(THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - This was a self-guided tour to see the Norwegian fjords, mountains, waterfalls and to experience the world’s best train journey (cited by Lonely Planet in 2014 for the Flam to Myrdal stretch) in a very short period of time. The tour, which goes in a circuit, can be done as a day trip or over several days with overnight stays en route. Travellers who use Bergen as a base, have a choice of starting the tour from Voss or Myrdal.
After alighting from the airport bus at Torget (Market Square) in Bergen, we walked to the nearby Tourist Information Centre located above the Fish Market. We checked the weather forecast for the next two days and then proceeded to buy our tickets at the counter. Buying the tickets online (in advance) is slightly cheaper, but taking the tour on a rainy day is not our idea of a holiday (Bergen has more than 200 rainy days in a year), but once the tickets have been issued, no changes can be made.
We bought the Norway In A Nutshell tour for NOK 1,145 (S$190) and opted to start from Voss, because we preferred to be on the ferry to Flam in the morning when the sun was not so intense. What we paid for was a set of tickets (free seating) for the Bergen Line and Flam Line trains, the bus and the ferry and a booklet with information on the places along the route.
The ferry cruise was the highlight of the tour. The air was crisp and the weather was perfect.
Throughout the two-hour leisurely cruise, we stayed on the open deck, to enjoy the views of the fjords of Naeroyfjord, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and Aurlandsfjord, with steep mountainsides, hanging valleys, snow-capped mountains, farms and hamlets. The Naeroyfjord is a branch of the 204km long Sognefjord. At the narrowest part, the fjord is only 500m wide. Before we knew it, the ferry had pulled up at Flam.
The Flam Railway station is just a few steps to the ferry pier and has toilet facilities. There is also a Flam Railway Museum where entrance is free. When the Flamsbana train rolled into the station, we quickly boarded the train to book our preferred seats – window seats with windows that could be rolled down (only the first and last rows). There were not many passengers as April is low tourist season for this tour.
As the train neared Myrdal, 86m above sea-level, the ground became covered in thick snow. Myrdal station is a small mountain station with no toilet facilities, just a platform. At Myrdal, we hopped onto the waiting Bergen train, for a two-hour ride to Bergen, arriving at 6pm. There was nothing much to see during the journey. Time to take a nap after a long day and dream of all the great moments earlier.