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Oslo to Bergen "Norway in a Nutshell"

A planned highlight of the trip turns into a day of tempest

storm 10 °C
View Scandinavia 2014 on FrancisRTW's travel map.

Going to Norway, I also wanted to see the fjords and doing my research before the trip I soon stumbled on the 12 hour "Norway in a Nutshell" train-tourist railway-ferry-bus-train trip between Oslo and Bergen billed as one of the best ways to take in Norway's scenery with the Flam Railway section billed as one of the top five railway journeys in the world. The day before in Oslo had been lovely and sunny but the weather then changed and mid afternoon I got an email saying "Due to the flood in Flam the Flam railway has been partly damaged and cannot operate from October 31st until further notice." It was not going to be the trip I'd hoped:-(
Fields near Nesbyen

Fields near Nesbyen


Countryside near Nesbyen

Countryside near Nesbyen


Hallingdalselve River widening out near Nesbyen

Hallingdalselve River widening out near Nesbyen


Disused Bridge near Nesbyen

Disused Bridge near Nesbyen


The 3 hour train journey north west from Oslo was fine even if the sky was a bit grey but by the time we reached Al to get on the bus organised in place of the bus to take us to Flam the weather was closing in and it was trying to snow.
Transferring from the train to the coach at Al

Transferring from the train to the coach at Al


The weather closing in as we leave Al

The weather closing in as we leave Al


Rapids above Al

Rapids above Al


Definitely beginning to look like winter

Definitely beginning to look like winter


The end of Strandavatnet Lake

The end of Strandavatnet Lake


As we travelled further up into the mountains above Strandavatnet Lake it was evident that it was getting bleaker and bleaker outside and we could sense the scenery must be stunning, if only the rain and mist would lift long enough to allow us to see it!
Water rushing down the river beside our coach

Water rushing down the river beside our coach


The bleak landscape from Highway 50 above Aurland

The bleak landscape from Highway 50 above Aurland


Frozen Lake above Aurland

Frozen Lake above Aurland


Mountain Huts above Aurland

Mountain Huts above Aurland


Crags above us on the road above Aurland

Crags above us on the road above Aurland


The coach stopped for photographs when the road emerged from the mountains above Aurslandfjord. Even with the weather being awful this was still a spectacular view. The road then twisted its way down to the fjord side through endless tunnels.
This first view of Aurslandfjord is normally spectacular

This first view of Aurslandfjord is normally spectacular


There were LOTS of tunnels on the road down to Aurland

There were LOTS of tunnels on the road down to Aurland


You can see the rain on the coach windscreen as we emerge from a tunnel

You can see the rain on the coach windscreen as we emerge from a tunnel


Drive alongside Aurlandfjord to Flam

Drive alongside Aurlandfjord to Flam


We then arrived a Flam, the normally picturesque small ferry port and tourist train terminus at the southern end of Aurslandfjord. We could see the locomotive of the famous Flambana Railway we'd originally booked to arrive on sitting idle in its sidings.
The Flam Ferry Port at the bottom of Aurlandsfjord

The Flam Ferry Port at the bottom of Aurlandsfjord


The Flam Railway Locomotive stands idle in the sidings

The Flam Railway Locomotive stands idle in the sidings


The Flam Railway Locomotive

The Flam Railway Locomotive


Despite the Flambana Railway not running the place was a hive of activity with suction trucks and hoses cleaning up the silt the covered everywhere. I got talking to one of the locals and it was evident the flood down the Flam valley had been one of the largest for decades and not only the Flambana Railway but the also the Oslo to Bergen Mainline had been cut and could be out for weeks if not months. Many homes had also been washed away further up the valley although thankfully nobody had lost their lives or been hurt.
Clean up underway in Flam sucking up all the silt

Clean up underway in Flam sucking up all the silt


Hosing down the silt outside the ticket office

Hosing down the silt outside the ticket office


Our ferry arrives to take us to Gudvangen

Our ferry arrives to take us to Gudvangen


After lunch at he ferry port the ferry arrived and we climbed on-board. Aurlandsfjord is a branch of Sognesfjorden, the longest fjord in Norway stretching 128 miles inland. Despite its length the fjord is deep and ocean going cruise liners do call at Flam.
View from the back of the ferry as we set off down Aurlandsfjord

View from the back of the ferry as we set off down Aurlandsfjord


Aurlandsfjord

Aurlandsfjord


Our first port of call was Aurslandvangen itself. Having watched foot passengers get on and off the ferry we passed lots of debris floating in the fjord being fished out by a boat, a reminder of the damage wrecked by the flood down the Flam Valley the previous day.
Approaching Aurland

Approaching Aurland


Fishing debris from the previous days flood out of the fjord

Fishing debris from the previous days flood out of the fjord


View out the back of the ferry

View out the back of the ferry


Waterfall near Undredal falling into the fjord

Waterfall near Undredal falling into the fjord


About an hour and half into our trip we arrived at the picturesque fjord side port of Undredal and watched passengers climb off the ferry up into the town with its white Stave Church visible on the hillside, the smallest stave church in Norway.
The Stave Church at Undredal, the smallest in Norway

The Stave Church at Undredal, the smallest in Norway


Passengers leave the ferry at Undredal

Passengers leave the ferry at Undredal


Me at Undredal - looking very cold and wet!

Me at Undredal - looking very cold and wet!


Last view of Undredal

Last view of Undredal


We then turned into Naeroyfjord, one of the narrowest fjords in Norway famous for its dramatic landscape and inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Apparently there are 25 waterfalls cascading into the fjord and we did get close to a couple of them but unfortunately the appalling weather meant we did not see them at their best.
Norwegian Coastguard

Norwegian Coastguard


Aurlandsfjord

Aurlandsfjord


Turning into Naeroyfjord

Turning into Naeroyfjord


A large waterfall cascading into Naeroyfjord

A large waterfall cascading into Naeroyfjord


It was gradually getting darker, wetter and colder as we approached Gudvangen and even the toughest of the ferry's passengers hardly ventured out of the cabin to take photographs.
Rain on the window of the Ferry

Rain on the window of the Ferry


It was getting dark towards the end of our ferry trip

It was getting dark towards the end of our ferry trip


Arriving at Gudvangen - the end of our ferry trip

Arriving at Gudvangen - the end of our ferry trip


Leaving the ferry at Gudvangen to board another coach

Leaving the ferry at Gudvangen to board another coach


At Gudvangen we climbed aboard the awaiting coach in the dark. The driver reminded us how great the scenery was outside, if only we could see it in the dark and through the weather! About an hour later we arrived at Voss where I took a photographs of its Stave Church before mounting the mainline train for the final leg of our trip to Bergen. When we eventually arrived in Bergen I was relieved the trip was over; I had hoped "Norway in a Nutshell" was going to be a highlight but in the end with the poor weather and darkness it was just a tease and it is a trip I feel I'll have to do again.
The Stave Church at Voss

The Stave Church at Voss


Bergen Railway Station

Bergen Railway Station


Velkommen til Bergen! Our journey end

Velkommen til Bergen! Our journey end

Posted by FrancisRTW 07:24 Archived in Norway

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