Day 26. Saturday 8 June.
Such a peaceful night’s sleep! Ingunn had offered a late checkout and pick up for the trip back to town at 12 PM so there was no rush. A walk to Rjoandefossen waterfall before breakfast, being greeted by three lambs obviously expecting a treat. On the return trip they ignored us!
More of the story from Ingunn as she drove us into town. Her son is a music teacher, but doesn’t enjoy his work so is retraining in IT. He plans to move with his girlfriend to Bergen, as she is from an island off-shore. Ingunn retired from a job in aged care on 1 April, but is happily involved in grandma duty, as her daughter has a leadership role in a bank. Nils is not in good health, although we don’t know what that means. Ingunn’s hospitality was outstanding and the little cabin beneath the railway was magic.
The Flamsbana Museum was terrific, and another reminder of the stamina and stoicism of the generations immediately preceding us. Taking 20 years to build a line of only 20 kms, through 20 tunnels switchbacking through the mountains; most of the tunnels had been constructed by hand and if we understood correctly, the line was built to connect Flam at the top of Sognerfjord with the high mountain plateau and snowfields at Myrdal. Visiting the mountains was obviously recognized as an important cultural/lifestyle activity at the beginning of the 20thcentury and there needed to be a serious infrastructure project to halt emigration at a time of great economic hardship. There were a couple of ‘lash ups’ that D admired, particularly several variations of the railway bike. One in particular resonated because of the little story attached, as well as the surname of the subject.
Erling S. Nesbo
Born 4 December 1913 – died 2 May 1961.
He was out on line inspection and met a train he was not prepared for.
A walk away from the tourist precinct and down to the fjord merely reinforced the overbearing presence of the cruise ship. We’d watched a Sky News report last night showing footage of the out of control cruise ship in Venice that collected a smaller tour vessel before being stopped. From some angles this one looked like it had beached in Flam just behind the bakery!
T was feeling peckish so decided the cheapest option was a bowl of fish soup from the street food stalls. Looked good, tasted alright, cost an arm and a leg (but they rejected her foot).
Then the fast ferry to Bergen. Actually, not so fast as it stops at several towns on the way to drop off/pick up passengers – on a couple of occasions just one person – it is a great service. Competition for the seats with a view was fierce; in a few cases this seemed to be to have a good outlook while sleeping. D was amused, as he is by the bizareness of human behaviour, for most of the journey by one woman – French he claims – who stalked seats with a good view that became vacant, in order to claim squatters rights, all while hubby dozed. She did not succeed, being thwarted once by a Chinese lady who was far more adept and upfront.
The early good views were left behind us as we encountered increasingly heavy rain, but that did ease although visibility was still limited. T secured a window seat next to a young woman and they chatted the whole way. The fellow passenger was a young architect from Yemen, currently living and working in Dubai. Conversation ranged from family, to lifestyle, to social/cultural issues and beyond. D was consigned to the middle seats – which had a perfectly adequate view of the 100 to 200 metres ahead that we could see in those early stages! By the time we emerged from the fjord (after 5 hours of sailing) rain had set in again and as this post is updated, it looks like a rainy Bergen for the next several days.
Almost the last off the ferry, but straight into a taxi and a short ride to our apartment. Reception by Tando was exceedingly efficient and there was just time for D to run (literally run – what a sight!) to the corner store, leaving T on the street, to get some supplies for dinner. Tragically, wine is only sold in monopoly stores and there were none of those in reach at 10 PM, and more tragically no beer was being sold on Sunday because it was a religious holiday. The sad news continues: the holiday runs for three days so this inhumane situation (yes, first world problem) is set to continue. It might be just as well, as the cost of wine in Norway is horrendous.