After our do-nothing day, we spent the morning walking around the little town of Flam trying to kill time before our kayak outing in the early afternoon.
The kayaking was a nice and peaceful 2 hour passage through the Fjords of Flam. It was a three-hour tour, but the first hour was spent going over safety procedures and getting all of our gear on. I’d never gone through so much for a kayak trip before. These guys were legit. After the first hour, we were left with one hour to venture out together, and one hour to head back in. I can’t remember our guide’s name, but it was her last tour before returning home to Oregon.
Since I was alone, I got partnered up with a blonde 20-something finance worker who hailed from Holland, was raised in Florida, and now lives in New York City. We were both pretty easygoing, so we got along swimmingly.
I was given the honours of sitting in the back of the kayak, which meant that I had to steer the rudder. This was another first for me with a kayak. I’d never been in a kayak with a rudder before. It sound simple enough. There are two pedals in the kayak by your feet. Push on the left one, and the kayak veers left; push on the right one, and you’ll veer right. Easy, right? Except that at first, rowing and steering the rudder felt like patting my head and rubbing my belly at the same time. AND the thing was super sensitive. If the pedals were even slightly not even, you’d start to veer one way or the other. The end result was that rather than propel ourselves forward in a straight line, we moved more in a zig zag. Thankfully, most of the pairs had the same problem as us, so we didn’t feel so bad. It actually gave us a few laughs along the way.
By the time the tour was done, everybody was soaked to the bone, despite the best attempts by our wet suits and water skirts to keep us dry.
The guide gave us a bit of cool information along the way, but not too much; it was more about enjoying the scenery around us. For example, the town of Flam where we stayed isn’t really the real Flam. That place was built strictly for tourists. The actual town of Flam was a bit of a hike away behind some mountains.
She also mentioned a boat that had ties to the second World War. Apparently the Germans had attacked a group of Norwegian ships because they were convinced there were spies aboard. One ship got away, but the Germans followed it in order to find the spies. The people of Flam weren’t too happy about this, so they banded some people together to welcome the Germans, got them liquored up, and blew up the boat! She claims it’s a true story, but I can’t seem to find anything online to confirm this. Pretty cool story, though!
The last interesting thing I took away from her tour was that there was a part of one of the mountains with a crack in it, and the crack is apparently getting bigger and bigger. At the moment, it’s big enough to fit a canoe. Apparently scientists are watching it very carefully. It’s a big enough concern that people are no longer permitted to build in Flam because of concern about if/when the mountain will crack. If it does, it’ll result in a huge tsunami that will destroy all of Flam. So don’t go buying property in Flam anytime soon.
After the tour, Trevor and I had a couple hours before our train ride to Vatnahalsen. (It took me ages to learn how to spell and pronounce that one.)
We spent our time at a Viking-themed pub called the Aegir Microbrewery, where I had the best pulled pork of my life. I’ve been adding to this little list over several years now. Best pizza of my life: Naples. Best burger of my life: Blue cheese and Portobello mushroom burger in Sausalito, San Francisco. Best duck of my life: Tiny little random restaurant in Daegu, South Korea. Now I can add best pulled pork of my life: Aegir Microbrewery in Flam, Norway. These are dishes that will never be contested. No duck ever has, or ever will, live up to that duck in Daegu. No burger will ever take me one hour to finish because I wanted to savour each and every last little bite. I’m still waiting to find the best burrito of my life though…
Anywho, we got on our train, which also earned itself the title: Best train ride of my life. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time as we rode through these mountains. It was stunning. Just before Vatnahalsen, the train stopped at a giant waterfall so everybody could get off and take a picture.
Once we got to Vatnahalsen, I stupidly spent over an hour walking around looking for a place to set up camp for the night, but I couldn’t find a good spot for us that wasn’t all muddy and wet. I finally found a perfect spot, but it was on somebody’s lawn. I knocked on the door, and a very friendly (maybe Swedish?) woman opened the door. She said she wouldn’t mind if we camped there, but the property was actually a part of the hotel by the train station, so we’d have to ask their permission. We trudged back to ask at the hotel, and they explain that there was a camping area about fifteen minutes away.
Unfortunately, we’d already walked partially this way, and it was not an easy fifteen minutes. It was quite the inclined walk.
We made our way anyway, and enjoyed a lovely, though chilly night by a waterfall. The water was delicious 🙂