This day was a doozy! Filled with going from one place to the next, we traveled through "Norway in a Nutshell" to get a little taste of the Fjords we had heard so much about. Going this route allowed us to take in a lot of sights in a very short amount of time. While I understand the value of spreading this journey out and enjoying each location a bit more-even staying in one of the many locations-I think for our family with the time we had allotted, it was perfect.
We woke up early and headed to the train station in Bergen. We had a 6:55 Train to catch from Bergen to Myrdal. We found it no issue (it was the only train available) and boarded. We settled in on the right sight because I had read a tip that suggested it was the more scenic side. It was a helpful clue and we saw some beautiful sights.
The train was relatively empty and midway through they stopped at a sweet little pit stop in Voss. Just enought time to use the toilets, grab some coffee and try on a few viking hats. Then we were on our way again. Once we arrived in Myrdal, it was a quick transfer to the Flåm train. This train station had much to offer for scenery with mountains in the background. I loved it. For this train, be sure to sit on the LEFT as a lot of the sights are beautiful and you'll find yourself walking over if you dont. It stopped at a beautiful waterfall called Kjosfassen and let the passengers hop out. It is wild and fun. A quick stop and then you board again to arrive in Flåm.
We really enjoyed Flåm. We hiked over to some picnic tables and a beach, where we let the kids play for a good long while. They were wading in the water and playing with sand while we took in the beautiful surroundings. We then grabbed a bite to eat, and walked a bit more through the stores. We had a four hour time slot to enjoy Flåm which was a wise move on Ben's part (he suggested getting some down time there.) We then boarded the boat -which was our absolute favorite part.
The whole tour was pretty empty. This made moving about the boat and the trains a breeze. This is definitely one perk of going during off season.
The one thing that was overwhelming was the fact that some of the tourists who were on the boat were really wild about Eowyn. This is pretty normal for us -Eowyn get's pictures taken here a lot by tour groups because of her curls and such. I was a bit more surprised this time however as there were women who were actually kind of aggressive. A few times they actually grabbed her and pulled her over for pictures. We had a talk with Eowyn about saying ''no' if she didn't want to have pictures taken anymore. She tried to say no at one point and they ignored/didn't understand so Ben and I sort of body guarded her and carted her around the boat.
Thankfully, A man from the group walked up to us and told me he would speak mandarin if needed to tell everyone let us be. I'm sure over 100 pictures were taken of Eowyn. Eowyn felt pretty special and didn't seem to mind and at one point even started dancing. She's a performer, that girl.
We then hopped on a bus with a french tour group and everyone left as entirely alone (Ha! Cultural differences are excentuated in such small spaces of time) . The train back to Bergen was a commuter train and even had a compartment for children with a play area-the perfect way to spend two hours. We were grateful.
We slept well that night.
For those who want to go on Norway in a Nutshell....
You can buy your tickets online, then they'll send you them in the mail. This is nice because then you dont have to try and find a place to pick them up (also an option.) To set expectations: this isn't a tour with a tourguide-it's more like just buying tickets in bulk. This is our style of travelling anyways, so it worked well for us.
With the tickets, the train ticket master (conductor? Ticket wizard?) comes around and punches your ticket for each leg of the trip. The tickets are all held in a nice little packet. I'd recommend printing off your itinerary that you will receive via email vs trying to read the times off the tickets. I saw SEVERAL people getting it wrong and after standing in line. There was a lot of feelings coming out- frusterated to hear they don't leave for another hour, confusion at not knowing when they ought to be going from one place to the next.
You can also buy all (the train, the boat, the bus) tickets separately on your own. I have had friends do this and I have read that it may be a more affordable option. I didn't even think to look into this option, but I was pleased with the route we went.
In Bergen, you go to the Train station for the train. I know this is intuitive but I was wanting an actual address, and it's not given. So-if you leave from Bergen, you'll leave via the train at the train station.
From Bergen to Myrdal ride on the RIGHT SIDE for the best views
On the Flåm Railway ride on the LEFT SIDE.
Stroller friendly? Totally.
For the Flåm railway they actually put our stroller in a luggage compartment-we didn't have to fold it up. But we did have to ask a conductor. For the Bergen Railway we found the car that has a pram sign on it. For the Bus we folded it and they placed it under.
On the train back our seats were reserved, this was in the kid's car which is very pram friendly. We didn't specify, Norway in a nutshell just did this. Our actual seats were being taken (I dont think anyone realized they were reserved, no mind as we just stayed in a play place and sat next to our stroller.)
The boat is very large and has plenty of room. We road in the " New boat." Not sure what the difference is in niceties-it was just leaving at a more prefered time for us.
Food & Toilets: There is food available at Voss, where you stop on the first leg about an hour in as are restrooms/toilets. There is also food available on the boat and in Flåm . Otherwise-bring snacks. Toilets are on the trains from Bergen and to Bergen, on the boat and in Flåm.
Kid friendly? The boat ride is fantastic. Our kids loved it. The rest is similar to trying to entertain kids on a roadtrip. There are some beautful sites that can be enjoyed by all, but our kids weren't keen on staring out the window for two hours. Bring a bit of entertainment, then let them run around in Flåm. There's a playground geard for older kids and there is a big beach to play. We brought our rain suits and lots of extra clothes. The kids were good and dirty after it and we used up all their extra clothing. A good, fun time indeed.