Polar Bear Hunt 2015 - Day 17

Oslo to Myrdal then the Flåmbana Railway down the hill to Flåm

We woke up this morning in Oslo, back in the same hotel as our stay 10 days ago. This was an early start to walk across the road to the railway station and find the 8.25am train to Bergen. We had breakfast of coffee and pastries at the station and then waited for the train to arrive. Soon we were off through the Norwegian countryside, climbing steadily to the maximum height of 1222 metres. Not exactly alpine territory, but the spring thaw had only just started and it was now a week past Midsummer's Day! At Myrdal we alighted and waited for the scenic Flåmbana Railway train to arrive. To our surprise the platform was crowded and not all these people had come off our train. Soon we were on board and heading down the steep inclin to Flåm, passing many waterfalls on the way. Once back to sea level at Flåm we found out where all these people had come from..

Oslo to Myrdal

The train meanders through the outskirts of Oslo before starting to climb through farmland and mountain scenery. At Finse we reached the highest point at 1222 metres. This was also the end of the road and the beginning of the Outback where the Norwegians get away from it all in the snow and ice.

After escaping Oslo we travelled through good farming country.
Another town.
Then a glimpse of rural roads.
And now some lakes.
Now we were approaching the snow and ice.
The train line curving away ahead of us.
The first of several tunnels.
The meltwater was turning into a flood.
But there was plenty still to melt.
And they didn't even have snow tyres on them...
Finse - the highest point at 1222 metres.


Right on time we arrived at Myrdal, lifted our luggage off and wandered back along the platform. To our surprise it was crowded. But soon the train for Flåm arrived and we all crowded on. The carriages were of an old style with wooden bench seats but they had been renovated recently and were very comfortable. The windows were not of anti-glare glass so it was difficult to take photos, but you could go to the end of the carriage where the doors had drop-down windows. Inside, there was a commentary and a moving display of the train's progress. The journey downhill to Flåm took one hour. It is spectacular with rugged mountains and plenty of waterfalls.

The train line to Flåm curving away in the distance.
We climbed off the train at Myrdal and thought we might have a quiet journey to Flåm.
Only a few fellow travellers....
Until we turned around to look at the main platform...
Signs aplenty.
Our train - the Flåmbana Railway.
Myrdal was now almost deserted..
Inside the carriage...
Most people watched the moving picture ...
- on the screen not outside the window
Plenty of water.
We stopped at this waterfall
so everybody could get wet...
and check on their iPads.
Then we were back onboard.
A solitary figure braving the blast from the waterfall.
Then he was gone.
More water.
The train running ahead.
Cyclists taking the easy way down - but you get the train back up!
Nearly at Flåm.
We arrived at Flåm.
Then we walked to the end of the platform and found out where all these people came from.
Myrdal is back up there somewhere.


On arrival in Flåm we headed for the hotel to check in so that we could drop our bags and walk back to the visitor centre. We had planned to take the small tour bus from Flam to the lookout at Stegastein. Unfortunately, everybody else who was staying at the hotel had arrived on the same train, so there was a large group at the hotel reception. It took a long time to get to our room, and then we had to stand behind the same family group at the ticket office while they, once again, asked many stupid questions and debated what they would do. I knew exactly what I wanted - a bus ticket!

The old engine shed at Flåm
The town of Flåm from the end of the wharf.
The Fretheim Hotel on the edge of the fjord.
More views of the Fretheim Hotel where we stayed the night.
Having finally bought our bus ticket, this is the mini-bus that took us to the Stegastein Lookout.
The lookout is a massive structure.
It looks more like a ski jump built high above the fjord.
You walk out to the end,
and look straight down into the fjord.
The road back down is steep adn winding, and difficult to photograph.
Back at Flåm we looked through the souvenir shops. They were full of Vikings and trolls.
And nearby a small train.
This one was a genuine Chu-Chu!.
Designed to be taken on the train up to Myrdal and then ridden back down the steep road.

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Last updated: 9/12/2015