Layer upon layer upon layer

This morning was one of the coldest October days since the woman at the Fjord Safari counter could remember and we were booked on the Fjord Safari tour…..  which is this fast, open boat that scoots up and down the fjords.

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We thought we’d be ok with what we had on, but no……

I was wearing for following items:
* thermal legs
* jeans
* thermal pants worn over own jeans (given by Fjord Safari people)
* singlet
* marino long sleeve top
* fleece vest
* thermal hoody (given by Fjord Safari people)
* fleece hoody
* outer wind breaker jacket
* floatation suit
* beanie
* gloves (own)
* gloves woolen inners (given by Fjord Safari people)
* gloves canvas outer (given by Fjord Safari people)
* thermal socks
* boots
* goggles (given by Fjord Safari people)

And… at minus degrees and travelling at 30 knots – I was still cold.

As we were getting ALL the clothes on, Me Jenny was sitting on the bench ramming her leg into the floatation suit and she was just about to say “I don’t think this is going to fit” when the man popped over and said “I think that’s an arm”  Bess him for being so kind – “I think….” He KNEW it was an arm and 7 layers down – I was wetting my pants – hilarious!  All dressed up and this is what we looked like!

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We were told by our tour bloke and boat driver that we were both very brave for coming to Norway in October because it’s generally raining and he also said we were super lucky because yesterday and today were the first clear & dry days in ages and if it had rained yesterday it would have been all misty today and we wouldn’t have seen much…. but today, besides the subzero temps, the conditions were absolutely perfect!

Flam is situated at the end of the Aurlandsfjord…

Facts about the Aurlandsfjord:

  • The Aurlandsfjord is a part of the World Heritage area surrounding the Nærøyfjord
  • It is a 17-kilometer arm of the world’s second longest fjord, the Sognefjord (204 km)
  • It is surrounded by high mountains that reaches heights of over 1,400 metres
  • The fjord is considered to be one of the most picturesque fjords in the world

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I couldn’t take many photos because it was just too hard to get my phone out of my pocket and I was too busy thinking about how I was going to switch my brain to believe that the freezing cold burning sensation that I was feeling was actually that of a warm sensation…. something I did not master in the 2 hours, but we did stop at some lovely spots and I took the gloves off when I could.

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This village was the initial inspiration for the movie Frozen.  There are about 60 people who live here permanently and about 600 goats – you can find some of them in the houses – the goats, not the people…. although the people can probably be found in there as well!

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This house at the top of the hill was first built 600 years ago.  There is no road access to the property and it’s a 4 day hike in from the nearest road, so the quickest way to get to the property is to climb from the jetty below.  The original owner apparently scouted along the fjords for some farming land and as flat land is fairly hard to come by in these parts, he noticed a bit of a plateau, climbed up and claimed it as his own.  The current  owners bought it in 1990, renovated the house and lived there quite self sufficiently with their veggie patch and assortment of mountain animals and they installed a ladder to get up and down, but then when their 2 children, who were born up there, reached school age, they moved a little closer to a town and now the house is a hotel…. You can rent it out!  They’ve since removed the ladder, and have made a sort of a walking track that goes in a zig zag pattern across the face of the mountain – and you’d have to carry your own luggage…. and – there is a 3 year waiting list!

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This is where you would be dropped off and picked up again and where the trek with your suitcase would begin…..  I’d say that’s a good 45° angle – good luck with that.

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There were more beautiful waterfalls which we could get right up close and personal in the little boat compared to the ferry.

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Our guide said that he has seen all sorts of marine life in the fjords – killer whales, porpoises, otters…. and seals.  At first I couldn’t quite see where they were because they were the same colour as the rocks, but then they moved.  This is their version of basking in the sun…. when there is no sun!

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After about an hour of the 2 hour cruise I’d had enough of the cold, but with little else I could do, I sat tight and wiggled my toes for fear of frostbite, but getting off was quite welcomed.

Our little town of Flam was simply stunning when we returned – the frost had melted and the sun had given it a little bit of warmth and so we walked every inch of it to take it all in while we tried to soak up some of the sunshine.

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One side of the river seems to be mostly tourist centred, but then on the other side there is a small enclave of houses where I guess people live permanently.

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There are even beach volleyball courts for when you feel the need.

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and when you feel another need….

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Isn’t Me Jenny as pretty as a picture?

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We had just finished taking this picture and were headed back to the village when a woman started calling out to us in a language we didn’t recognise.  “English?” we asked. “Yes, you will take my photo.” she replied.  She was from Pakistan but raised somewhere – we didn’t recognise the name – and really it was irrelevant to the topic at hand. It was her first time in Norway and she appeared to be on her own, so I obliged and we walked all the way back to this same spot.  I took 3-4 shots of varying angles and closeness and handed her back the phone.  “Are they ok?” I asked  “No, take more.  I will sit here and you stand over there.” was her reply as she thrusted the phone back at me and pointed to where she wanted me to stand – which, by the way, was on a rock precariously balanced on the edge of the water.  I thought the photos I’d taken were good, but she said “get me with the nature here.” indicated behind her – which is exactly what I had done in the first lot, and where else was I going to put the ‘nature’?  Anyway, after about 3 rounds of shots, the photo shoot was over when I handed her back the phone and said “that will do.”  There was no ‘thank you’, and there was no “would you like me to take your photo?”  That was it – our interaction was over.

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And whilst I was being held hostage by this woman, Me Jenny practised her skimming skills.

The water is so crystal clear, even the ducks can’t believe their luck – lucky ducks!

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We continued our journey around the village working out where we would need to go for our train ride tomorrow…

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Marvelling at the beautiful scenery across the  water…

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Then it was back to one of Europe’s oldest, historic pubs….

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for a couple of quieties by the fire.

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And then….. nap time!

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