Flam


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We first stopped in Flam, near the head of Sognefjord, in the spring of 2018 with snow still on the ground in the surrounding mountains. We returned in late fall of 2020 to snow on the peaks, but this time it was the first snows of the winter.

On both visits, we took a ride on the famous Flamsbana scenic railway to view the mountain snow. And while we were out of season each trip, Flam was notably quieter on our most recent. Few visitors were there during the pandemic, and with the train carriage almost to ourselves, we took our only public transport ride of 2020 after leaving Antwerp in March.

Below are highlights from October 29th and 30th, 2020. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

10/29/2020
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Hella-Vangsnes Ferry
The ferry between Hella and Vangsnes crossing in front of us as we depart Balestrand for Flam.
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Fyssafossen
The Fyssafossen drops roughly 655 ft (200 m) into Aurlandsfjorden.
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Legacy of the Fjords
The all-electric Legacy of the Fjords tour boat was delivered this year and is a sistership to the Vision of The Fjords and Future of The Fjords that we saw in Flam when we visited in 2018. Steep zig-zagging mountain paths inspired their distinctive hull design.
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Undredal
The village of Undredal, nestled beneath 5,200ft (1,500m) mountains along Aurlandsfjorden.
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Flam
Approaching the village of Flam on an ultra-calm day. We’d spent several days at Flam in 2018, and had recently driven past on our trip to Torsby, Sweden and were excited to return.
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Flam Moorage
Dirona moored on a strong dock at Flam with 2 16-amp shorepower connections, and water available.
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Flam From Dirona
Views to Flam from Dirona (clockwise from top left: forward, aft, starboard and port).
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Dirona at Flam
Looking across our berth in Flam down Aurlandsfjorden, a branch of Sognefjord, from the restaurant at the Flam Marina hotel. What a spectacular place for a meal.
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Posten
At Posten (post office) to pickup some more food for Spitfire. We feed him Hill’s Kidney Care, which is generally not available in local stores. Mail order is very convenient for visiting boaters in Norway, because the standard delivery option is post-office pickup. So we can just order something to be delivered to the town we’ll be visiting and then pick it up when we arrive.
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Groceries
The post office is inside the local grocery store, and we picked up a few supplies while we were there, including some Flam-brewed Aegir beer.
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Garbage
We brought our groceries back to the boat using the store’s grocery cart, then offloaded some garbage before returning the cart.
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Aegir
At the Aegir Brewery on the outskirts of Flam. The town is a lot quieter than last time we were here due to the pandemic. Normally we’d have stopped in the Aegir Brewpub in town for lunch, but their hours are restricted now, and we’d not likely go inside even if they were open today. We really like their beer though, and picked up some at the grocery store earlier today.
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Deere
Another John Deere in the wilds.
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Fall Colours
Fall colors looking down into Flam from a path above our berth. On the dock is the Future of the Fjords, sistership to th Legacy of the Fjords we saw underway earlier today.
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Flam Marina
Dirona, at center, moored at the Flam Marina hotel (click image for a larger view). The lights are just starting to come up at dusk and it’s simply beautiful. We’re really enjoying our return visit to Flam.
10/30/2020
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Webcam
Blog reader Michel Pottier spotted Dirona on the webcam of Vision of the Fjords, moored in front of us at Flam.
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Flamsbana
Flamsbana (the Flam Railway) is considered one of the world’s most scenic railway trips. We took the trip last time were in Flam in 2018 on recommendation of longtime blog reader Jacques Vuyeand. We really enjoyed it, and wanted to take it again this time to see more mountain snow. From watching the trains and talking to the ticket office, ridership was very low right due to the pandemic, so we decided to take a small risk. It felt pretty safe, as we had almost the entire coach to ourselves. It was our first trip on public transportation since departing Antwerp back in March, and we really enjoyed the ride.
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Rallarvegen Road
Rallarvegen Road climbs Myrdal Mountain through an amazing 21 switchbacks beside a beautiful waterfall up to Myrdal station, visible at upper center. It is now a popular recreational route where people take the train from Flam to and walk or cycle back down.

The road was built in the early 1900s as a service road during railway construction. The railway itself climbs Myrdal Mountain to the left of the road, through three switchbacks and the two tunnels. A covered section of the train tracks is visible directly to the left of the waterfall.

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Kjosfossen
The train stops for a few minutes at Kjosfoss Station, created only so tourists can view the waterfall Kjosfossen. The flow of the falls was much stronger than last time we were here in the early spring. During the summer, train passengers are treated to singing and dancing by a performer wearing in a light flowing gown. She wisely didn’t perform on this cold day, and there weren’t many tourists to see it anyway.
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Myrdal Station
The train between Bergen and Oslo passing through Myrdal Station at the end of the Flamsbana run.
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Hinnoy
The Hinnoy, one of several Norwegian navy minesweepers vessels, arrived into Flam today. In addition to a speed advantage, the ship’s catamaran design reduces its magnetic and acoustic signatures and dampens the impact of an exploding mine. The vessel carries two ROVs used for detecting mines, and divers experienced in mine clearing. The ship was in town to help in the search for a missing person, possibly lost along the waterway.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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6 comments on “Flam
  1. Alan Hannebauer says:

    Love your blogs! We are hoping to be in the Baltic on board N57 Tidewalker either in 2022 or 2023, depending on Covid vaccine availability. Your trip is inspiring me, thanks!

  2. Theo Le Duc / HMS RITSER says:

    Jennifer and James, jour logbook is my very best watersport trawler magazine! I took the Flamsbana once and remember the spectacular views especially when one gets above the tree line.
    Safe continuation.

  3. Stewart Kelly says:

    Wonderful to see you and Jennifer having some wonderful adventures, despite the pandemic, James! Stay safe and healthy.
    Best regards.

    • Thanks Stewart. We’ve done pretty well through the years but were actually finding cruising increasingly high friction with the combination of Brexit (Jennifer has a UK passport) and the pandemic. The former prevents us from staying in Schengen area starting this year and the latter makes it difficult to cross boarders at all the new virus variants rapidly closing international boarders. We were on our way to Sweden but, as we neared, the border closed to non-business travel from Norway. And, just to add a bit of adventure to the situation, the “ice free” harbor where we are currently tied off quite quickly went from mostly open water to thickly iced in. We’re now surrounded by 6″ of ice. You can actually stand on it :-). All part of the adventure for us and the ice is kind of fun. We’ll eventually have to find someone with a strong boat to break us out but we’re enjoying Farsund for now.

      The combination of brexit and increasing border friction has us thinking through options and we may cross the Atlantic and return to North America.

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