Road to London 2022, Norway, Fjords, Bergen
Driving out of Alesund on our way to Bergen, we stopped by Mount Aksla. Panoramic views of the city and bay below were just the start, and we were looking for yet another scenic day in prospect. Alesund is the gateway to the majestic Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Western Norway is home to some of the biggest and most breathtaking fjords in the world. The drive to Bergen had fjords, rivers, lakes, mountains, and bridges galore. One of the engineering marvels we passed through was the Lærdal Tunnel. At 24.51 km, it is the longest road tunnel in the world with a roundabout inside, SOS emergency numbers every 250 metres, and excellent fresh air vent systems in place. The drive through fjord country is truly special, and a notch higher than parts of Canada, New Zealand and South America that one has driven through.
Driving into Bergen felt like coming back into a city, after a week of driving through rugged terrain. Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen is the epicenter of fjord tourism. Surrounded by mountains and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest fjords, Bergen is a great base to explore Norway’s natural beauty. And nothing encapsulates it better than the “Norway in a Nutshell” itinerary which gives a flavor of Norway’s stunning natural beauty and way of life in one day. However, there are options for staying a few nights at Flam.
The journey begins by rail from Bergen to Myrdal station (on the way to Oslo). From there, we boarded another train, which takes visitors on a steep climb and scenic alpine views; the one-hour ride ascended 2,833 ft in 20 km, passing through 20 tunnels crossing cascading waterfalls and dairy farms en route. An idyllic small village, Flam is the gateway to three beautiful fjords, including Sognefjord, before visitors get off at Gudvangen on their way back to Bergen via Voss. This also opened up three modes of transport – train, road and ferry – in a perfectly curated tour.
Back in Bergen, we explored the city, once the maritime trade hub dominated by Germans. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Bryggen, “The Hanseatic Wharf”, is the most obvious remnant from the time Bergen used to be the centre of trade. The colourful waterfront architecture, the iconic fish market, and cobbled stone alleys leading into the surrounding hills make this a riveting experience. One of the most popular activities here is taking the Floibanen funicular up the hill to Floyen to get a bird’s eye view of Bergen waterfront areas and the surrounding mountains. Many opt to hike down to the city through well-marked forested paths.
The most scenic country on the Road to London leg came to an end in Oslo, where the group got an opportunity to meet the Indian Ambassador to Norway – Shri B. Bala Bhaskar at his residence. An engrossing 2-hour conversation with him marked a fitting finale to our Norway experience. His parting note was enlightening: “History comes out of books written by people like you who travel and experience life along the world routes up close.”
To read the complete Road to London 2022 blog series click here
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