This will be the end of my tale! And, as I just collected 40 literature reviews that I need to grade, I may not have another adventure for a while. So let’s savor the dregs of this one.
After the snowshoe hike…
It had just gotten dark when our tour group arrived back at the meeting point. I took off the now soggy sweat pants that they loaned me and headed in the direction of my apartment. You may recall that I had a moment of panic when I realized that there are no Air BnBs anywhere near Flåm. Fortunately, booking.com had a deal on the Flåm Marina & Apartments, which I was CERTAIN would be a dump because it was only 850 kr for the night (a little over $100). Still, I hoped for the best.
Flåm is very small, so I knew the Apartments couldn’t be far away. But the only way I could see to get there was the road, which quickly narrowed and had tight blind corners hugging the mountain. I walked VERY fast, hoping that a car didn’t suddenly materialize and put an unfortunate end to my vacation. About half way there, I realized that the marina dock (about 20 feet below the road) also leads directly to the apartments! A much safer route. So, only one brief dance with danger, and then I got wise to my pedestrian commute.
The restaurant attached to the Apartments looked very good (based on the website) and I was excited to enjoy it for dinner. However, upon my arrival, not only was the restaurant closed, but reception was closed as well. Mind you, it wasn’t even 7 pm yet. Perk of visiting in the off season: there aren’t 15,000 tourists, everything is peaceful, small tour groups, hotel deals. Draw back: nothing’s open. Taped to the door was a note from the receptionist with my name on it:
Fortunately, I don’t need formalities. I headed toward my room, wondering if I’d have a nice view of the fjord. AND YES I DID. All the apartments do. At night it wasn’t much, but in the morning…well, I’ll get there. The apartment was very nice. Bedroom with a (comfortable) double bed and good bedding, bathroom, living room with tv and dining table, and kitchen (and of course the deck overlooking the fjord). Not too shabby!
Once I settled in, I realized that my two remaining options for dinner were the brewery or the grocery store. I opted for the latter since I had a kitchen at my disposal. But I did buy a local beer from the grocery store. I found a TV show about the gold rush, cracked my beer, and had a nice unwind. Man, I’m WILD.
I slept great, until about 7 am when the neighbors got up. The only draw back to this place is the paper-thin walls. I woke up like a light because it sounded like somebody was walking down the hallway outside my bedroom door. Like, IN my apartment. I got up READY TO FIGHT…noisy neighbors and bad construction. Back to bed.
When I got up for real, I opened the living room window and remembered my amazing view. I put on a comfy layer, wrapped up in the blanket from my bed, and sat in the quiet morning peace.
Oslo and Bergen are both busy, bustling cities, and I felt as much when I was in them. Leaving both places, I had to catch an early train and join the hurried atmosphere of the morning commute. Flåm had no such atmosphere, nor did I have to catch an early train. I made some breakfast, packed a sandwich for the train, cleaned up a little for housekeeping, and relaxed. I left right at 11, but I could have passed a whole afternoon on that deck.
The light was just perfect, so I snapped a few pictures of Flåm and the marina. Such a lovely place!
Then I checked out the museum, which is mostly train stuff. My uncle is really into trains, so I took a bunch of pictures for him. He’d probably go nuts in there. Here’s a sampling:
After a long browse in the souvenir shop (and a few fridge magnets later) I decided to check out the cafe for lunch. Hours said open, so I went in. It was a ghost town. I could hear folks in the kitchen, but I couldn’t for the life of me find a person to serve me food. They had a pretty tasty menu too. Fish and chips? Yes please. Another drawback to visiting a place like this during the off season: it’s tough to get service. In fact, TWO women walked past me and into the kitchen as I waited by the hostess stand. BOTH made eye contact, but neither reappeared or asked if I needed help. I was pretty disappointed about that.
So I went to the bakery next door and got a chocolate pistachio cookie the size of my face. FACE COOKIE. Then…it was about 1 pm and I’d pretty much done everything there was to do. I had high hopes of streaming Netflix from the visitor’s center, but the internets were too weak. So I finished my book, took some pictures of trolls, ate some cheese…and waited till my train arrived at 4:50.
This train was on the Flåm railway–something pretty awesome and important and probably difficult to construct given the mountain and the museum. The train looked older but very well preserved. The inside was wood and lovely plush seats. The train started with a lurch and tugged us out through the mountain.
The other American gal who was on my snowshoe outing was on the train too. I noticed a dude check her out then sit strategically across the aisle from her. AND I WAITED. Sure enough, when the opportunity arose (scenery on the other side of the train) he moved over and struck up a conversation. He’s from Russia and made it PRETTY OBVIOUS that he was looking for company. Fishing around about her travel plans and here’s she’s staying….The conversation was halting and very awkward. She seemed like the polite type who wouldn’t tell a guy to buzz off. He gave her chocolate. You know chocolate releases the same chemicals as love? Maybe that’s why I eat so much chocolate. BECAUSE MY HEART IS BLACK.
I got a few more train pictures, but the light was failing and the angles from the train window weren’t ideal. But the view was exceptional.
Our last “tourist” stop, was a frozen waterfall. The train stopped for about 5 minutes so we could get out and take pictures. One guy grabbed up some snow and threw it in the air for a picture. He looked really cold, but I be the picture turned out pretty cute. The waterfall wasn’t that majestic. Like 6/10 majesty.
It was about an hour to Myrdal, which is where the adventure ended (the fun part anyway). From there, I picked up a train to Oslo and it took about 5 hours to get back. The train was very full, and people where kind of undone and spread out. It felt sort of hot and sweaty, as heavily populated spaces tend to feel. I didn’t like humanity very much during those 5 hours. And the pressure change through the mountain gave me the worst headache. Not the greatest journey of my life, but I survived, and I think I got some travel cred out of it.
I got into Oslo Central at about 10:30 pm and bought my ticket to Moss. While I waited for my train, I went to the Deli de Luca AND I FINALLY GOT MY WAFFLE WITH BRUNØST. Nothing has ever tasted so sweet.
Will sent me a cute song for my train ride back, and I settled in for the last leg of the journey. I walked in my door at midnight, and it felt good to be home.