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Published: September 20th 2016
Welcome to our occasional blog about our wonderful trip to the Norwegian fjords, Swiss Alps, Lake Maggiore, and Sorrento, Italy. Today we fulfilled a lifetime dream of seeing the magnificent fjords of Norway - well some of them. We departed Flåm at 9am on the small ferry that serves a few villages in the area, ending in Gudvangen. The ferry could take automobiles, but it didn't look used for that very often. Most villages have good roads going to them now. It is off-season so there was lots of room to move around the shp and catch the scenery from different locations. The fjords really were spectacular, with special emphasis on the waterfalls and reflections in the calm water. The mountains were only 3-4000 feet high at most, and most with sloping sides into the water.We saw a few snow patches, and Gary took way too many pictures of waterfalls. He claims that he just hopes a few of them are ultimately worth sharing. We're eager to see how the pictures came out. (Sorry that we don't have facility yet for transferring pictures from the SLR camera to the tablet so we could share with you. Hopefully later.) The weather was
beautiful, especially when we were in the sun and it was warm. In the shade of the mountains it was quite chilly, especially with the breeze from the ship's movement.
In addition to the boat ride on the fjords, we had some pretty amazing trips to and from. The Flåm railroad is a private railroad connecting Flåm to the main Oslo--Bergen line. It descends very steeply for a train on regular wheels, passing numerous waterfalls and overlooking a beautiful valley. The third picture is of us at a stop part way down where we could get off at a platform to see the waterfall. The Flåm railroad was the highlight of yesterday's trip from Oslo. After we left the fjord ferry we took a bus back to the main rail line again to continue to Bergen. Along the way the bus takes the old "highway" to get passengers from a hotel up the side of the canyon. The way down was multiple (21?) switchbacks on a one lane road with a 40-passenger bus, descending at up to 18% grade, the steepest road in Norway. The old road was replaced in 1980 when they built a tunnel through the mountain
side. Again, more spectacular views of valleys and waterfalls. (We ended up taking another bus into Bergen because the railroad was damaged by landslides from a tremendous rain storm a week ago.)
We have really been blessed with amazingly excellent weather so far. No rain, mostly sunny, temperatures in the 60s F. When we arrived in Oslo Sunday we went for an evening walk to look for dinner and stretch our legs after the 10 hour flght from Oakland. It was very comfortable without a sweater, especially sitting under a heater for al fresco dining near our hotel. Yesterday on the train from Oslo to Flåm it reached the upper 70s. It was chilly when we got above tree line, but pleasant again down at sea level. All of our connections have gone very smoothly, everyone speaks English and seems delighted to be helpful. Our hotels have all been good, and we are looking forward to a few days in one hotel in the Swiss Alps without moving daily. The weather there is expected to be good, too. We willl spend tomorrow, Wednesday, sightseeing in Bergen, fly back to Oslo on Thursday for a day, then on to Switzerland. Much of the scenery we have seen here is similar to what we thought Switzerland looked like - mountains, deep valleys, lakes, small dairy farms. We'll see how it actually compares.
More later, we hope. Feel free to tell friends about this blog if they are interested in reading it.
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