Wednesday 21st June – Flam, Norway
Weather was clearing though overcast. Great highways today with wide roads for a change. The tunnels we went through were amazing – one of them over 11kms – followed immediately by another over 5 kms long. Scenery again was spectacular as we travelled through lush green valleys with rapids and waterfalls bordering the road most of the way.
We had set the alarm to get up early as we were heading for Flam and hoped to take the Flam train on a magic trip through the fiords. We had short bursts of sunlight so everything looked promising.
Flam is a major tourist town and when we arrived, a cruise ship was in port and at least 15 buses were in the car park. Another destination which not only offers the best and most scenic train ride but also boat trips around Norways longest Fjord Aurlandsfjorden.
Headed to the centre around 10.00 am and the tourist office to book the train trip but was told we couldn’t get on a return trip today – surprise, surprise. Decided to stay here until tomorrow so have booked the return train trip for tomorrow morning at 9.45 am which will bring us back here at lunchtime.
We are staying in town at the tourist park and have a spot on the top level overlooking the cruise terminal, Sognefjord and snow capped mountains all round. Most expensive place we have stayed at so far costing around $40, electricity and showers extra.
Took advantage of this and spent the rest of the day doing some much needed laundry (only $20 for two loads) Internet and of course mingling with the cruise and train tourists in town. There were literally hundreds of people everywhere spending up big. With beers at $16 a pop in the local tourist pub, we opted to come back to the park and enjoy one of the very few remaining Polish beers at $0.70 a pop (while stocks last).
This park has around 100 spots and we were entertained watching people come in, set up tents, and settle in for the night.
Thursday 22nd June – Fjaerland, Norway
Rained slightly through the night and was overcast and drizzling when the alarm went off at 7.00am.
Had invested $90 each for the Flam train ride and we were feeling a little unhappy at weather conditions this morning. We looked down to see so many tents being packed up in the rain and thought how lucky we were to be dry and warm. This area attracts so many hikers and bikers who bring everything with them in backpacks and in saddlebags on their bikes. Doesn’t seem that long ago when we were in the same boat but on reflection was a hundred years ago (when we were young).
Had purchased a couple of new jackets yesterday so after breakfast decided to test these out and ventured down to the train station. Another big cruise ship had replaced the one from yesterday so we knew we would be competing with the shipload for the best seats on the train.
The mountains were again topped with cotton wool and the snow capped mountains around us blended in with the fog and mist and there was no definitive line between Earth and sky. As the train departed, the rain stopped for a while and we were treated to some stunning scenery with waterfalls truly hard to describe. The train was packed with Asians who were busily scurrying from one window to the next to get the best “selfie” photo at every opportunity.
Only one hour to the top at Laerdal and after a short interlude came back down the same way. We agree that though very short, the trip was unbelievable.
Returned around noon and quickly packed down and set off for the day.
Roads were the best yet and as the drizzle had slowed down considerably we made good time. We passed through Laerdalstunnelen, the longest tunnel in the world – a staggering 24.5 kms and at each 6km mark the tunnel is widened and the rock chambers are fitted with magnificent coloured lighting. Just stunning to say the least.
Have fallen in love with this beautiful country (except for some of the roads and that it is so expensive).
We have “wild camped” tonight and sit at the bottom of the Boyabreen Glacier in Fjaerland, in the Jostedalsbreen National Park.
We have met some really lovely people here – mostly Dutch who seem to be travelling in Norway more than any other nationality. We are in a place just before the national park information centre. This would normally fit only 5 motorhomes in but at last count there are around 10 with more driving by continuously trying to find a place for the night.