Today was a lot of short trips making up the journey from Bergen to Oslo. Norway tourism has been smart and created a very successful package called “Norway in a nutshell”. It allows travellers options to see the fjords, the mountains etc by providing co-ordinated schedules – get on train to Voss at 8:40, take bus to Gudvangen at 11am etc.
The initial train from Bergen to Voss (1 hour journey) was full of people off to the skifields. The scenery in many ways was very similar to Lake Wakitipu and Central Otago.
From Voss we had an hour’s bus ride to Gudvangen. The bus driver provided a bit of insight into the places we were passing, such as all the churches are east facing, buildings having notable foundations to enable them to cope with avalanche wind impacts. There is a lot of Trout and Salmon fishing in Norway’s lakes and rivers if you are interested.
From Gudvangen we took a ferry through a narrow arm of the Sognefjord to a small town called Flåm. The journey through the fjord was lovely, but again a little reminiscent of NZ. The sun was shining and there was almost no breeze, it was a lovely clear cold day with some ice on the water. The reflections in the water were lovely.
From Flåm we took the 14:50 train to Myrdal. We knew we would be 2 hours early for our connection to Oslo, but we thought it would be better to head to the main trunk line, and have something to see instead of the small village of Flḁm.
The Flåmbana, a rail journey of 20km up to the Mountain plateau takes 45 minutes due to the gradient. Almost 80% of the line has a gradient of 1:18. There are 20 tunnels; 18 of which were excavated by hand. The scenery is stunning, heaps of snow, mountains and ravines to rivers and waterfalls. It was a very nice trip, made better by the small number of people on the train. It meant we could cross from seats on one side of the carriage to those on the other, depending on which side the attractions were.
Arriving in Myrdal we found it was even smaller than Flåm. There is 2m of snow against some of the buildings. There are a smattering of buildings, all shut for the winter and once the train to Bergen took the rest of our group away, I think we were the *only* people in town. Luckily there was a warm waiting room at the station as we waited the requisite 2 hours for the connecting train to Oslo.
The countryside on the way to Oslo was magnificent. There were many ski and wintersport areas very close to the train tracks.