We traveled by bus to the fjordside city of Flam. On the way we stopped to see the Borgund Stave Church. This is supposedly the best preserved of Norway’s 28 existing stave churches. It was build in the 1180s and is the second oldest church in Norway. To ensure these buildings endure, they are wood covered in pine tar. Unfortunately that also makes them very flammable and over the years many of them have been destroyed.
When we arrived before we got right up to the church we waited for our local tour guide in the gift shop. We had these excellent contraptions called “whispers” in which a tour guide could speak into a small microphone and we could all hear through our earpieces. This allows the guide not to have to shout and it allowed up to explore as we listened. Nathan got a hold of the microphone while we were waiting and he started giving a fake tour of the stave church. A few people believed him for a while. Later in the trip he graduated to the bus microphone!
We got started on the real tour and we went right up to the church and explored inside. It was such an interested and different type of building than anything I have seen before. It was one of my favorite sites in Norway.
After our journey we got back on the bus to resume our travels to Flam. Idar knew of a good spot to watch for the salmon swimming upstream. He pulled over and we watched for about 10 minutes. I got a pretty good picture of a salmon trying to leap up a waterfall. I zoomed in on it get the close-up.
As part of our drive across Norway we went through their longest tunnel. I forget the statistics now, but it is so long they set up three areas through the tunnel that were lit very brightly to simulate exposure to sunlight. They found that this made drivers more aware for brief periods of time and it helped sooth people who were claustrophobic during the drive. I just thought it made a nice picture.
We arrived in Flam and our hotel was right on the fjord. When we arrived there was a cruise ship there and they were loading up. We checked in and got to watch the very large cruise ship leave this very small port. It was fun to see the operations from the shore to launch.
We started our time in Flam with a beer tasting. The Norwegians have recently gotten into a lot of brewing. It turns out that this brewery was actually run by an American who moved to Norway to get into their brewing world. It was a really fun time for everyone.
The next morning we took a train from Flam to a nearby town and back. It is the world’s steepest regular railway (non funicular or cog). It actually spiraled up at times. This is mom and dad on the train.
We got to stop and see a beautiful waterfall up close but we probably passed 50 waterfalls during the whole ride. It was really beautiful.
We got back to Flam and started our journey into the wilds of Norway.