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FLAM

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The astonishing village of Flam by the  Aurlandsfjord 

Set amidst a dramatic,  mountainous terrain, somewhere in the central part of  Southern Norway, is the scenic village of FLAM (pronounced as Flawwm).  It lies at a distance of 4-5 hours from Bergen city, deep below the snowy valley of Mrydal.  The surrounding high mountains, stupendous waterfalls, jaw dropping hillslopes, green meadows, serene farms are what makes this a widely visited place throughout the year. The village prides of untouched nature with a measly residential population recorded in just a few hundreds as against its annual visitors running to a few lakhs.  Most of these visitors land there via cruise ships.  The village evidently thrives on tourism.   The Aurslandfjord curves itself into the village.  This fjord is an extended arm of the world's deepest -" Sonjefjord".  Tourists are rewarded scenically all along the innumerable walking trails and bike trails that flank this area.

Day 16 Norway & Denmark Diary :  15th April 2019 :

The journey of six hours began with the NSB train to MRYDAL leaving at 12:57 pm sharp from Bergen Central station. The only problem was to find enough space to stack our luggage.  The process literally extracted half our energies (a common feature in most of our train journeys). We were finally able to occupy our seats in the rather empty train.  A new adventure began.

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Mrydal 

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An exciting element was the gradual change in scenery from the blue waters, brown-mountains, green valleys & meadows to stark white, snowy landscapes.  MRYDAL is at a higher altitude.  The valley views between Bergen and Mrydal were just as awe inspiring as any other scenery that we had experienced in snow until now.  We could spot roadways snaking upward and vanishing into wilderness.  The scene was like a painting of an artist who had just swished his paint brush holding white paint, from top to bottom making curves, against a brown backdrop.  We also spotted a vertical roadway above this curvy road, that cut across a mountain and was fenced with iron railings. These constructions are indeed technological wonders.  The train led us upward through winding tracks, rushed through a few tunnels sending a chill down our spines.  The inside of the train kept us warm.   It was also a treat to watch skiers settle down with their kits, while some others were already in action, swooping down slopes in the valley area. The route seemed to be flooded with ski resorts.  We watched in amazement as, apart from adults, loads of young colourfully dressed children got into the skiing act at a certain junction. It was highly inspiring. The entire leg of the journey was smooth.  We reached MYRDAL station in 4 hours time. The journey consisted of short stop here, where it was necessary to change trains.

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A delay in our next train provided an ideal break.  We walked up and down the railway platform enjoying the cold weather while sipping hot coffee. The famous FLAMSBANA train approached the station 40 minutes after schedule.   The train was fancy with bigger & wider wooden seats, slidable windows promising to offer stunning views.   It was relatively easier to load our luggage onto this train.

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An audio commentary commenced inside the FLAMSBANA, providing insights of the corresponding places it slowly passed by.  Passengers shunted from window to window, changing sides,  in hunt for precious views & pictures while listening keenly to the recorded narration.  The train soon screeched to a halt inside a tunnel, leading to the KJOSFOSSEN waterfall. 

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KJOSFOSSEN WATERFALLS

It was a sight to view a completely frozen waterfall,  so unique & pretty !  Its otherwise summer look, was left to the imagination of its onlookers, by which time the melting fjord waters would create a cascading splendour from a height of nearly 200 odd metres.  The famous tourist attraction here is the dance of  HULDRA (a legendary creature of the forest), wherein a lady dressed in red dances to a pre-recorded music,  down the slopes that embrace the waterfall.   Few of our group members were fortunate to witness the event, while the rest had no clue.  Passengers were left with just 3 minutes to climb in and out of train. Being  photograph enthusiasts, we didn’t spare the opportunity. The punctual guard blew his whistle, nudging passengers to get back to their seats in 3 minutes.  

The wonderful  journey continued and we reached FLAM by 5:30 pm.

FIRST VIEWS OF FLAM VALLEY

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As the train neared the Flam Station, it glided by the valley at a slightly higher altitude where we caught glimpses of the Flam church, a stream of freshly melted ice and pretty houses sitting tight in the lap of the valley.  The destination looked promising, far far away from everything , stationed in the middle of the mountains,  surrounded by peace and quiet.  It was a dream come true !

We reached FLAM station by 4:30 pm.  Alighting our train we found ourselves amidst the 'toy' like village, extracted right out of a movie land.  Flam is small and easily explorable by foot.  The FLAMSBANA train stood still after the one and half hour journey from MRYDAL, while we posed against it making a fresh chapter in our memories. 

POSING AGAINST THE FLAMSBANA

Apart from the visitors who landed up there with us in the same train, the village looked serene and deserted.  Wow ! There was ample space run around and play.  After a few pictures in front of the FLAMSBANA, we tugged our luggage slowly towards our accommodation that was booked in advance.  At the foot of the hillock, along side the fjord was a pathway at ground level as well as another one slanting upward.  As we were unsure of the lower path, we took the other one and unfortunately  found ourselves dragging our luggage uphill. However, we managed it quite well, a 5-6 min walk on this path that rubbed against the sides of a hillock & curved its way upward, but bang on ! we found our abode- the exotic FLAM MARINA AND APARTMENTS. 

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FLAM MARINA APTS.

Trust me, the views were to die for.  The white little building installed at the mouth of the fjord, housed a dozen individual apartments, each having its own kitchen and huge balcony. We were alloted 2 two-bedroom apartments and a single double room for the 10 of us.  Each of our balconies was blessed with unmatchable fjord & mountain views.  We were dumbfounded at the sight.  The rooms were clean but small.  It was more than sufficient for a 2 day stay.  The view just wiped out any shortcomings.  Red, imaginary hearts and flowers spurted from my eyes at the sight of the harmonious blend of the surrounding hills with bluish-green fjord waters, all standing still like a picture  postcard.   It was love at first sight !

The rest of the evening was well spent. We walked around the village trying to get an idea of what little was there.  Life is bliss here.  Fjord waters, pure air, abundant vegetation, beautiful small wooden houses, mildly trickling waterfalls falls from the sturdy mountains,  the residents are surely lucky. With just two evenings in the village, we wanted to leave no stone unturned.   We tried our hand at the French fries in the restaurant attached our accommodation.  Spending time by the fjord side and shopping in a local supermarket was the schedule.  

We made sumptuous dinner in our little apartments while gazing at the scene outside our balcony.  The evening views were to die for.  We couldn't stop talking of what a wise choice this place was.   After dinner, we called it a day.

Day 17 Norway & Denmark Diary :  16th April 2019 :

The Twizzy Mania with E-MOBILITY

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The day began at a leisurely pace with a lazy breakfast by the fjord side.  The only planned itinerary for the day was  exploring the STEGASTEIN view point with self-driven TWIZZY cars, to be  hired from E-MOBILITY. 

 

A short walk from the FLAM MARINA APARTMENTS brought us to the TWIZZY CAR HIRE station.   It was nothing but a small shed like office, outside which  rows of  eco-friendly, electric, TWIZZY cars were stationed. The tickets were booked in advance on their website.   All we had to do was provide our booking confirmation and pick up cars of our choice. Ours  was a  two hour slot - 11 am to 1 pm. The instructor directed us on its usage & do’s & dont’s.  The cars were smaller than the Indian REVA and seated just two people, one driver and one on the rear seat. The space was enough just to fit two bodies comfortably inside.  The doors opened up like butterfly wings and the steering was placed in the center. The GPS lady, who played our guide, directed us to our destination.  We hired two such cars fitting 4 people. For the other 4 members we hired a Volkswagen Golf.  This was done for the simple reason there were only 3 drivers amongst us.

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While 8 of us were busy with the Twizzy, two others were happy to explore another track using the RED tourist road train.  Their route was completely different from ours and the ride, they said, lasted for an hour, crossing the highs and lows of FLAM village alone.

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The "drivers" in our group felt unsettled till they got a hang of the little car.  Before long, the group zoomed away enjoying the surroundings thoroughly.  Wind blew on our faces through the windows. The pathway meandered upward along side the fjords.  Bollywood songs on our mobile enhanced the experience.  The eco-friendly, green electric car is a simple & easy drive once you learn the tactics.  In about 15 minutes time we raced through a tunnel and reached the village of AURLAND.

AURLAND VILLAGE

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GLIDING THROUGH AURLAND

Basking lazily over the bluish fjord waters, carpeting the piedmont, lies the village of AURLAND.  It is an absolute paradise to ride through this village. A sparsely inhabited village, no different from the regular feature of NORWAY, we observed.  The e-mobility car played a perfect match to its narrow roads. The nature around was definitely distracting, but we rode comfortably & safely.  Mountains that ran infinitely alongside seemed to come alive.  It reminded me of a song from an old English Classic movie- " THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC". We envied the residents who were blessed with luxurious nature. 

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We drove upward swerving through hair pin bends .  At one such turning, we stopped to catch the perfect, aerial glimpse of the Fjord & the AURLAND village.  A beautiful Spanish couple offered to click our pictures there.