Sunday, January 27, 2008

Flåm, Norway

It's hard to believe but Flåm, Norway was our last Norwegian Fjord port of our 12 Night British Isles / Norwegian Fjords cruise. We booked an organized RCCL tour, Overland to Voss, Tvinde & Stalheim. There were two offerings of that tour, one did the train first (as described in the tour description) and the other did the train in the afternoon following lunch. We opted for the latter.

Our day began with an early start by motor coach to the Stalheim Hotel. In order to get to the hotel, our motor coach had to navigate spectacular hairpin bends of Stalheimskleivane, the steepest road in Norway. Whenever we take a tour like this, I remind myself why I don't attempt to drive in foreign countries.

Our bus driver did a wonderful job getting us to our destination safely. Once there we entered the hotel for coffee, tea, and cakes. We had plenty of time to explore on our own, taking in the splendid views of the Naeroy Valley, the river that runs through it and the magnificent waterfalls that graced the mountain walls.

Words cannot describe the scene adequately, so take a look at our Stalheim photo album for some pictures we took.

Descending down the windy mountatin roads, our motor coach continued the tour to our next destination, Tvinde Waterfall.

As you can see from this picture, the waterfall cascades down the mountain side. There are rocks at the foot of the waterfall which make for great portrait shots with the waterfall in the background. As usual, I left the photography to my husband who really loves taking pictures on our cruises. Once again, I suggest that you view the rest of our pictures in the Tvinde photo album. We had time for a quick refreshment and then we reboarded the motor coach for our trip to Voss, where we would have a traditional Norwegian Lunch Buffet at the Fleischer's Hotel.

Following lunch we had time to explore the quaint town of Voss before heading to the train station for our trip back to Flåm.

In the center of town is Voss Church - Vangskyrkja which was built between 1271-77. It is still in use today. There is a small charge if you want to enter the church and take photos. My husband paid the fee and included in our Voss photo album, you'll find photos of the interior of the church.

Our all day tour continued via the Flam Railway from Voss to Myrdal Station. We changed trains in Myrdal. There was enough time between trains to explore the gift shop at the station and get some ice cream. Make sure you get some ice cream when you are in Norway - it was one of our favorite things to do.

The final highlight of the tour was the photo stop at Kjosfossen Waterfall . We were allowed to disembark the train to get close up pictures of the magnificent waterfall. I have to admit, this is the first time I've been on a train which stopped for photos. The waterfall powers the Flåm Railway. For more pictures of the train trip from Voss to Flåm see our photo album.

Our train pulled into the station at Flåm. As we disembarked the train, we could see the Jewel of the Seas docked just a short walk away. There was some time for shopping in the stores by the pier before boarding the ship for our final sail-away in Norway. We had a day at sea the following day, then on to our final port, Amsterdam, Netherlands before returning to Harwich, England.

I hope that you've enjoyed your trip to the Norwegian Fjords. It's not quite the same as being there in person I know, so I do hope you get there some day. Fear not, this past year, we had another cruise which included the Norwegian Fjords, so in future articles, I'll tell you about that trip.

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