Day 164 Bergen to Flam, Norway.

Today we headed out of Bergen, and off to explore the Western Fjords. Although not far as the crow flies, the route was pretty tortuous, winding it’s way alongside fjords, and through so many long tunnels that I lost count. We stopped briefly in Voss for coffee, a town renowned for adventure sports. As we arrived one guy was down at the fjord’s edge with a sky-diving parachute, presumably having already done his dive.

We then headed on to Flam, stopping briefly at the end of Naeroyfjord, the narrowest fjord in Europe. It is a branch of the larger Sojnefjord, and at it’s narrowest point is only 250 metres across, framed by towering 1200 metre cliffs on either side. We arrived at our campsite in Flam shortly after three, when campervans were arriving thick and fast. In fact, the terraced campsite was so busy, that one of the employees was cycling around on his bicycle, directing people to their pitches. We were positioned rather closer than I would have chosen to a Big White, but at least the view made up for it – towering mountains and the end of the Aurlandsfjord.

Having arrived in good time, we opted to take a boat trip along Aurlandsfjord and down the narrow Naeroyfjord to Gudvangen, and then return by shuttle bus. Unbeknown to us, this is part of the ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ trip, so rather than have a quiet afternoon’s cruise along the fjord, we were suddenly joined by hoards of tourist groups. I tried my hardest to enjoy the scenery – which was sublime – but it became increasingly hard to blot out the constant flow of people pushing me out of the way to take the nth selfie of themselves, or to avoid the decibel breaking cackle of three American women, who spent so much time chatting, that I don’t think they barely looked up to absorb the wonderful view. Sat opposite us, was an elderly Japanese couple, who like us, tried their utmost to ignore the general rabble – but I could see that they were also disappointed with their crew mates. Individually, I’m sure all these people are charming, but once they get together in large groups, their behaviour seems to change. I’m quite sure that the Brits en masse are no better, and I am well aware that I am  a tourist also, but I am becoming increasingly intolerant of large organised groups. Howard says I must just chill, and stop taking photos of people taking selfies, just for my own amusement, but I can’t help how I feel. I suspected this may happen, having had Europe virtually to ourselves for the first three months of our trip. We had become spoilt  – we even wandered through the streets of Pompeii alone!

Back in Flam, down by the fjord-side, a large group of locals were having a mid-summer’s celebration. A local brass band were gathered, and family groups were enjoying a drink and a hot dog, listening to the music, whilst a huge bonfire was lit at the water’s edge. We watched for a while, then wandered back to the campsite.

After tea, we treated ourselves to a chocolate and banana crepe, on sale in the little garden cafe by the campsite – yummy! Tomorrow we plan to take the Flamsbana train up the mountain. For now, I have turned my angst from large groups of tourists to large groups of biting insects, and am waging war on them with my new electric shock bat. I suspect I may be losing the plot!

 

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