Flåm, Norway

August 19, 2001

Call me a train spotter, but the train ride continues to be a highlight! The single track (trains can only pass at stations) has now climbed to tundra outfitted with glaciers! The cracks in the ice are aqua-blue! The old railroad construction road is an excellent cycling or hiking path. Glad I'm not camping here - artic level gear required.

We switched trains to the Flåmsborg line (really touristy). The train makes a stop for picture taking at a waterfall, but the only way to get close to some of the isolated places out here. There's some great places to camp too setting Scandinavia as the one part of Europe that does camping as a leisure activity in the wilderness (as in America!), not just as a cheap sleep.

One climb is so steep that the train does a corkscrew INSIDE a mountain tunnel, though not like the Magic Mountain ride we expected - it's barely noticeable.

We actually didn't stay long in Flåm. It's mostly a restaurant where people eat before taking the train back, or the better option of taking a cruise down the Sognefjord.

This was the moment I've been waiting for... when I was 15 my mother hung a poster of a Norwegian fjord on her office wall. It appeared so fantasy like that I had to ask her if it was real.

The cruise through the fjord was great, but didn't live up to my poster memory. Holding on to an ideal image is bound to change over 15 years.

But then, some the most amazing thing happened... some fish, and mighty big ones, were playing in the water. They jumped out of the water in perfect semicircles. Dolphins?!?! Most of the boat didn't seem to notice. I though this was fresh water. What is this? Where are we? What are we doing? OK, I'm reoriented now, back on the boat down the fjord, pretending I didn't see anything exciting like the rest of the passengers.

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