Sometimes you luck in…and how.
N and I love to plan our travel itineraries. We spend a fair amount of time on research..we like travelling on a budget and splurging occasionally on fine experiences along the way.
So while planning our trip through Norway, we began by being certain only of one thing..seeing the fjords. You can’t come to Norway and not see the fjords…duhhh.. To get to the fjords, we realised Bergen is a great place to start. And then our research threw up Flam.
However, August, the time we had chosen seemed to be when everyone was heading here. We spent a fair bit of time researching AirBnBs to find ones in our budget, but Flam was a no-go. No hotels available for our dates, even if we were to considerably loosen our purse strings.
And then we chanced upon regions near Flam..a ferry ride away we read first…across a fjord branch was Aurland..the Aurlandfjord is a branch of the much bigger and one of the most majestic fjords in the region, the Sognefjord.
We landed in Flam by the Flamsbana train that weaves its way from Myrdal down a spectacular mountainous rail route and gushing waterfalls, valleys and ravines. And the instructions from our host was to catch a bus, a specific one at that which would drop us on the doorsteps of the apartment we booked for the day.
Till the moment, we got here..we had no clue how we had lucked in! The place couldn’t be more scenic…with mountains on all sides and the gushing waters from waterfalls nearby the only sound for the most part. We lucked in with the weather too- bright and sunny and welcoming. And imagine spotting a double rainbow!!
Guides and guidebooks don’t do justice to these fjordlands. We highly recommend that you head to one of the fjords..any one that you blindly narrow down on the map..choose a little place, rent a room for a few days and pitch yourselves here.
Breathe the mountain air..cycle up a path or two or trek along these paths…drink a beer and fire up a barbeque…
Do try some local brown cheese and see if it grows on you (its sweetish and tastes fudgy caramelly almost) and walk around the local shops..some do really fine work (your wallet will definitely be lighter but it might just be worth it!)
If none of these are your idea of good times…just sit around till the sun finally sets around 11pm in the night.
And tick another place off your bucket list…The Northern Lights is still a biggie on my travel list and Norway, I promise to be back for that.
Till then, oh lovely fjordlands…stay pristine and virgin and please don’t give in to the demand by cruise lines and big hotel chains to add more shacks and hotels. Stay small, stay beautiful.