Monday, August 27, 2018

Viking Homelands: Flåm Railway (8/27/2018)

Monday, August 27, 2018
Panoramic view from stateroom (KSS)
Kent and I were up early, ready to disembark as soon as the ship arrived in Eidfjord at 7:00. I was hoping to take the Trolltrain to see a couple sights in Eidfjord. However, the ocean cruise ship is not like a river cruise ship, where as soon as the boat is docked, one can hop off. We had to wait for the all clear from the port, which did not happen until over an hour later and it was too late for us.
Instead we met Fernando and Josefina for breakfast, and prepared for our optional shore excursion: The Scenic Flåm Railway. We were assigned a group number, which would be the number of the motor coach and the channel we would use on our Quietvox listening devices.
The tour began with a motor coach taking us from the shores of Hardangerfjord (second longest fjord in Norway) through the mountains to Sognefjord (the longest fjord in Norway), going through several (maybe 10?) of Norway's tunnels (over 1,000). Norway also has the world's longest road tunnel at 24.51 km/15.23 mi.
Skjervsfossen/waterfall (top section)
on the Hardangerfjord side
Top of the lower section of Skjervfossen
View from the motor coach of both
sections of Skjervsfossen
Moss-covered rocks; the legend in Norway is that the large
rocks that have fallen in the valleys are trolls that were caught in sunlight
Sod roof
View from the motor coach of Tvindefossen,
on the Sognefjord side near Voss
Kent and Tamiko at Tvindefossen
Yep, it is raining! Some former troll rocks along the mountain stream
Approaching Gudvangen
Gudvangen (7/14/1982)
We arrived in Flåm and were taken to the Flåmsbana/Flåm Railway station to board the train that would take us from the shore of Sognefjord (2m/6.5' above sea level) up to Myrdal (866 m/2,841' above sea level). The Flåm Railway is the steepest standard gauge railroad in Europe, with a top gradient of 5.5%. Construction began in 1924, with the line opening in 1941. There are 20 tunnels, 18 of which were built by hand (i.e., hand-drilled holes for the dynamite). Although the railroad crosses the Flåm River three times, there is only one bridge, as twice the river is routed through a tunnel under the tracks.
Flåmsbana El-18 locomotive, a modification of the
Swiss Re 140 that is built in Norway
Passing Rjoandefossen
Flåm Valley from the train
Flåm Valley farm
Tunnshellefossen towering over the Tunnshell Farm
Waterfalls and 21-hairpin road from Myrdal
The train made a photo-op stop at Kjosfossen.
Suddenly there was dramatic singing and a figure in red appeared;
the legendary Hulda, a forest spirit who lives behind the falls
and sings to lure men, not to have them die upon the rocks,
but to seduce them; however, as some stories go, once the men
see that she has a tail, they are no longer disillusioned
Flåmbana train at the Kjosfossen stop
View back on track we had just used as we make a 180-degree
turn in a horseshoe tunnel that is open on one side
At Myrdal, we changed to the NSB/Norges Statsbaner/Norwegian State Railway train to go to Voss.
Flåmsbana train at Myrdal
Same background but with the NSB/Norges Statsbaner/
Norwegian State Railway train (7/14/1982)
NSB/Norges Statsbaner/Norwegian State Railway train
View from the train, with a sod-roofed outbuilding
We are greeted by a troll at the Voss station (KSS)
In Voss, our group was escorted to the Park Hotel to a restaurant for a buffet lunch. After eating, we had some time left, and took a walk to find the Knute Rockne statue.
Voss Kirke/Church (1271-1277)
with an unusual steeple
Voss is building a gondola lift that will replace the
Hangursbanen/cable car, which has been out of service since 2015
Tamiko and Kent with the statue (2006, by
Jerry McKenna, a duplicate of one at
Rockne Plaza near the former College Football
Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN
This was not the statue I saw in 1982! Maybe I just saw a memorial plaque.
Fleischer's Hotel (1889 in Swiss style), was,
along with the Voss Church, one of the few
surviving buildings after the bombing
by Germans in 1940
The tunnels in Norway even have roundabouts
Approaching Eidfjord and the Viking Star
Tonight we dined at Manfredi's, where Kent had the Frutti di Mare
The infinity pool could appear to be leaving a trail in the sea
Next: Stavanger.