I’ve been traveling for more than a month and naively expected to be able to blog my experiences as I go. Somehow I learned that I was either too tired from all the adventures to even begin thinking about writing or had no laptop with me at the times when the inspiration came. But now, coffee cup next to me, my own laptop open and peace and quiet in my own house, I am finally able to put some thoughts together which I hope will paint a picture for you (along with the actual pictures, of course:)…
If you ask where Norway is, or how big it is, or what’s it like in general, the answers from people may vary greatly. Most people know a country like this exists and that it has something to do with the Vikings. But I will go out on a limb and say that not many have an idea of what to expect when visiting it.
First and foremost, Norway is a country of astoundingly beautiful nature, multitude of tunnels winding through majestic mountains with cascading waterfalls, mysterious fjords that are dancing inside and alongside the clouds and towns and random mountain cabins with moss rooftops. It is a country that follows rules, and its people are friendly but rather reserved, which is somehow refreshing. It is also a country of expensive cars (Tesla is a popular car brand there) and seemingly very high standard of living although people did not appear to be overworked (major commuter traffic jams are between 2 and 4 p.m. and retail stores are not open on Sundays and only limited time on Saturdays).
If you ever decide to visit Norway, one of the places that is an absolute must to explore is Flam. We did and we certainly feel that we have seen Norway.
Flam, which is part of the world’s deepest and second-largest fjord Sognefjord, is about four and a half hour gorgeous ride North West from Oslo with views like this
Before we reached Flam, we decided to visit a thousand year old stave church in Borgund.
Stavkirke of Borgund dates back to the tenth century, and is one of the remaining few stave churches that were quite prevalent in Norway. It is is all built from wood and is held together by wood fasteners. According to our guide, they keep up with the renovations of the church, which is blasted by elements, but the interior is original.
When we finally reached Flam, the feeling was incredible because along the way it seemed that nature was preparing us for something wonderful. And it certainly did not disappoint!
Since we arrived in the second half of the day and our overnight stay was about an hour away, we decided to take advantage of the walking trails that are available for those who want to explore the Flam on foot.
The adventurous spirit overtook and red trail to Brekkefossen waterfall seemed like an appropriate exercise after an extended drive:) Unfortunately, the climb was so wet and muddy that only three people of our party of nine were able to climb up and enjoy it.
Here it is – Brekkefossen waterfall
Which brings me to give you a piece of advice: good clothing is everything when vacationing in Norway. Sporty, comfortable attire, a rain jacket and hiking boots at a minimum are a must. Because, let’s face it, it is no palm tree laden beach where just a bathing suit would suffice (which is how I felt when I was packing my suitcases on an extremely hot and humid day and thoug:)
The next day, we had a grand plan. We decided to absorb all the beauty the nature has to offer, and to take the Flam railway
It offers unbelievable views of the mountains and waterfalls, along with a couple of stops to take pictures
Words cannot describe the rugged beauty of the mountains and everything you get to experience riding the Flamsbana. It truly is one of the most spectacular journeys…
After exploring the Flam valley on foot and by bikes for a day, it was time for us to head back. And we left the best for last – the magnificent Sognefjord…
A trip up a winding narrow serpentine road with sharp curves is not for the faint of heart. But as they say, fortune comes to those who work hard and take risks. The jewel of Norway was within our sight
The most amazing cloud formations were dancing in and between the mountains. Blink – and you will miss the view, blink again – here it is in all it’s glory…
It is difficult to use just the right words and the pictures, although beautiful, capture only a small fraction of what Flam truly is. If you ever get a chance, go there. Your soul will thank you.