20 July 2018:
Flåm, Norway:
All Aboard!

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Flåm is one of the biggest little places in all of Norway, especially for travelers who come in by cruise ship.

If you call it FLAM, they’ll know what you mean. But to be correct you have to pay attention to the little symbol above the third letter of its name.

The Norwegian and Danish letter Å, with the little diacritical overring above, is not “a” but more similar to “o” in most other languages. So, FLOM.

Check it out: doors in Norway are marked to tell you which one to open. The signs read, åpen.

The village of Flåm is at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, a small arm of the spectacular Sognefjord which reaches in from the Norwegian Sea. The 204-kilometer or 125-mile-long Sognefjord is said to be the longest and deepest fjord in the world.

Truth be told, though: the port is basically a train station, a ferry slip, a cruise dock, and a few gift shops.

About 500,000 visitors come each year by ship or train; about 175 cruise ships come each summer.

The 20-kilometer (12-mile) Flåmsbana railway rises from the town at sea level to the high village of Myrdal on the steepest standard gauge railway in Europe, which rises 863 meters or 2,831 feet through 20 tunnels and across one bridge.

The trip takes about an hour each way.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

The idea for the train dates back to the 1890s, when tourism and other trade was beginning to grow in this part of Norway. But the technology was not yet ready, and construction only began in 1936.

After Germany occupied Norway in 1940, the line was completed. Germany wanted the railway to support their military aims as well as export of raw materials.

Today, there are about ten trips each direction during the summer, fewer in the cold, snowy, and dark winter.

At the top, the train shares a station at Myrdal with long-distance trains to Bergen and elsewhere.

The Flåmsbana is the third-busiest tourist attraction in Norway.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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