My writing includes my personal travel experiences, destination, history, and cultural information.
The Village of Flåm
Flåm, Norway, was a port of call for our cruise that started from Denmark and went through the United Kingdom. It's a small village of just over 500 residents located on Sognefjorden, the largest fjord in Norway. Actually, the village sits between two fjords and the name is derived from the word "fla." It's a Norse word that translates to "flat piece of land."
Honestly, that was my question as well—that is before visiting! Pre-trip research began to give me an answer to this question. The Flåm Railway (or Flåmsbana in Norwegian), one of the oldest and steepest railways in the world, is located there.
Waking Up in Flåm
I had seen pictures of the Fjords but didn't really know what to expect. Waking up and standing on the veranda of our suite and looking around was a truly unforgettable experience! It was gorgeous, serene, and breathtaking!
The Flåm Railway
Originally, the Bergen line was built to connect Oslo and Bergen, the two largest cities in Norway. Construction began in the late 1800s. The Flåm railway is part of this route and connects Sognefjorden to mainland Norway. Today, this section of the line is a tourist-only adventure.
Adventure? The Flåm Railway is only about 12.5 miles and runs to about 2833 feet above sea level! In my book, that's quite the adventure! Surprisingly, the ride was not rickety. Not surprising was the beauty of the scenery!
My Flåm Adventure!
Having purchased our tickets in advance, I knew the railway would take us from Flåm to Myrdal and then back again. What I didn't anticipate were the events that would take place that day! The day turned out to be one of my most memorable travel days. Cozy up and read on!
We had met a woman on the cruise who was really quite something. Entertaining really doesn't come close to describing her personality! She and her husband happened to be on the same train. Apparently, she had quite the evening the night before and fell asleep with her head on the shoulder of another passenger, not her husband.
This was not just a short snooze; this was a full-blown sleep with loud snoring, drool, head-bobbing, and sleep talking! The look on this unknown passenger's face was priceless! Including her husband, we all got up and moved seats and just left her with her newfound friend. I'm not sure which was louder—her snoring or our uncontrollable laughter!
The First Stop
Having recovered from side cramps from the laughter, we got off the train on the fourth of ten stops. Before disembarking the train, we saw—in my opinion—some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world! The climate there is misty, and the lush greens of the valley were mesmerizing. Dotted with quaint homes and beautiful flowers, it felt like I was part of a moving postcard. No exaggeration!
Finding ourselves on the rail platform, we noticed a huge group of people congregated a short distance away. What were they looking at, and what was the noise we were hearing? Walking over to see what the hullabaloo was about, we saw an amazing waterfall. No, it wasn't as majestic as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, but it was beautiful and serene in its own right. And the mist hanging in the air that day gave it a personality of its own!
What a Surprise
But then...oh my gosh, what a treat! We heard a sound like an angel. A woman had stepped out from behind the waterfall onto a ledge and was singing. If you are familiar with Enya, this would be a more than reasonable comparison! Her voice was hypnotizing!
Adventure Didn't Stop There!
Several stops later, we were given the opportunity to disembark again. As part of our tour, we were hosted by a lovely family who offered tea/coffee, cookies, and great conversation. Their home in Myrdal was typical of Norway in construction, and they were more than anxious to share the details of daily life in this humble village. This was a really special treat—it's the type of activity I seek. I love learning about the people and places that I visit.
Back to the Ship
What a great day this had been. The train ride back to Flåm seemed too fast. I didn't want the day to end. I have had amazing travel adventures, but this day and experience were somehow very different. And different in a really fantastic way. It was unhurried and relaxing. I felt like I had a secret glimpse into a unique lifestyle. I sat quietly on the train soaking up the natural beauty of my surroundings with swelling contentment.
This trip was different from any other European adventure. No antiquities, no crowds, no fast pace. It was a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. Originally, when booking the trip, I was anxious to get to the U.K. The U.K. was to be the highlight, at least in my mind.
So far, we had been to Denmark and now Flåm, Norway. Yes, these are European destinations by geography, but the feel and lifestyle are diabolically opposite of, say, destinations like Rome, Athens, or Barcelona. I was excited about the next port of Bergen, Norway, and went to sleep that night with a big smile!
Have you been to Norway or Denmark? Dream of going? I invite you to leave your comments in the section provided in this article. Share your experiences or dreams!
Until next time friends, remember "To Travel is to Live!"
© 2022 Dee Nicolou Serkin