How lucky can one be? Personally, I feel blessed.
7.30. I step out of my room, stretch out, breath in. The waterfall up the mountain is growing; I can see the difference in 3 days only. Probably the reason why the ‘’orange level’’ for avalanches is maintained. I have seen one on my first day here, or to be more accurate I heard one. I thought it was thunder, but the sky was clear. Looking up, I spot it. Few meters away from the path where I was walking earlier, a small flow of brownish snow was on the move. Well, good timing.
Bit before 10.00, all swim-suited up, I step in a kayak with Harry. His wife would have loved to join us but the group is complete, and it is not advised to follow the group by swim. The water is crystal clear, mirror like… looks inviting but it is about 4 to 5 degrees cold.
Paddling up the Fjord is a one of a kind experience. The relaxing music of the paddle entering and moving in the water, the immensity of the fjord opening in front of my eyes, the taste of salt on my lips…
Where we stand, the Fjord is about 300 meters deep. I learn that the height of the cliff is actually the same as the depth of the fjord. The deeper you paddle in the Fjord, the deeper the water. For those who followed, it means the mountains are higher as we get closer to the North Sea.
Contemplating the surrounding, I suddenly feel watched. On top of the cliff, shadows are moving. Sheep! (Again) Every spring, the farmers bring their sheep and goats to Flam’s beach, from where the happy troop can climb up to the cliffs. This valley basically is the Summer Camp for Norwegian sheep. I bet they are having the time of their lives… (Can you picture now the sheep version of Dirty Dancing? I can. I do)
We paddle a little further, getting frustrated trying to take photos of the scenery we are evolving in. This is huge, and yet so peaceful. Those rocks have so many stories to tell for they have seen so much… from the Ice age to the (sad) ballet of touristic ships.
One of my favorite stories takes place during the World War. A ship coming from Rotterdam is on its way to Russia. It is not safe to go any further than the Fjord, so the ship finds shelter in the Flam valley. The crew, not mastering at hide and seek, is about to be found by their enemies who are already bombing around. The inhabitants of Flam, not happy about this battle coming a bit too close to their land will kindly ask the Dutch ship to leave the valley. Few days later, still no sign of departure. Call them as you wish, but the Flam people will come up with what I call a genius plan. (It is a genius plan). They organize a party in the city, and invite the all crew to join them. Once the ship emptied, the dedicated people of Flam drowned the Dutch ship, and with it the shadow of a sea battle at the door of their beloved city. The morning after, most crew members blamed the ship-less view of the bay on their heavy hangover before they could actually believe their eyes. Few went back to where they came from with the train; others stayed here and found a safe place in some softer she-lter.
After two hours of coordinated arms-core exercise, we stop for a sort hike and lunch break. The waterfall we reach (one of the many you can spot on the cliffs all around) creates a cute little lagoon. If it was not 2 degrees cold, I would gladly jump in. My bright yellow bagpack attracts all kind of insects, nature loves me. I am basically Cinderella. Or an evil witch. Or a magic troll connected with the nature.
Heading back to Flam’s beach, we have the sun in our faces. The wind too. Little bit heavier, but it means I will (really) deserve my chocolate snack when we land.
It is only 2 pm when we say goodbye. Erica, our guide today, is from Montreal. Till the last minute, she gives me enthusiastic tips for my trip there in a few days.
Later in the afternoon, I stroll around in the park next to the river. Up and down the hill, the view of the Fjord keeps on changing and I do not get tired of those colors and shapes. The contrast between the bright snow and the dark rocks, the deep blue of the water, the luminous green of the vegetation coming back to life… I can hear sea birds crying for food, sheep singing (you know the song), children running around, and the voice of the Ferry’s captain making the departure announcement.
Tomorrow I will be in Bergen, about which I have already heard some good stories. I have been told where to find good coffee. What else does one need?