Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Flam; The ins and outs...

For those of you who are considering Flam as a destination I want to be sure you understand what the town of Flam really is.
One does not come to Flam for the town itself. One comes to see the surrounding valley; to use as a jumping off point for other activities along the Fjords. Old Flam, the original village, lies at the south end of the Flam Valley. It consists of an old church and a few homes, farms or local mining business. The new Flam isn't really in my opinion a town. It's more like a station. It was built purely for the tourist industry. Technically it is where all trains, ferries and roads intersect. It doesn't even have streets per say, except little feeder roads to the few house bulit up in the hills. It is, in essence, a parking lot for buses and cars, a small (very small) center for shops, knick knacks, and a few cafes. It has the harbor, the train station and a fairly sizable hotel. Across the road main local road is the Flam campsite/hostel/cabins. I'll go into this at some point but I will say I love it here. It has fantastic veiws, and accommodations for all budgets and is only a three minute walk to Flam station. Now, as I said in the beginning; one doesn't come to Flam for Flam itself. It's a great place for a maiden voyage into the Fjordlands of Norway. Easily accessible by train from
Bergen or Oslo, it's got a few good walks along the the foot/bike path and one up to a magnificent waterfall. You can catch a ride in a ferry out onto the Fjords, take a power boat ride, kayak or just take a walk. One thing you must understand about Flam; you will be sharing the walk with either the road that runs adjacent to it or the railway. One section had a good deal of traffic ( walk early in the morning. The sun rises at 4am take advantage of that) as it's the main road in and out. The other is a local only road that runs with the rail line. While walking that section I maybe saw 20 cars in 6 hours. The train more frequently. But the train is so cool. Be sure to stop and wave at the tourists on board! They get really excited when you do. I'll assume they think you're a local. Now don't let the hoards of people getting off the cruise ship and inundating the town get to you. Very few of them make there way out to the old farmstead, the waterfall or the old town center. In all I saw maybe 20 people all toll on all of my walks outside of town. Also, if you want to get some groceries or go in and look around the station, do it early in the morning or after the tourists have gotten back on board around 4pm. Now having said all that; don't misunderstand how amazing Flam is. Im sitting up on the hillside in camp as I write this watching the buses go to and fro, I can see the cruise ship in the harbor, and I know the train will soon be pulling into town as I hear the train signal and the train horn sounding off in the distance. There's a slight din of vehicles passing up above me as well. But this camp site is like a little Oasis. The veiws spectacular and the vibe calm and serene. The sounds of the station are close, but distance enough to not be bothersome. To be honest, I much prefer it to say hiking in the Cinque Terre district of Italy while being surrounded by hoards of people even in  the off season. Here, off season is pretty quiet compared to off season in say Italy or Greece. I recently discovered that Flam is just the tip of a gigantic area known as the Sognefjord.  It's gonna take some planning, but I'll certainly be back to delve deeper into this amazing area. I've already begun another grand adventure here in my mind. So, in closing; if you have limited time and resources visit Flam. If you've got more time and more money also add a journey out into the national parks and glaciers that lie along Noways spectacular Fjordlands. G

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