Flåm

IMG_5212Flåm (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.

IMG_5275We 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.

IMG_5244The 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.

154It 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.

IMG_5220At the bottom of the valley, instead of building a bridge which might be subject to the weather, they took the river through a tunnel under the railroad.

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.

IMG_5221We took the train just as far as Valnahalsen, about 2660 feet above sea level.  There we had a light snack at a hotel before deciding to take a walk around the area.

IMG_5234We struggled down a steep trail made with course gravel only to meet a family coming the other way — on bicycles!  It may have been a struggle for us, but what a view!

IMG_5251After 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.

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About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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