Originally published on 28 May 2014.
And now we’re off to explore Norway in a Nutshell! First stop, the train station!
Well, the first stop was actually breakfast. =)
Now we’re off to the train station! “Norway in a Nutshell” is a tour that takes you from Bergen, on the west coast of Norway, to Oslo, the capitol of Norway on the southeast coast. This is what we did on Steve’s birthday (May 9), so that made it extra special! Here’s the overview: scenic train ride, scenic bus ride, fjord cruise, train up to the snowy mountains, and another train to Oslo. It’s going to be a full day!
The views from the first train ride were beautiful! Norway’s mountains and lovely blue bodies of water are truly breath-taking. We were definitely there at a good time, too, what with so many flowers and other plants blooming.
The train stopped in this little tiny town, whose name I cannot recall, and we all piled into a couple of charter buses. The driver (who said everything in English) was so cute! People in Scandinavia were terribly friendly, which made the experience all the more fun and entertaining!
The route we took on the bus was the primary road between Bergen and Oslo until as recently as 1999. Take a look:
Our bus driver nonchalantly said, “This was a problem in the winter.” No kidding! They now have a very nice, much straighter, much flatter main road, so the huge tour buses and other sightseers take this one instead!
Down, down, and around we go, weaving through the mountains and valleys, down to the fjords! So, what’s a fjord? According to Wikipedia, a fjord is “a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion.” And it’s pretty impressive!
The fjord cruise was my favorite part. I just wish I hadn’t been so tired and the sound and feel of the running engine hadn’t been so very relaxing! We saw villages where people still live alongside the shoreline and up the mountain sides. The mail is still carried by row boat across the fjord from village to village in some cases, and there’s even one village that can only be accessed by climbing a ladder up to it! These people live the same way they have for centuries, but to me it seems like a fun fairytale!
We got out at a cute, tiny town called Flaam. No, not like phlegm, like Flaam. We had a couple of hours to spend before catching our next train, so we went off to explore! There are a few hiking trails, some shops, and even a resort, but nothing else! We saw a few homes on our walk, but for the most part, the town seemed to be made for tourists! And these beautiful light purple flowers seemed to be growing everywhere. Steve said these flowers must be like Scandinavian edelweiss.
Skip ahead a couple of hours, and we’re off again! Here we go!
Choo choo! I had Steve take that picture to make my little brother Joel envious. Anyone who knows Joel knows he was very excited about trains when he was little!
Up, up, and up we go! Up the hills. Up into the mountains.
Then it was up into the SNOW! Yes indeed, the freshly fallen type! Folks are still skiing the slopes through mid-May, at least around there. Glad we dressed in layers!
So that train dropped us off at a tiny train station for a bit until the next train to Oslo came through. The last leg of our trip was a 5-hour train ride into downtown Oslo. It’s really handy having daylight until 10:30 pm–we still got to see a lot of things, even in the late evening. We also took the opportunity to just relax and read. It was nice to have some built-in down time!
And at long last, we arrived! Now we just needed to find the hotel, which should be adjacent to the train station… By the time we really found it and made our way through all the people, we were so ready for bed! With so much to do and see in Oslo, we needed our beauty rest!
Come join us in out next adventure: taking on Oslo! Vikings, history, and more fjords await!