Flåm (pronounced similar to flum as in plum) lies at the innermost part of the Aurlandsfjord. That fjord is a tributary of the Sognefjord, Norway’s longest fjord. Sognefjord is one hundred thirty miles long and up to 4,291 feet deep. Bergen was a nice town, but this is spectacular scenery.
We wished Michelle, who loves waterfalls, could have been there because around each bend was a new stream. They often looked high and thin. They were very high, but when you compared them next to a farmhouse or barn near the base, you realized they were anything but thin. It was all a matter of perspective.
The village of Flåm lies about a mile inland, but the town extends to the shore where there is a marina, apartments, a hotel and the terminus of the Flamsbana, an electric railway completed in 1940 that connects to the main Oslo-to-Bergen track. To avoid avalanches, the line crisscrosses the river three times as it climbs up a steep valley.
It was a major engineering challenge to build a railroad some 2833 feet down the precipitous mountainsides over just a little more than twelve and a half miles. There are twenty tunnels totaling six kilometers. Eighteen of those were dug out by hand, each meter taking a month’s labor. At one point, one tunnel curves almost one hundred and eighty degrees.
Even had our pictures not been taken through the glass train-windows, no camera could give full justices to such vast and beautiful scenery. It was one case in which you truly had to be there, even on a rainy day.
After returning to Flåm, we chose to just walk out around the fjord looking at the scenery before returning to our ship, but it gave us a chance to compare our ship, a 113,561 ton vessel with 19 decks, against the mountainside.