Day 8: The Amazing Race to the Fjords
This morning I felt like I was on an episode of the Amazing Race. Because of rainy weather on the North Sea last night, our shipped docked in Oslo behind schedule leaving us less than 15 minutes to make our train connection to Flam on the Aeulandsfjorden. Once they opened the doors to let us off the ship, we raced down the ramp, flagged a taxi, and I literally threw myself in. Thinking of the show I wanted to say, "Drive fast and please hurry," but in real life, that would be irresponsible. Instead, with the station in sight, we inwardly groaned when the driver drove on a highway ramp and said, "Oops my fault. Wrong way." Glancing at my watch my heart sank knowing we had missed this important connection, but would you believe, he turned around and by running full speed we actually made it aboard the train just as the doors snapped shut.
The seven hour train ride through the countryside was stunning. As we moved northward through the Norwegian countryside the terrain changed from gently rolling farmland to crystal clear lakes. Soon the train began its ascent to the highest railroad station in northern Europe.Tall rugged mountains were covered with patches of snow. Tiny red wooden houses dotted the land, but with all the boulders from the glaciers I 'm not sure how anyone could eke out a living.
We changed trains in Myrdal to the Flam Railway. Built in the 1940's, the train retains old- world charm with polished wood and brass and faded orange fabric seats. We stopped at Kjosfossen waterfall which seems as thunderous as Niagara Falls. Mystical music played while two woman seemed to magically appear before the falls to dance. Continuing on, as the train descended down to sea level, the views into the valley below were incredible with rushing mountain streams, waterfalls, and forests.
Our final stop was Flam. It's the home base for fjord tours. Our accommodation, Heimly Pension, overlooks the fjord. The water is crystal clear and so deep that two cruise ships were moored in the harbor a stone's throw from shore. We ate dinner in a cafe right on the water and a quietness settled over the town without all the day trippers. Thinking back to how my day began, I'm glad I'm not on the Amazing Race. That way I can stay awhile and enjoy the views.