Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
by Owen Lipsett
New York, New York
December 14, 2004
The approach to Flåm, a tiny village at the edge of Aurlandsfjorden, is exceptional in its own right – many people consider the rail journey from Oslo to Bergen the most beautiful in the world. The portion between Oslo and Myrdal, which passes across the tundra-like Hardangervidda plateau as well as innumerable picturesque alpine villages, is enough to confirm this notion on its own. From Myrdal, the Flåm Railway, one of the world’s steepest at narrow gauge, twists down past still more picturesque scenery to the village of Flåm, stopping only at Kjofossen Waterfall.
The first thing that strikes you as the boat moves out into the center of the fjord is how tiny Flåm appears against the mountains and how they appear small against the sky. While Flåm’s population of 400 is miniscule even for a Norwegian fjord town, I found this leitmotif repeated throughout the journey, as villages seemed to cling to every bit of remotely even terrain by the shoreline on the edge of the fjords that dwarfed them.
Aurlandsfjorden intersects with Sognefjorden, the longest and deepest in Norway.
Even in summer, the air coming across the fjord is quite cool and surprisingly dry in its inland portions, however, because it intersects with the Gulf Stream, its main arm never freezes over, making it a key artery for western Norway. The boat stops in Vangsnes, a small farming community with a gigantic statute of Fridtjof, a hero of the Norwegian sagas, Vik (home to one of Norway’s few preserved stave churches), and Balestrand, where Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany once regularly vacationed.
All these towns are tiny; I was particularly struck that when the boat stopped, only a few people would get on and off, and there seemed to be more people working at the dock than actually waiting for the boats. Having been introduced to Norway in Oslo, I felt this somewhat touristy journey gave me a truer sense of the country’s tenacious people, its seafaring history, and its beautiful, yet inhospitable geography. After reaching the end of the fjord, the boat swept around the more verdant coast toward Bergen and the towns became much larger, eventually giving way to Bergen’s suburbs and then the city itself.
Exhausted (the entire journey from Oslo took 12.5 hours) and exhilarated, I saw that Bergen in many ways resembled one of the fjord towns, but grown larger and more beautiful. It’s easy to see why many visitors take a 1-day roundtrip journey to Flåm .
From journal Bergen's Natural, Cultural, and Historical Beauty
Victoria, British Columbia
February 20, 2001
We cruised along the Songefjord to the Aurland fjord on a fast boat for 4.5 hours. We changed boats in the middle of the water at the Midtfjord to a slower ferry, where we sat outside the whole time. The scenery went from beautiful to breathtaking at this point. Snowcapped mountains, waterfall-it was just gorgeous. We continued cruising down the Naeroyfjord for another 1.5 hours, the world's narrowest fjord. It was spectacular. We docked in Gudavangen, where a bus met us to take us back to Voss, via a scenic route. It stopped to let us get shots of the panorama. From Voss, we took the train back to Bergen. An absolute highlight.
From journal Beautiful Bergen, Noway
by Jarvey Jornada
San Francisco, California
February 16, 2001
The view on re-entering Bergen harbor is remarkable (and you'll be ready if it was as cold as our day). Try to do this on a sunny day; I imagine the thrill is reduced somewhat by rain, although the running waterfalls in the rain might be pretty neat too.
From journal Bergen in three days