I’m now on the train en route to Flåm. We’re approaching Ustaoset, and this place is a winter wonderland! The ground is covered with snow, and the water is frozen. I wasn’t expecting this, but it’s completely beautiful. The rest of the train ride has been great too, and it has only gotten better as it it’s gone along. It’s like judging a singing competition. You don’t know how to judge the beginning until you get farther into it. As we left Oslo and saw the first sights of fjords, everyone, including me, started snapping pictures like crazy. Then, as we got farther along, I started looking back at pictures and deleting ones that I knew would not make the cut later. Here are a few pictures from the ride:
Well, the morning began with me waking at 5:30 (like I often do at home), although I had hoped to sleep until 6:15. Why is it that no matter what time zone I am in, no matter how many miles I have walked, and no matter how late I go to bed, my body wants to wake up at 5:30?!?!?! I made breakfast, packed, and headed out the door to the bus stop to get to the train station by 8:25. I arrived early, which gave me time to get a salad and a Norwegian Yogurt (“Go Morgen,” a play on their term for “good morning,” which is “god morgon”) for the train ride. The train headed to Bergen was on track 3, so I made my way down there. It showed up a few minutes later, and I easily found my way to my assigned seat, which fortunately was a window seat with an empty aisle seat. Perfect for taking photos and going to the bathroom!
Just like when it snows in Georgia, everyone on the train seems to be excited to see the snow here in Norway. The “road noise” from the train is even quieter. There are houses scattered all over the snowy landscape. Many of them are red, some are yellow, and some even have grass roofs! We arrive in Myrdal in about 30 minutes, where I have a “layover” of about 30 minutes to take the Flåm Railway.
We’re now in Flåm, and I survived the journey. It was not the least bit scary. In fact, it was wonderful! The ride on the train was smooth and easy. It was a pretty old train car that we were in. It sort of felt like the Dinky train in Princeton! At the station in Myrdal, there were maps of the journey we would be taking, which included some helpful information about the different places we would pass along the way. We made a 5 minute stop at one of the waterfalls, where they built an observation deck. Other waterfalls and villages were passed along the way. the journey from Myrdal to Flåm took about 1 hour.
Arriving in Flåm was exciting. I made it off the train quickly, and I think I was the first person to make it to the front desk to check in at the Fretheim Hotel. The front desk staff were super friendly. I believe that’s the difference in big city versus middle-of-nowhere. I asked about going to Undredal to see where this amazing goat cheese is made, and I was told that I could take a Fjord Safari that included a goat cheese tasting. Although it cost around $100, I was almost ready to do it. However, I found out that that tour doesn’t start until late May. She also said that I could probably take a bus. Unfortunately, the bus that goes to Undredal only stops there once a day, which had already passed. Oh well, no goat cheese this trip. I’ll have to see if I can find it in Bergen or Olso or at somewhere in the USA!
I made a dinner reservation at the restaurant here at the Fretheim Hotel. It’s 399 NOK for a 3 course dinner. I checked around at the other 3 or so restaurants in Flåm to see what my options were. This seemed like the best option, for sure. A close runner-up was a meal of local things, such as reindeer. It was more expensive, and I like my hotel, so I’ll just go with what they have to offer.
Dinner was very good and consisted of a baked salmon appetizer, filet of ling (like cod), and chocolate mousse with fruit. Since they listed allergens on the menu, I asked about gluten. The server was more than happy to give me gluten free bread and give me fruit along with the chocolate mousse instead of cake. It really was great service. The food was very well prepared and tasted good. It was by no means overwhelmingly good, though. Overall, I was very happy with the experience, though, and it reminded me of my days waiting tables at Glen-Ella Springs. Since there is not much to do in Flåm, I decided to just spend the rest of the evening in my room, especially since I have a great view of the fjord. We’re off at 9:00 tomorrow morning for Bergen, where I will stay one night before returning to Oslo.