16.07.2011 - 16.07.2011 20 °C
Relaxing start as we were heading out on the 11.40 train to Oslo.. Or so I thought.. For some reason I had checked the train tickets the night before and was certain we were leaving at 11.40. So we headed down to the train station about 10.30 with a plan to look through the museum and then board the train bound for Oslo.
Well the 11am train arrived and Bookie and I were having a great old chuckle over the amount of people running to catch the train as it had been sitting at the station for 30min and of course everyone decided to jump on board… Anyway the 11am train pulled away and 10min later I decided to pull out the tickets to check our seat numbers from Merdyl to Oslo to discover that our tickets were for the 11am not 11.40 as I was so certain we needed!
An hour later and 300 dollars we had changed our trip to 4.05pm and now had a whole day to kill in Flam (which considering we had done a lot of walking the day before was going to be difficult). Bookie sat down and did what she does well whilst Conductor and I decided to walk alongside the bank on the other side of the fjord. The walk took us passed the town and out towards the sea. Part of the route was some rocks designated as rock paintings from the iron age period. Both conductor and I tried very hard to see these rock pictures to no avail (to the point where we were joking that the archeologists had gotten a lot of kudos for nothing!) A good 15min later and at least 6 rocks later we are still walking along this route to finally discover that there weren’t any rock paintings on the rocks at all but that the council had done a tribute to the petroglyphs by making the pictures by using shrubs planted together (into a sort of shaped hedge) on the side of the fjord! It was pretty amusing, here are the two of us peering at these rocks trying to make out pictures and trying to convince each other that a couple of dots represented this or that picture when we finally discovered what the route and the rocks were all about!
4pm finally rolled around and we took off on the Flam railway. Again the journey out of the valley was just amazing.. I think I got better pictures this time around because the sun was shining brighter and was coming from a better angle to photograph the valley so I was a pretty happy camper! We had to wait almost an hour in Merdyl for our train back to Oslo and when it showed up we were pleasantly surprised to see how beautiful and comfortable the train was! We were sitting in first class (as there wasn’t any second class seats left) and it was quiet (not even a third of the seats were filled) and we got free coffee and tea!
The train trip from Merdyl to Honefoss must be one of the most scenic in the world. Just beautiful. Apparently it is the highest train journey in Europe and it wasn’t therefore surprising for us to find quite a bit of snow still up in the higher parts. As we climbed through the mountains the scenery reminded me greatly of Spitsbergen (minus the enormous glaciers and ice bergs!)- lots of lakes, running streams, rocky hills capped in snow and the occasional cottage. Very few trees at that altitude just a lot of shrubby things. Really spectacular… (For those reading, if you want to see the scenery of Spitsbergen, minus the animals and ice and for a lot cheaper price, take my advice and ride the Bergen to Oslo train!)
It was a real shame for us to have to hop off the train at Honefoss and board a bus for the final leg of our journey to Oslo (they are doing track work in Oslo so the train station is closed) as the train had been luxuriously pleasurable! Arrived into Oslo on time at 10.30 and hit the sack for a well-deserved sleep.. A big mistake ended up working out ok!