Through the Fjord

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Our Fjord Route On August 16 we left Oslo on a three-day side trip through the Sognefjord (Norway's largest fjord) to Bergen. We passed through some truly breathtaking scenery, which unfortunately for us was obscured much of the time by rain and clouds. However, we saw and did enough on this side trip to appreciate the beauty of the fjords. The route we took is a variation of a popular tourist trip known as "Norway in a Nutshell".

The first part of the train trip took us northwestward out of Oslo, through low flat country with pretty farms. Soon we were ascending into forests and lumber towns. Finally, we reached high barren land of snow, lakes, and glaciers. In the rain clouds at Myrdal we switched trains. As there were not enough seats on the Flåm Railway, we stood for most of the next hour as the train switched back and forth, going through something like twenty tunnels, down to sea level. The route goes down a very steep mountainside, along rivers, past waterfalls and cliffs -- there was a lot to look at, when we weren't in the mist.

Glaciers and Snow
Glaciers in the Mountains
At Myrdal Station
At Rainy Myrdal Station
Descending Flam Valley
Descending the Fl
åm Valley
Flam Canyon
View Uphill From Fl

Down in Flåm, we connected with a fast ferry boat. The ferry route goes all the way to Bergen, but we split the trip into a two-day excursion, spending a night in Balestrand. The scenery on the way to Balestrand was beautiful, and the weather was improving. Balestrand is a small town that has seen a succession of industries: lumber, fishing, and tourist. These days, it seems to rely primarily on tourism. We stayed in a two-room suite in the fine old hotel in town, Kvikne's ( In the photo below of Kviknes, you can see Marjorie and the boys waving from our balcony under the second gable from the left.

Kvikne's has a spacious dining room that looks right out onto the fjord. That night, we sampled all the wonderful dishes on the smorgasbord until we were stuffed. The next morning the rain had returned, in the form of a steady drizzle. We checked out of the hotel room, spent a couple of hours in the nice little aquarium in town, then set out on a short hike up in to the hills behind town, called "Raudmelen". The hike was very steep, but we took our time, and stopped for lunch at a picnic area partway up (we didn't get anywhere near the top). On the trail the boys saw their first hedgehog, and we went by the biggest anthill any of us had ever seen -- over three feet tall, made of pine needles, and completely covered with ants. Eew!

View from Balesntrand Hotel Window
View from our room in Balestrand

Kvikes's Hotel, Balestrand
Kvikes's Hotel, Balestrand

On Our Hike in Balestrand
On Our Hike in Balestrand

View of Balestrand and Sognefjord

After hiking back down to Balestrand and retrieving our luggage from the hotel, we caught the 5:00 PM ferry to Bergen. As we left Baledstrand the sun was shining and the scenery was very beautiful. However, we soon moved into some very hard rain, which prevented us from seeing much outside. As we neared the coast, the fjord widened, and filled with small, rocky, treeless islands. Suddenly, we started to see roads, bridges, and buildings again, and we swung into Bergen's busy harbor of Bryggen. Luckily it wasn't raining as we got off the boat, and in the early dusk the boys noticed a bunch of little fish flipping around the surface of the water behind the boat pier. We stayed to watch the fish, and before long, sleek white birds arrived (we think they were arctic terns) to dive in and catch the fish.

We don't have many pictures of Bergen (and none worth showing here), because it rained almost all the time we were there. In fact, at one point it was raining to hard we had to seek refuge in a shop because the street was flooding. In spite of the wet weather we did our share of sightseeing, and enjoyed the Hanseatic Museum, the Funicular ride to see the view atop Fløien, tasting whale at the fish market, but most of all the indoor swimming pool in our hotel (Radisson SAS Royal). You'll have to take our word for it, but Bergen is a picturesque city. (


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This page last modified on January 15, 2001