July 28, Day 8 of 56
As of this writing we’re back home in Arizona, and the catch-up posts are slowly being hatched where we left off many weeks ago in Bergen, Norway. With spotty internet connectivity, a busy touring schedule during the trip, plus being in the moment is more important, catching up is the best we can do. What an adventure it was!
Our next port of call was Eidfjord, a quaint village nestled in the heart of one of Norway’s most scenic regions, and I mean quaint. The charming hamlet has a population of only 1,000 folks living and enjoying this very picturesque place many miles down the gorgeous and expansive Hardangerfjord from the Norwegian Sea. We were thrilled to witness the ship’s approach to the village port at sunrise:
Our 8-hour excursion that day started with a bus ride over beautiful mountain passes and through miles of tunnels bored through solid rock, some of them more than 7 miles long! It was amazing to traverse underground roundabouts that circled supports holding up the ceiling of the tunnels:
Next we boarded a commuter train to Myrdal station where we would transfer to the Flåm Railway. It was a smooth and quiet ride (all trains are electric-powered here) as we saw gorgeous mountains and green countryside:
We continued to marvel at Norway’s stunning beauty as we changed trains to our third ride of the day, aboard the Flåm Railway:
This railway has been described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, as well as one of the steepest. It was a wonderful experience as we climbed nearly 3,000′ through 20 tunnels and across numerous bridges. The views to both sides of the train were glorious displays of iconic Norwegian landscape:
Then the train stopped for a few minutes at a waterfall which has a unique attraction. While everyone was busy taking pictures of the roaring waterfall, music suddenly filled the air. Then a lady in red materialized on a rocky ledge, dancing and twirling to the tempo. She is supposedly huldra, a seductive forest spirit from Scandinavian folklore, but in reality she’s one of the dancers of the Norwegian Ballet School. It was an unusual and very cool experience!
We continued rolling through more spectacular vistas, set amid snowcapped mountains, forests, lush rolling hills and tiny villages:
At the end of the line we transferred to another bus and stopped for a buffet-style lunch at Stalheim Hotel, which has a beautiful view of the Nærøy Valley. It sits about 1,237′ above sea level, with dramatic vistas of mountains and valleys:
After lunch we re-boarded our motor coach once again to descend the thirteen hairpin bends of the steep Stalheimskleivane Road down to the narrow and impressive Næroydalen Valley. We passed several waterfalls, stopping for pictures at each one. We never get tired of waterfalls, even after seeing dozens of them in Iceland a few days ago:
As we approached the port we saw our beautiful ship, the Viking Star, looking like a toy amidst towering mountains:
Next up: Stavanger, Norway