Mountain biking and hiking in the land of fjords, glaciers, wild flowers, and Vikings. Fjord boats, railways on mountainsides, and your legs, carry you over every conceivable terrain.
Day 1: Oslo to Finse. Start off on the Oslo-Bergen railway, an engineering marvel. It draws a line across some of the world's harshest mountains, culminating in eternal snows at 4,000ft., on the same latitude as Fairbanks, Alaska. Go for a glacier walk, read the polar bear warnings, retreat hurriedly to the hotel lobby for a hot chocolate. (0-15km)
Day 2: With newly acquired trail bikes (gearing designed to outrun polar bears), we set off on our trip towards Flåm. Today’s ride follows the original railroad’s construction trail, a dirt road built at the beginning of the century to allow supplies to reach the track-laying sites. The railroad itself is generally nowhere to be seen, since over the years cut-offs and tunnels have gradually weatherproofed the line.
Blue Marble’s coordinators, with ample material for comparison, are unanimous in singing the praises of this wild and beautiful landscape, which we find one of Europe’s most extraordinary. Mountains, lakes, waterfalls and glaciers vie for your attention. Our destination is a cozy hotel near Myrdal, at the head of the fjord leading down to Flåm. (40km)
Day 3: We start out this morning with a train ride through a huge tunnel. You could try biking through, but you’d never be seen again. When you exit the tunnely, you are in the mountain village of Upsete (they’re upsete because they’re tired of riff-raff like us spitting out of their tunnel). We now have a lovely ride down the mountain to Voss, virtually at sea level. Part way along the track becomes a road, then houses start to appear.
Voss will amaze. Gawk at modern conveniences like stores (it's a couple of days since you've seen one). And don't miss the folk museum. An interesting display of Norwegian farmhouse rooms from the 12th through the 19th century clearly illustrates that Norway spent this time trying to stay warm, then invented central heating, and suddenly became the most advanced nation on the planet. Train back up the mountain to Myrdal at your leisure. (50km)
Day 4: Today’s trip is one that attracts tourists from all over the world. But most of them do it by train. A crazy mountain railway descends the gorge to Flåm, at the head of the spectacular Sognefjord, Norway’s longest. The gorge is so deep that climate changes from top to bottom, as you will discover when you cycle down. Gingerly walk your bike to the head of the Flåm valley, and start down to the fjord. If the track is snowbound (it can be - this is not a joke), we replace the first third of the ride with some biking down in the valley, along the water. When we reach Flåm, it is time to bid farewell to the bikes. A country bus takes us away from the water, and to a peaceful dale in the mountains, which we will use as our base camp for the hiking portion of our trip. (30k)
Day 5: As much or as little hiking as you please today, over interesting and varied terrain. Peat bogs, fir forests, paths along rocky streams, and mountain vistas wherever you look… There is a road in the bottom of the dale, and a country bus that bumbles along it a few times a day. So bus out and hike back. Or hike out and bus back. Or bus out, hike back until you get tired, and then hop the bus. Or just ride around on the bus all day. But you could have done that back in Oslo. (Variable km)
Day 6: Today is a bit more challenging. The route we choose enters the deepest part of the ravine, and the road is nowhere near, preferring to burrow tunnels into the rock. Follow the gorge downstream, past waterfalls and below dramatic cliffs. An athletic trek, but the path is well marked, and in time you will reach the broader valley that becomes the fjord. Whoever finds the most picturesque picnic spot gets 5 happiness points. (Variable km)
Day 7: An early morning, but the pain will be well-rewarded. A ferryboat takes us down the Sognefjord and then up the Næroyfjord, Norway’s narrowest, and one of her most spectacular. Kick back and watch the scenic splendor unfold around you. And best of all, you’re sitting, and not putting unnatural stresses on your ankles. From Gudvangen, home to the world's biggest sweater shop relative to populaton, we catch a bus to Voss. The bus ride, though brief, still manages to be a hair-raising affair, in which a vehicle the size of the New Zealand fits onto a road you would have trouble navigating on your bike. Our trip disbands upon arrival at the Voss station.
- Bike rental included!
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