Post 167: 3 August 2017, Flam and Brekkefossen
Arriving in Flam at about 7.00am, the plan this morning after breakfast was for Celia to catch the train to Myrdal ascending to 867 metres within just 50 minutes. The railway gradient is 1 in 18 over a distance of 20 kilometres (12.42 miles). She would then get the train back to Berekvam, which is half-way between Myrdal and Flam where a bicycle would be provided for her to cycle down. She would start at 343 metres above sea level and cycle for approximately 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) – nearly all downhill!
Having been on the train before, I fancied a walk to the Brekkefossen Waterfall. This was about 7 km (4.4 miles) and is situated at the top right of the map.
Leaving the ship I passed through the station which can get extremely busy at times as it is a major World tourist attraction. Finished in 1944, the railway climbs almost 1,000 metres through magnificent scenery, in and out of mountains, past waterfalls and ravines, and pausing at the beautiful Kjosfossen Waterfall – where water crashes 225 metres down the side cliffs. It passes through 20 tunnels.The river at some point was diverted to go under the railway line!
After some easy road walking (3 on the map) the waterfall soon came into view
and at the Brekkefossen sign I left the road. The path was quite easy and even at first but became rough, muddy and steeper. I met a lady who had got so far up, but explained that she didn’t feel up to it having previously had ankle injuries. I got quite quite high up as shown in the photograph but views were restricted by the trees. Two young ladies were descending and confirmed that views from the top were no better and the path got even steeper.
I decided to descend, somewhat disappointed. There were steep inclines at the side of the path and I didn’t want to end up in hospital or worse. It was also slippy. Fortunately, I had brought my trekking pole. Further down I met a family from California. who were descending.
A blonde lady from Holland (they are usually Norwegian) appeared at a sharp bend and headed off right descending to a grassy meadow area. She seemed to know where she was going so I followed her. A magnificent viewpoint emerged at the base of the waterfall. I had missed this on the ascent and there were no viewpoint signs. I wonder how many people miss this magnificent viewpoint?
There were views back along Flamsdalen towards our ship.
And along the valley.
See slideshow. A train passed along. Can you spot it?
This made the hard climb all worthwhile. When Norwegians say it is a moderate walk, bank on a steep hill! However, a young Norwegian couple were clearly going to the very top of the mountain. Easy peasy for the superfit.
I met a number of people coming up as I was descending and their question was ‘how much further?’. I tried to encourage them to keep going, but to watch out for the descending grassy viewpoint area.
On reaching the road I turned right towards a bridge marked on the map only to find it under repair following damage by extensive floods in recent years. I continued further along to a Dutch family who were sat around their motorhomes. One motorhome was a 40 years old Dutch one and very unusual. They did not know if I could get to Flam village where there was another bridge.
I was off the map!
Eventually I found a bridge and crossed over. It was now warm, but I had a water bottle.
I then followed the quiet road alongside the railway line back down the valley.
Soon I came across some raspberries, which were for sale at the end of someones drive. 30 krona (about £3) which was very reasonable for Norway (I had already eaten a few before the picture was taken). I also found a wool and gift shop selling homemade ice cream.
Both were absolutely delicious.
The views were gorgeous in the sunlight.
I came across some unusual walkways, which were damaged last time I passed here in September 2014 on a Great Railway Journey holiday.
I saw Celia’s train heading out at midday and she saw me. My activities were coming to an end and hers were just beginning.
I passed the lovely hotel, The Fretheim, which was built by English salmon fishermen in the 19th Century and I stayed there in September 2014.
I do not normally add my photographs of previous trips, but have included two I took in 2014, one of which adorns our lounge wall at home.
Such wonderful memories.
Miles Walked 6.2
PS Celia did return from her bike ride, but I didn’t see her as she must have been going too fast downhill!!