Tag Archives: viewingplatform

Church, Train, Cruise Ships and a Spectacular View

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Straight after breakfast I headed to Borgund to see the world famous stave church there. The place was deserted as most things are at this time of year. I had to smile at a notice on the door of the visitor’s centre that said “Closed until April 2020”. The centre was a large building with lots of facilities inside for video shows and lots of souvenirs, etc. Are there really so few visitors at this time of year to justify closing the centre for so long?

Anyway, the church itself was available to look at, although I couldn’t get inside, which was a shame, but I’m getting used to the fact that places here are only open for a short time in the summer. I took quite a few pictures without the intrusion of lots of tourists which is a bonus I guess.

At almost a thousand years old, the church is exceptionally well preserved and is dedicated to the St. Andrew. It features lavish carvings including the roof carvings of dragons’s heads. The church here is one of Norway’s oldest preserved timber buildings.

There’s more information about the stave church at Borgund here

My next stop, not too far away the small village of Flåm. I was surprised to see as I approached the village, the same cruise ship I had seen in Geirangerfjord, the AIDA Mar. As before the huge liner dominated the village and its passengers seemed to fill the village shops, stuffed full of souvenirs. Flam centre is a good example of a place created just for tourists and in particular cruise ship tourism. The ships dock very close by in the deep water fjord (Aurlandsfjord) and passengers only have to walk 100 metres or so and they are right in the middle of all that’s on offer.

There’s quite a bit to see and do here like the Flåm railway. This will take you on a two hour return journey to Myrdal at the top of the mountain. Here are some facts about the journey

  • The Flåm Railway is 20 km long
  • It has 20 tunnels
  • It took 20 years to build
  • Approx. cost NOK 20 million (when completed in 1940)
  • The Nåli tunnel (approx. 1,300 metres) between Kårdal and Pinnalia took 11 years to build
Flåm Railway

Find out more about the railway by clicking here.

In addition to the railway, Flåm can also offer a cruise along Aurlandfjord in the world’s first all electric carbon fibre cruiser, pictured below.

“Vision of the Fjords’

If you prefer, you can take your car (or camper van!) up the winding, twisting, hairpin bend filled road up to the Stegastein Lookout Point as I did. A specially built platform that sticks right out from the mountain side, gives you a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains and fjords. It was evening and well into the “blue hour” when I got to the top, but well worth the drive.

Stegastein Lookout Platform
The view from the Stegastein Lookout Platform with golden trees in the “blue hour”

The journey back down to Flåm was ‘interesting’ with it’s many hairpin bends in the dark and an occasional meeting with large red deer stags in the middle of the road!

It was just about dark by the time I got down to sea level again and just in time to see ‘AIDA Mar’ leaving the village for it’s next stop on the cruise. These vessels do look spectacular as they leave port with all lights blazing.

‘AIDA Mar’ leaving Aurlandfjord.

Now I think I need to find somewhere to sleep.

Bergsfjord

Wednesday 18 September 2019

(Most of this post written by FIONA Illingworth, whilst enjoying her well deserved holiday with me here in Norway)

8.30 am

We are up and have had half our breakfast. We will also have toast but John has gone to ask the Norwegian air stewards if he can take their photo whilst they have their breakfast outside. It is quite cold this morning and we are both full of admiration for them. They are made hardy here if nothing else. 

There are two caddy vans here too and I am amazed how much they manage to cram into the small space. They have to cook mostly outside or from the back of the tailgate. We have seen both extremes: huge mobile homes and then these small caddy vans. I think we have got it about right. John and I have shared this space of ours, with two lots of camera kit and a drone. It has been a tad squashed at times but mostly it is fine. Having said that, I am sure John will be glad of the extra space when I go back. 

It is colder and breezier today and there is a real threat of snow tonight so let’s see how today goes. John wants to have a go taking a time lapse this morning. If we are going to potter about on the beach for any length of time then I am going to have to put on some more layers. Packing the rucksack tomorrow and deciding what to take and what to leave in the van will be an interesting one. John suggested I leave the tripod but I am reluctant to do that because I may want to use it at home.

4.15 pm

We are on a small road between two mountains, just off the 854, and on our way to Storsteinnes and have come upon a perfect little lake, Ytre Fiskelaus-vatnet, by Furudal. The mountain peaks have a covering of snow.  I had a go at shooting the mountains and the water using my cokin filters. Not sure how successful it will be but time will tell. It is freezing cold even though the sun is shining; the car dashboard says it is 6 degrees. 

On our way back over the mountains we stopped at a place called Bergsbotn where a viewing platform has been built to enable visitors to view the whole of Bergsfjord and the mountains in the background. The mountains in the background include Hesten and Segla that we visited and hiked up, Hesten, a few days ago.

Bergsfjord

Not sure where we will stop tonight but its about time we started thinking about our night stop before the weather deteriorates