We made our way back to the Oslo train station, found our luggage locker, and headed to the train to Flåm, also known as the Bergen Railway to start our first leg of the Norway in a Nutshell tour.
The Bergen Railway was built by Swedish rail workers between 1906 and 1908 to connect and unite the country. Previously, the only route was the Kings Road which took 11 days to get from Bergen (the original capital) to Oslo.
The ride was nice, quiet, and smooth.
As the train pulled out of Oslo, the scenery quickly changed from urban city to rural country side.
We passed a very large and picturesque lake and several smaller lakes.
There were rolling hills and fields of crops.
Cute houses and buildings dotted the side of the tracks.
And we saw a storm brewing on one of the lakes
We passed through the towns of Gol, home to a Stave Church that was built in 1216 AD, and Ål, home to another stave church. The theory behind the short village names such as Gol and Ål was that when you were very drunk, you would still be able to mutter or grunt the name of your hometown to get home.
We slowly gained elevation, and the scenery changed from green fields to snow-dotted passes. We made stops in towns such as Finse (4000 ft), a ski town established in 1908 after the train was built:
and Ustaoset :
The landscape became less populated and more snowy:
We finally arrived at Myrdal, a picturesque way-station town
where we switched trains and boarded the Flåm Railway a.k.a. Flåmsbana.
The Flåm Railway takes a circuitous route down the mountain into the little town of Flåm. It was built in 1940 and the interior still reflects its heritage:
Leaving Myrdal, we entered a snow tunnel and wound our way in and out of them along the hillside.
As we exited the last tunnel, we arrived at our first and only stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall which runs under the tracks.
As we left the waterfall, we were treated to a view looking back up the valley towards Myrdal:
and a view of the valley below:
The train continued winding down the valley,
providing us another view up to Myrdal:
The way down to Flåm is filled with waterfalls,
and picturesque views:
We pulled into the tiny town of Flåm about 8:30PM while it was still light out.
Flåm is a multi-modal port with rail, ship and roads originating/terminating from it.
We found our hotel – the historic Fretheim Hotel – a few steps away from the train platform.
We checked in to the hotel and enjoyed some local Ægir beer from the lobby while we watched the sunset over the fjord:
Tomorrow, we have a day of sightseeing and tour the area.
Happy RTW Travels!