Day 1: Oslo to Flåm
Oslo to Bergen by train is 496km and Myrdal to Flåm return is 40km
For the first day of our Norwegian journeys we took the morning train from Oslo to Myrdal. There was some rain but we had mostly clear views and some sun. There were patches of snow as we went higher which became a feature of the holiday. The train was quite full and, whilst we had a window seat, the view out wasn't as good as we'd have liked - it's a bit of a lottery when booking seats.
We were sitting near an American couple and the man got off the train to take photographs several times to take photos even though the train was running late - he almost missed getting back on at one stop!
For this journey we hadn't got into the habit of taking photos through the windows so the first ones weren't taken until we reached the high mountain section beyond Geilo.
The high point of the Bergen line is at Finse (1222m above sea level). Winter was still very apparent here, even in mid June, with ice on the Finsevatnet lake opposite the station and the Hardangerjøkulen glacier beyond. As can be seen a group of Japanese tourists rushed off the train to take photos even though the train was 20 minutes late. Stephen took this photo from the carriage door and had to keep pressing the door button to stop the door closing and marooning the Japanese at Finse. The conductor was obviously not pleased...
More frozen lakes between Finse and Myrdal
Myrdal is probably one of the best known stations in Norway as it's the junction for the dramatic railway line down to the coast at Flåm. This is our train after arrival from Oslo.
We went for a walk along the Rallarvegan foot and mountain bike path, used during the construction of the line in the 1940s, so as to have a break from the crowds and see a little of the mountains on foot.
This photo shows the view down the valley to Flåm from near Myrdal. The line is the steepest adhesion-only railway line in the world with sections at 1 in 14. We stopped here for our sandwich lunch and then went back to the station for coffee
This photo gives an idea of the location of Myrdal with the snow and rockfall sheds over the railway.
Not the prettiest of photos, but Fran's snapshot shows a freight train heading towards Oslo with the Flåm line dropping downhill below.
We took the next train to Flåm. Again it was a full train, with many Japanese in our coach.
Soon after leaving Myrdal ,and after dropping down through several spiral tunnels, the train stops on a bridge to see the Kjosfossen waterfall.
The falls might be utterly magnificent, especially with al the spring snow melt water but the woman (in red) singing a Norwegian folk song seems a bit "twee".
Looking back up to Myrdal with the zig zags of the Rallarvegan path.
Looking down the valley towards Flåm.
Flåm church is in the 3km from the terminus and was built in 1667.
Flåm is obviously totally devoted to getting people on and off the trains and, during the day, is frankly pretty awful. We went to buy tickets on for return to Myrdal the next day on arrival in Flåm and had a long wait. We noticed that two of that afternoon's trains were fully booked, which could be a problem if you needed to make a connection at Myrdal.
Stephen allowed a very worried Japanese tour guide in front of him as he was collected pre- booked tickets for his group who were about to board the train!
We then checked into youth hostel and then went to buy breakfast in supermarket, detouring to watch a large cruise ship leave.
Went back out later for pizza and home made gelato and took this photo looking down the Aurlandsfjord! It was a much nicer place in the evening when the crowds had gone.
Flåm is also the port for several ferries which tie up at the quayside by the station.
Click here to go the next page - Flåm to Bergen.