Monday, August 25, 2008


This past August Marina, myself and some friends of ours took the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour. It is basically a package tour that encompasses a journey from Bergen to Oslo via Flam on the Bergen railway, Flam Railway and a Fjord cruise.

Marina and I flew into Bergen a day early so we could do a bit of exploring. It is a very picturesque harbor town. We enjoyed wandering around the old wood frame buildings and shopping at the fish market. I had been to Norway before, but I forgot how expensive it is; I was reminded very quickly when I ordered a pint of beer and it cost $18 USD! That is by far the most I have ever paid for a beer!

Bergen has a funicular that takes you up the hill behind the town. We decided a trip to the top would be fun! There are hiking trails all over the hill so we wandered down after we tired of taking in the views of Bergen.

The next morning our friends Eric and Alexis arrived and we all headed out for the fjord cruise. The cruise took us through the Aurlandsfjord and Naeroyfjord (a UNESCO world heritage site) to Flam. The fjords were amazing. I think the pictures speak for themselves...

We arrived at Flam early in the afternoon and checked into our hotel. This is a view from our window.

After we settled in a bit we decided to take a couple of little hikes in the surrounding villages. We hiked to a small village that had a really old wooden church. The "hike" was a bit of a let down because it was all on paved roads, which the brochure failed to mention! Nonetheless, the church was very pretty.

Here I am standing on a fishing bridge along our "hike".

On the way back to Flam we were so disappointed with our paved road "hike" that we took a detour and hiked up to some falls outside of town. We were pretty sure it wouldn't be paved!

When we got back we did a little shopping in town... Eric found himself a new hat!

The next morning we boarded the Flamsbana. The journey on the Flåm Railway is regarded as one of the highlights of the Norway in a nutshell tour. The 20-km-long train journey from the mountain station of Flam up to Myrdal takes around 55 minutes. On the journey, you have views of some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in Norway with an ever-changing panorama of tall mountains and cascading waterfalls. The train moves slowly or stops at the best views.

Once we got to the top we changed trains to the Bergen railway - Northern Europe's highest-altitude railway - to make our way to Oslo. The views out of the train were amazing, but didn't make for very good pictures.

We arrived a Oslo late that evening checking into our hotel and grabbing a quick bite to eat. The next morning we toured Oslo before our flight back to London that evening.
Here is a picture of Alexis and Marina in front of the Palace in Oslo.

We wandered through Vigeland Sculpture Park, then took a bus out to the Norsk Folkemuseum (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History), after which we walked to the Viking Ship Museum.

Here is one of the three wooden 9th century Viking ships in the museum.

All in all, I have to say this was one of the best trips I have taken while I have been living in Europe (and it was very nearly one of the most expensive!).