Start of Sognefjord in a Nutshell

Thursday, August 16, 2012
Balestrand, Western Fjords, Norway
Another early start to catch our train to Myrdal at 8:11am. Said our goodbyes to our hostess Desiree who has a tradition of having her guest's flag in the room which was nice.

Got to the station with plenty of time to get some supplies . First leg was about 5 hours and it was very scenic, passing small picturesque villages and bodies of water at the start but then spectacular water and mountain scenery with snow-capped peaks towards the end as we got higher to our first destination Myrdal. The five hours went very quickly with so much to see.

At Myrdal we had just a 30 minute wait to board the famous Flam railway which snakes itself 20kms from Myrdal at 866m above sea level down to Flam at 2m above sea level. This was also a very scenic train trip. At Flam we had a 60 minute wait for the final leg express boat to Balestrand where we will stay for 2 nights. The scenery in this area of Norway is fantastic as we had expected.

We then walked up to the The Kringsja Hotel which is the International Youth hostel. We met a nice American couple on the boat, Jay and Suzanne and they were staying at the famous Kviknes Hotel but that was way out of our price range so I got a private room at this Youth hostel . To our surprise, the room we got is fantastic and we have a balcony that overlooks the fjord, it feels like we’re in an expensive hotel room, so a really good choice.

We asked for a restaurant recommendation and the young man at the front desk was very helpful as is everybody we have met so far and he recommended a restaurant called Ciderhuset (Cider House). It is out of town a bit and said it was about a 15 minute walk and he booked us in for 6:30. With the speed we’ve walking at we decided to allow ourselves 30 minutes but we were still late because we walked right past the turn-off and ended up walking twice as far, but the plus side was that we actually did the heritage walk so we won’t have to worry about doing that now. We made it eventually about 20 minutes late but the effort was worth it. Another great view from our table and our most expensive meal to date plus we splurged and had entrees as well because the setting was so nice. The quality of the food was great so well worth the expense. We got served very quickly because they were expecting a big group but they never rushed us and were very polite and friendly (as usual).

Then we meandered back to our hotel stopping at the two burial mounds of Viking warriors with one having a statute of a Viking which was donated by Willem II of Germany who spent many holidays in Balestrand. An early night as we were both pretty tired and have another early start tomorrow.
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