It was a few years ago that I immersed myself in as much Scandi as I could during a 14-day trip that covered the city of Copenhagen, Stockholm, a little ‘unruly’ cruise along the Norwegian Coast from Trondheim to Bergen and a stint in Oslo.
I landed in the Viking lands at the end of the season and as a cold wind reminded me to rug up I was lucky to visit the Tivoli Gardens before they shut up shop for winter, ate at a few good restaurants along the way but also with slow trade I didn’t find much slow food in some towns. One night I wandered around a very pretty tourist town and the best joint was closed until ‘tomorrow night’ and I found myself sitting in a neon-lit dodgy cafe eating hot chips out of a styrofoam container while budding adolescent crims cruised around outside on their skateboards . . .another grand moment of luxury travel!
I tried the ‘good’ restaurant the following night and if boiled meat, stodgy dumplings and carrots are your bag – you would have loved it. At this stage of the season I wasn’t going to find a Michelin-starred establishment that put the ‘F’ onto foraging.
I bussed it to Flam (pronounced Flom), an incredibly pretty town arrived at after driving in a winding way through blessed countryside, up hill and down dales. Flam is in a UNESCO World Heritage listed habitat. The community here incorporates a handful of riches: one of Norway’s top attractions, the Flam Railway; the Flam Railway Museum; the historic Fretheim Hotel; the boutique Heimly guest house; the Toget restaurant and Cafe; the Fjords Ferry Company and Aurland Shoe Factory (selling rather spiffy, bespoke penny loafers).
And there are some rather spectacular bodies of water that took my breath away. Comiong from a flat earth kind of city, anywhere with towering mountains and steep cliffs takes my ‘squeals of delight’ to a loud and high pitched scream.
From Flam I took a ferry on the Geirangerfjord to the end of the line. The wonderful deep water Geirangerfjord is a fjord in the Sunnmore region of More og Romsdal county and is a15km-long banch off the Sunnylvsfjorden which is a branch off Storfjorden. The tiny village of Geiranger is at the end of the trip and it was from there I caught a bus back to the seaside city of Trondheim.
Being the end of the season it was a relaxed cruise with just a few passengers and a crew ready to take a break. The waterfalls were still in full roaring flight (I would love to see the crazy spring gush of water here). The waterfalls all have names and stories and way, way up on top of the cliffs there was evidence of modest farms. These holding are now deserted and the Norse Gods would be the only ones to know how they were built and raised goats, farmyard animals, birds and children. The story goes, and it has to be true, that children were tethered safely so they didn’t fall down the sides of these mighty crystalline rock walls that nature has given the appearance of a location for a gruesome fairytale.
It’s a chill wind that blows some good through your hair!
The ferries here are stealthy and run quietly across the glassy waters of the world’s grandest fjords – nature’s finest.
When Norway is on your travel ticket make sure you indulge yourself on the Flam Railway, stay in Flam and try to cruise all the extraordinary, stupendous fjords (and book for dinner early so you don’t have to eat hot chips in less that Scandifabulous locations)
The writer Bev Malzard flew from Sydney to Copenhagen with Thai International Airways.
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