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27th July, 2014


The overnight run up to Flam, a distance of around 240 miles was in calm waters, the last hundred being in the Sogne Fjord. By eight in the morning I could see there just weren’t enough people on deck taking in the fantastic scenery that lay ahead, so a quick wakeup call through the PA system was required. I have to say it worked rather well.

I was offered the opportunity to do a little route proofing, tour wise. This did necessitate though, taking a hire bike onto the train and up to Vatna-Halsen, the last stop before the train reaches Myrdal, the main Bergen – Oslo connection. From here the four of us made our precipitous way down a gravel zig-zag track, endeavouring to neither fall over by going too slowly, or not making the turns by going too fast. Definitely not for the faint hearted. Fun though.

We were advised to stop at Dalsbotn station in order to be picked up and taken to the Holo farm and sample a little rural life five hundred meters above the fjord. (The actual route proofing part of our minor expedition). Needless to say we missed the sign and were four kilometres along the track by the time we realised. A quick phone call, and a few minutes later we were rescued and taken back, then up a steep winding track to the charming traditional wooden buildings that had been in the family for generations. We took a look into the brewery of the owner Per Dale (an essential winter hobby I assume), also the smoke house where home grown lamb was cured. One building had been refurbished in traditional style and was where guests were offered samples of home prepared food.

We spent an hour chatting with Per and his wife Lill, tasting various meats, goats cheese and some sort of porridge made from sour cream and butter (different). It was a very pleasant interlude and one I’m sure small groups of our passengers would enjoy. The final bike ride was covered in fairly quick time and I can report a successful expedition accomplished without the slightest sign of gravel rash with which to embellish our feat of aged daring do.

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