Thursday, 21 September 2017

Rauma Railway & Trollstigen Mountains #7 Cruise Diary

Cruising Greenland, Iceland and Norway #7

Continuing my cruise diary...

Thursday 31st August, 2017

Alesund, Norway
By the time we reached the coast of Norway the weather had slightly improved. It was still showery to start with but very much better than the gales of the previous days at sea. Our approach into the fjords of Norway near Alesund was very early in the morning so, being a slugabed, I missed the views. My first sight was of the apartment buildings by the harbour in Alesund.

The tour we had booked was entitled Rauma Railway & Trollstigen Mountains expected to last 8 hours. Everything went according to plan on this tour and we set off by coach along the very pretty route along the Storfjord and into the equally stunning Romsdalsfjord valley. Thankfully any rain was light,  the day mostly dry and even at times a little bit sunny!
near Trollveggan

Our stop at the Trollveggen picnic area was short but the views were stupendous. The mountain tops around are quite spectacularly jagged, Trollveggen being Europe’s tallest vertical, overhanging rock face at 1000 metres high. The thought of climbing up and abseiling down is quite alarming but paragliding (or whatever) from it (now banned by law) was a story I wasn't sure I wanted to hear. 

The tour continued by coach along beautiful valleys to the railway station at Bjorli where we picked up the next Rauma Train (The coach driver’s timing was excellent because we had no more than a 5-10 minute wait which considering the bending single track route we had just driven on was very skilled driving!). The Rauma Railway is a regular train so we struggled to get seats for the approximately 1 hour train ride. The train carriage was very comfortable if not designed to take loads of luggage which must cause some difficulty during the winter months since the area around Bjorli is a busy ski-centre. One other thing to note about the train was the large vending machine between carriage sections which sold drinks and snacks- useful since the train passengers might have come from a lot further away than us.

The Rauma river meanders around the valley floor so attractively with pretty little bridges across it and in some parts it's a stunning green colour. I wanted to come home with some amazing images but ...sadly my view was restricted from the train as I avoided getting shots of the woman opposite and my photographic skills are just not that good.

Rauma River

The ride from Bjorli to Andalsnes was beautiful and gave me a different perspective from the coach ride to Bjorli as the train sometimes crossed the Rauma River. It was very relaxing on the train though photos were hard to take since the speed was probably around 60 or 70 mph in parts.

Our lunch venue in the town of Andalsnes was very efficient the main course a local dish that resembled a meat loaf. The mushroom and stilton soup to start with was very creamy and tasty!
Norwegian Mountaineering Centre, Andalsnes, Norway 
The image above of the Mountaineering Centre was just one of the modern archetectural styled buildings we'd seen on our cruise. I think it looks a bit like a whale from this perspective but it was an incredibly designed building which made a huge impact on the senses.

Back on the coach we journeyed back to Alesund via a slightly different route and passed through many long tunnels which, for the locals, have cut out long sails around the fjords.

Along the  Rauma Road from the Rauma Railway. 

On the way back to Alesund
The tour gave me a really good flavour of the mountainous interior around the area of Alesund, Norway. It was a great way of demonstrating how the road builders, and those who laid the Rauma train track, coped with cutting through the bare rock to shave off a lot of distance and time along the route. None of those measures diminished the grandeur of the valleys we passed through or the fjords we bent around.  

Map indicating the location of a couple of the many tunnels we went through.

I've so many lovely photos but can't include them all here. When I can make more time I'll make new Pinterest boards. 

The Cruise Diary so far:

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