May 16, 2023
The morning following an overnight cruise brought us up the Sognefjord, the longest fjord in Norway, to Flåm, a small village at the head of Aurlandsfjord, a branch off of Sognefjord. We had imagined fjords to be narrow with steep rock walls. The reality did not quite measure up to the drama we’d expected but was beautiful, to be sure.
The village of Flåm, with a population on only about 350, boasts some of the best natural attractions in Europe and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Norway. We boarded a bus for a tour beginning with the dramatic Stegastein viewing platform. The first bit of drama, though was a three-mile long highway tunnel immediately followed by a seven mile long tunnel the, together, point out the difficulty of building modern roads in this part of the world.
The viewing platform juts out high above the Aurlandsfjord and, besides the views and some pretty flowers, features an old, WWII gun emplacement that overlooks the fjord.
Along our route, we stopped to view a nice waterfall.
We visited a church in nearby Undredal that is one of the 28 remaining stave churches in Norway and is supposedly the smallest church in Scandinavia still in use. The structure is believed to date back to 1147. A stave church is a medieval wooden Christian church building once common in north-western Europe. The name derives from the building’s structure of post and lintel construction, a type of timber framing where the load-bearing posts are called stafr in Old Norse or stav in modern Norwegian.