This is the 2nd part of a trip report. First part can be found here.
I left the last part off at walking through Oslo with Sverre after the Color Fantasy cruise, having no clue where he was taking me. All sorts of scenarios were going through my head and I had settled on the guess that we were going to a hotel, though we could've just as well be simply taking a train back to Fredrikstad, or onward to somewhere else. For entertainment, I shared my wildest thought of "We could also be heading to the airport to fly somewhere?" with Sverre, who remained quiet...
...and took me to the airport express ticket vending machine. My suspense slowly gave way to "SERIOUSLY?!" as we got on the train that took us to the airport. Yet, he still remained quiet about the destination as we went through security and I, being unprepared for a flight, had a bottle of deodorant confiscated. While I was throwing a minor hissy fit over that (as it was a brand new bottle of admittedly cheap and common, but nonetheless really nice smelling deodorant! How dare he take me on a surprise flight!!!), we moved to a gate that showed a SAS flight to Bergen. I was in for some really beautiful sights, hence the title of the post.
First of all, we took the funicular Fløibanen up to the viewpoint on Fløyen, where we spent a while taking pictures and admiring the breathtaking view. It was also then that I noticed that Sverre's workplace at the time, Hurtigruten's M/S Trollfjord, was present.
|The red car arriving to the lowest station|
|On our way up|
|Mandatory tourist photo|
|View from near the top station|
|Another Bergen view|
|The blue car on its way down|
|Fløibanen railway and top station|
|Bergen is the home of many offshore ships, among others.|
|Trollfjord on the Trollfjord. And quite often this duo sails past and even inside the real Trollfjord.|
|Azimuth thruster controls, among many other buttons and controls.|
|Sometimes it's nice to sit on the bridge and pretend to be a big shot like Sverre.|
|Composed in December 2003 on board the Trollfjord|
|Fancy a dip?|
|Engine room aesthetics; auxiliary engine.|
|Engine room control panel|
After the visit to Trollfjord it was good time to get some rest at the hotel, because the following morning we had to get up at silly o'clock to catch the first train of our day, which took us to Myrdal, with a 20-minute stop in Voss on the way. Already then, despite being quite sleepy, I was mostly looking out because whenever we weren't in a tunnel, the view was quite something to see.
|Voss train station|
|Voss, 57 meters above sea level; 385,5 km from Oslo; 106,7 km from Bergen.|
|After the stop in Voss, we started ascending...|
|...and the views from the train window got snowier...|
|... and snowier...|
|... until we finally reached Myrdal, 867 meters above sea level.|
The railway from Myrdal to Flåm, having long ago ceased to serve any other purpose than tourism, is nowadays advertised as the world's most beautiful train journey. And I can tell you that it's not really too much of an exaggeration. Also, we were very fortunate to be there before the high season of herds of tourists and quite luxuriously had an entire carriage for ourselves, with the freedom to run from one side to the other depending on where the epic view was.
|The carriages, converted for the purpose, had quite a lovely interior.|
|I think this image does a much better job in making it all clear than any description that I might whip up myself.|
|At the very beginning, the views were quite similar.|
|Until we got to the valley. For quite understandable reasons, some of the beautiful views had to be observed through support beams.|
|Railways and roads|
|Kjosfossen waterfall, still frozen at that time. When not frozen, the highest freefall is 93 meters and the total fall around 225 meters.|
|Tourist selfie of the day|
|Meeting the other train at the passing lane|
|No mountain is beautiful enough to distract Sverre when he's busy being himself.|
|This proud shot of the Flåm village has been a worthy background image on my phone ever since.|
|Among many other buildings, the Flåm Church, built in 1670, should be quite easy to find.|
|Flåm station. A stone throw away from the station there is a museum dedicated to the Flåm railway.|
|Flåm is a village of around 400 people, but it receives more than a thousand times as many visitors every year, which explains the need for a hotel and a cruise terminal, and several souvenir stores.|
|And in one of those stores I found this beautiful granite spice grinder that was almost calling me by name until I gave in and bought it. And I'm so glad I did!|
|Flåm is located at the inner end of the Aurlandsfjord, which is a branch of the Sognefjord, the world's longest open and ice free fjord.|
|As we ascended, the layer of snow on the ground got thicker and thicker|
|Not too long afterwards, we reached Finse, the highest station on the Bergen line at 1222 meters above sea level. The highest point on the line, 1237 meters, is inside the Finse tunnel. Admittedly my ears got a bit blocked at that altitude.|
|Along the route we saw quite many skiers.|
Admittedly most of the pictures of that day were taken through a train window and thus lacked a bit in quality. But considering that, just imagine how indescribably amazing it was really being there. Well, I can tell you, you can't. You'd have to go there and see it. In fact, I've already sworn to repeat that journey some day, partially with the purpose of going to look for that jawbone I lost in Flåm.