Saturday, May 30, 2009
Today was another big travel day. I had a six hour bus ride from Flåm to Lillehammer (site of the '94 Winter Olympics.)
I was expecting to do a lot of sleeping on the bus, but no dice. The scenery was absolutely stunning, to such an extent that the 6 hour ride went by startlingly fast. (Fast is an adverb now. Really!) One of the first things I got to experience on the ride was a trip through the longest tunnel in the world, which connects Aurland to Laerdal. The tunnel is 24.5 kilometers long, and is quite a feat of engineering!
After we passed through Laerdal (with similar scenery to Flåm and Aurland), the next hour of the trip occurred along some incredible whitewater. To my right, there were deadly rapids, and to my left, a green meadow overlooked by snow-topped mountains. In the second half of the trip, we drove around an enormous lake which perfectly reflected the mountains above it. Unfortunately, that was when my batteries died. So no pictures from the bus ride.
The last hour or so we drove through a dense evergreen forest, with Norwegian pines stretching all the way to the horizon in both directions. When we pulled into Lillehammer, I could hardly believe that it had been 6 hours. I trudged up a steep hill with all my gear and checked into my hotel. I guess I was rewarded for booking early... because I have my own shower and bathroom! A first, and certainly the only time I'll have this luxury on the trip. Apparently this is a huge holiday weekend in Norway, which explains why every room type at the HI hostel here was booked two months in advance...
Tomorrow I have another long day, at the end of which I arrive in Stryn.
The weather today was incredible; 70 degrees and no clouds. I did get a few parting pictures of Flåm before I left this morning:
Panorama looking into town
Raging river heading into the Sognefjord