Thu 27 Apr 2006
After spending the bulk of my time in Oslo I decided last weekend to Bergen, Norway’s second largest city . I took the train, apparently one of the most “spectacular” rides in Europe, headed west toward the coast. Since I booked so late it was cheaper to detour and take the famous “Norway in a Nutshell” tour…
After 3 or so hours heading west, the forested countryside started to look a lot interesting as the train entered the hills and then mountains that divide the coast from the rest of the country. We passed the tree-line and traverssed a flat glaciar and snow-covered plateau, then arrived at Myrdal. Here the tourists jumped out and got on another rail line down to Flåm, a town beside a fjord. The train rapidly descended 2838 feet, the steepest ride in the world, through twenty tunnels carved out of rock and past waterfalls that were still frozen in place.
In Flåm we boarded a ferry and spent a couple of hours passing through two of the fjords. The tourists were pretty funny and almost caricatures: Japanese taking lotsa photos, Latinos having a party, some Aussies drinking… Nontheless, the fjords were worth it. They are dotted with tiny villages that are completely cut off except for by boat.
When we landed we piled on a bus to Voss and from there took the train into Bergen. All up about a 12-hour journey. Kitch and touristy, but fun nonetheless. In Bergen I stayed with my friend from DC Yana Gorbalenya, who has been through some life-changing experiences in the past 12 months. She left DC to take some film classes in Prague, met a Norwegian, and is now in Bergen married with identical twins. The babies were 6 months old and too cute. Yana was our field producer for Disarm on the first shoot in Thailand.
I took a walk with Yana through the city and up one of the cable cars. It is a beautiful setting with seven mountains and many inlets and islands (a bit of Rio). Yana had received a weather-proof tracksuit for Christmas that she said has been invaluable in the city’s rain. It rained a bit, but then cleared up into a sunnyd day. Kinda like Wellington in that sense I guess!
This is my last week in Norway – boo hoo!