A “little place with steep mountains” – Flåm, Norway
Flåm’s name literally translates into “little place with steep mountains” and it is a fitting description. It’s on Aurlandsfjord, the innermost arm of Songefjord, Norway’s biggest and deepest fjord. The area is still reeling from massive flooding last year that destroyed homes and caused major damage to buildings, bridges, road and the railway. Their latest misfortune was a fire in the tunnel on their main road last week, closing the road to traffic for the immediate future. In spite of the flooding and the chilly, wet weather, Flåm proved a delightful place to visit.
Flåm has a famous train, the Flåmsbana, whose slogan is “one of the world’s most beautiful train rides”, and I chose this cruise itinerary because Flåm was included. So once again we found ourselves back on a train ride – albeit a short ride this time. About 45 minutes up to Vatnahalsen (just under 2,500’), where we stopped for a break and a snack of homemade waffles, sour cream and jam (small, thin waffles and the taste reminded me of a blintz). Then back down the same route.
More significantly, was our stop at the thundering Kjosfossen Falls, with a free fall of 305 feet. While off the train, some eerily haunting music seemed to come from the mountains around the falls and a “water spirit” appeared and begin to dance and leap. Odd as it sounds, with the light rain and mist from the falls, it was really a nice effect.
There were many other impressive falls along the way, as well as beautiful mountains, tiny villages and snow-covered peaks all around. No one would’ve been surprised to see one of Norway’s famous trolls around the next bend.