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Up on the Flam Railway, Norway

Hi all! I missed writing about Norway, still so much to tell you all! With all the rain coming to Portugal these days, it’s super appropriate to write you about a rainy morning in August, spent in the Flam Railway train, the Flamsbana. The ride takes one hour up from Flam, at the sea level, to Myrdal, at 867 m above the sea level. Let’s find out more?

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A very close and super warm train indeed

In the day before the ride, which you can check out here, we visited the Flamsbana Museum for free to know more about the history behind this impressive engineering effort. Before the railway opened in 1940, a very steep road, with several hairpin turns, was used to connect Flam to Myrdal so that the village of Flam would be somehow connected to the Bergen-Oslo line. The road was so narrow and dangerous that only horse carriages could go up, no cars could do it. I can’t imagine how many poor horses died in this road. You can still see the road from the railway and it can be used for hiking and biking. In order to open the tunnels, massive amounts of dynamite were used (and you can see how “rough” the tunnels are) and the workers were super underpaid, doing this very dangerous work for only 45 NOK per meter of tunnel opened.

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That road is scary as hell!

The ride is very pleasant. Whenever you pass through an important point, some informations are displayed in Norwegian, English and German. I didn’t take notice of most of them though, just wanted to see the nature. One thing I noticed though is that, in its steepest point, the inclination reaches 55% (!). I thought it would look like a very steep funicular ride, but it is so smooth you don’t notice how the altitude changes. But my main goal was not listening, was watching and gasping at every waterfall I could find.

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The best is yet to come. The train stops for 5 minutes at Kjosfossen. This is so huge and powerful. Even though it still wasn’t raining at the time (it started raining the minute we got on the train again), the massive power of the water falling looked like it. The total height of the waterfall is 225 m! When we were there, we saw a woman dancing near an abandoned house with some mystical music. Turns out the dancers are from the Norwegian Ballet School and they are dressed as an Hundra, a legendary seductive creature of Scandinavian mythology. Think nymphs and sirens. Taking a good picture was quite a challenge with so many people.

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Can you spot her?

Now we are not that far from finishing and this upper part is harder to take picture to, since most of it consists of tunnels or passages with wooden barriers. But well, I tried. Let’s see what I can show you!

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I couldn’t take proper pictures in Myrdal since it was pouring rain. Rain in weather has multiple personality disorder and, in one hour, on the way to Voss, it was so sunny! Photos to come in the next post, about the hiking trails in Ovre Eidfjord and Eidfjord.

A one-way ride in the Flam Railway is 340 NOK and there is no student discount. You can purchase the tickets beforehand here. It is expensive, of course, since this is a private railway line. Is it worth the price? I think so, even though for me it’s not the most unmissable thing I did. I am going to be true, since I read somewhere this should be the most beautiful train ride in the world, I was expecting a bit more variety in the landscapes, which I found in the Bergen-Oslo railway, but this engineering feat is massive and with all the waterfalls it looks random to see any other beautiful point, it becomes the norm. Everything is so beautiful in Norway, there’s not how you can choose!

Have you taken the Flam Railway already? Share your experience! If not, what is your favorite railway in the world?

Cátia

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