Sep 14, 2008

Norwegians in a nutshell

Our little division at work had a weekend getaway to Flåm, which is at one end of the old Flåm Railway, which takes you through a beautiful and dramatic valley. It is part of the Norway in a Nutshell round trip, which is very popular and well worth the money, and includes a boat trip to Gudvangen, in the UNESCO World Heritage fjord Nærøyfjord.


The train in Flåm

We took the ferry from Flåm to Gudvangen, too, but it was a heck of a cold boat trip! Although the weather was great, this time of year, the sun hadn't cleared the mountains when we entered Nærøyfjord. I was somewhat prepared for the cold, fortunately.


In the Aurland fjord, I was fascinated by the shadows on the hillside

You turn a corner, and enter Naeroy fjord

Almost to Gudvangen

The evening before we'd headed to a new microbrewery, Ægir, in Flåm. Whatever their darkest ale was, it was delicious. You could also get a sampler tray of six beers.


The outside of the microbrewery

We got our drinks and settled in, that is to say, we scared off the other guests very quickly, to my amusement. Because when Norwegians drink, they get loud and laugh a lot. And they'll sing. And end every song with "SKÅL"! And get louder. And laugh harder. And sing some more. And there were 28 of us doing that.

I can understand why the shorts-and-backpack bunch got up and left, but they did miss out on a bit of Norwegian culture.

Next time, dear tourist, don't leave. Hang around and watch these normally buttoned-up people loosen up and smile at everyone, especially if they're singing (if they're having a loud discussion, it's soccer and you don't want to go there). You may even catch some old Norwegian folk tunes with a typically Scandinavian 5/4 beat and an odd little sadness to them, even when sung cheerfully.

6 comments:

Sravana said...

Beautiful and FUN!
I'll keep that "Norway in a Nutshell" trip in mind...

I was thinking how much I enjoy your writing about Norwegian culture - I think that the gov't needs to acknowledge you as an Ambassador to the English Speaking World. You're making a country that I know very little about much more accessible. :)

Now, if only I'd chosen Norwegian as my language to learn this summer, I might even be able to write some - versus Japanese. sigh. :)

re: fjords - I'd never realized how dark it can be in the bottom of a fjord. eeeek. This woman *requires* the sun to live - and given Norway's coastline, I'd bet that not very many fjords face south. :o

Lora said...

Ooh, I love these sort of posts, full of lovely pictures of Norway.

I can't believe the tourists actually left... come on! I would've tried to film it or something! :D

Tim said...

We were there a few years ago, and it's a memory that certainly sticks in my mind. Not to "geek-ify" its beauty, but it much reminds me of scenes from Lord of the Rings

Sparkling Red said...

Those are beautiful photos! I need to visit Norway sometime.

By the way, there's an award for you up on my site.
:-)

Anonymous said...

Theres plenty of sun in the fjords. and, many of the old farms were built high up on the steep sides of the fjords. one reason , to take advantage of the winter sun. also, lower down was not good for avalanches in winter. and protection,(from who I dont know) if you saw the ladders and paths they had to climb to get up there. like living in their own ivory tower. An d , buns of steel. hearty folk, they were. now old farm houses are becoming popular for hyttes. I would recommend to anyone to do Norway in a Nutshell, Ive done it 3 times. then you can visit Keera when you get to Bergen! absolutly stunning views, I can barely spare the time to go to the bathroom during the trip, not wanting to miss a single gorgeous sight.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Sravana, it's no darker than any deep valley early or late in the day. The Norwegian gov't does not need me to advertise Norway for it because it already has UNESCO doing that job. ;-)

Lora, that'd be a fun film!

Tim, there are three places on the planet with similar topography: British Columbia, western Norway and New Zealand, and LOTR was filmed in the latter.

Yes, Spark, you do need to visit. :-) Thanks for the award!

Anon, protection was from pirates and thieves. I did take a picture of an impossibly placed house called "The Ladder" because it literally had to have a ladder to get up and down from the fjord.

And to all of you: If you should ever find yourself in Bergen, let me know and I'll show you around!