On the day we arrived in Flåm I had risen early. I am a glutton for punishment in that I liked to get to the ship gym as soon as it opened. On our first day on board I had the mistake of getting to the gym for 6am to then discover that it didn’t open until 7am. I never repeated that mistake again. Although it was no bad thing to be up that early. Instead I took the time to have a coffee in the restaurant and I enjoyed the peace and quiet as the ship gently woke up.
I was on the running machine when we made our steady approach into Flåm down the narrow fjord. The stunning scenery was a welcome distraction from the torture of trying to run. Flåm is surrounded by steep mountains with waterfalls that thunder down. This tiny village only has 350 inhabitants and here we were arriving on a cruise ship with about 5,000 people. I felt a little guilty! However, I am told that the locals welcome tourists as they are an important source of income.
We spent the morning exploring Flåm. As it is so small it provided us with a nice contrast to the hustle and bustle of Bergen on the previous day. Despite its small size it still has an impressive array of shops. However, our eyes were firmly focussed on the scenery.
The children could not believe that they were looking at snowy capped mountains. This was particularly exciting for Youngest who had never seen snow before.
We admired the clear waters of the fjords .
We were lucky with the weather again. Yes, it wasn’t as warm as the previous day in Bergen but it still wasn’t cold. We were able to walk around Flåm just wearing our jumpers. No coats were required. Soon we decided to retreat to a local cafe where we enjoyed coffee and cake. Before our trip to Norway we had been warned about how expensive it is. In Flåm we were pleasantly surprised. The cost of a coffee was no more expensive than Jersey. It was while we were enjoying our coffees that my dad suddenly vanished. However, we were not too concerned due to the small size of the village. We knew he couldn’t be far away and that we would be able to find him. For years Oldest thought that my dad was like ‘Grandpa in my pocket’ because he likes to wear a flat cap and he has a habit of suddenly vanishing. Oldest would often mutter, “naughty pop-pop, he has put on his magic cap again”. In reality he had just escaped for a bit of peace and quiet 🙂 .
We had booked to go on the Flåm railway. We were particularly excited by this trip because the railway has been named the “world’s most incredible railway journey” by Lonely Planet. However, we arrived at the point where we were supposed to be meeting for the trip to find that one member of our party was still missing – my dad! Cue me panicking, offering to go back on board and ask them to put an announcement out on the tannoy. My brother offered to go running round the village to see if he could find him. My mum meanwhile rebuffed all offers and was surprisingly calm but then she is very used to dad’s disappearing acts. My mum told us “we are not missing this trip, if he misses it then tough cheddar for your dad. We can always show him our photos when we get back”. Ok then. She then added, “knowing your father he didn’t listen to the instructions and he is already waiting on the platform. Where was he waiting – yep on the platform. Cue much relief from us all and me shouting, “I don’t believe it. You scared us all” At which point my mum piped up, “you didn’t scare me I just said bloody typical!” Which caused my dad to laugh.
Panic over we all piled onto the train. The train takes you 20km up into the mountains. You find that you have your face pressed to the glass as you take in all the incredible views.
The views are almost dizzying at times as you crane your necks to peer down into deep valleys and ravines. You pass tremendous waterfalls that crash down and all the time the train is taking you higher up the mountains. As we climbed to the top the sky became heavier until we started to see snow on the ground. Now I am not talking about a light sprinkling, I am talking about a heavy blanket of snow.
The snow seemed to envelope us all in the train carriages and all conversations became stilled as everyone gaped in awe at the views.
We finally arrived at the top of the mountain and the train came to a stop at the platform. I used this opportunity to hop off the train and stretch my legs whilst enjoying the incredible view. The air seemed muffled and everything felt strangely still.
However, the stillness didn’t last for long as I realised that I had only 5 minutes to find a toilet and get back on the train. I made a mad dash to the toilet, running full belt down the platform. Less Brief Encounter dashing for a train and more mad woman thinking that she was going to wet herself. I managed to get back on the train just in time. We then made the slow descent back down the mountain. This time our guide regaled us with tales of the area and local traditions. She had also told us to swap sides on the train which meant that we had a different view going back.
We had a wonderful day in Flåm and felt very lucky to have seen such wonderful sights. I would highly recommend the train trip.
I hope that you have had some wonderful adventures this week.