LIFESTYLE 2016 # A place to be


LIFESTYLE 2016 # A place to be

“Oslo to Bergen by Train” – By Jolyon Attwooll [Telegraph UK]
A ride on the Bergen Line feels like a trip on a busy, important rail link that, just coincidentally, is extraordinarily scenic and has sightseers on board. A very different atmosphere can prevail on its remaining branch line, the Flåm Railway from the Aurlandsfjord up to Myrdal, a station on the mainline.

Technically, the 12.5-mile section of track is a marvel, rising more than half a mile, skirting cliff edges, waterfalls and twisting its way improbably up the mountain. However, for much of the year, it is also purely for tourists. Whole carriages are put aside for cruise ship passengers, and there are announcements in several languages pointing out sights. Those who want to get a snapshot of the train and the view down the valley to the Aurlandsfjord should sharpen their elbows, in peak season at least.

We had heard that women dancing to panpipe folk music – representing hulder, a mythical Scandinavian troll that lures unwitting men up the mountain – might appear at the Kjosfossen waterfall stop. In an ironic way, we were disappointed when they didn’t show up – perhaps our 8.35am train was too early. We later searched for YouTube footage, which made Eurovision look high class.

Others on our train also found the journey entertaining – and not quite in the way that Flåm Utvikling, the private company that took over the marketing of the railway in the Nineties, intended. A couple of cyclists on board had clearly seen it all before, collapsing in fits of laughter as they watched passengers desperately zoom in on a long-past stave church, as the announcer finally pointed it out in their preferred language.

It’s that kind of train. Undeniably pretty, yes, but if you ride it during summer, brace yourself for an hour of Disneyfied tourism.

Let’s check the video on home page.


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