fjords like a Norwegian Blue Parrot.  Enjoy!

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Responses

  1. Thank you, Sarah. Beautiful pictures, great blog, funny (as always) Monty Python episode. :)


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