And now… it’s part two of my weekend adventure to Evanger/Voss and Flåm/Aurland, if you missed part one, you can check it out here, “Study Break: Regional Travels Part 1, Voss”, or skip right to the wonders of Aurland. I say the wonders of Aurland because I felt like it was the clear winner of my and my travel buddy’s weekend, although it seems Flåm is much more popular.
The ~8km road between Flåm and Aurland is walkable… but we didn’t do it. Photo: Stand Hiestand
Second leg of the trip: Flåm/Aurland
Don’t get me wrong, Flåm is extremely beautiful, has many nearby hikes, and probably a lot more to see in the local area, especially if you have a car or another form of transport. Flåm’s new center is quite small, however, and can be packed with tourists from the cruise ships that disembark in the harbor. As we were trying to save money by making our own food, I didn’t check out the prices at the many food-truck style, grab-n-go restaurants (although they did smell tempting), but we did check out one of the other microbreweries I featured in my post, “Study Break: Beer”: Flåm Ægyr.
Ægyr’s Brewpub has the interior of a Viking fantasy complete with wood-hewn… everything. Rustic wooden furnishings, a central fireplace, a “Viking-inspired menu” (also did not have the money to try this, alas), and excellent beers (including my favorite Norwegian stout), it is definitely worth visiting if you go marauding in Flåm.
The red door welcomes you to Flåm Ægyr Brewpub. Photo: Stand Hiestand
Flåm Old Town Center
We took a walk (about 7km roundtrip) to the old town center of Flåm, still visibly damaged by flooding, to see the church there. Unfortunately, the church was closed, as it had also been impacted by the flood. The setting was still quite spectacular, although apparently the walk from Flåm to Aurland (about 8km one way) had the scenery to beat. While our bags prevented this trek, I believe the hype, because Aurland was spectularly gorgous.
We stayed in Aurland (making the trek in mainly by bus) in our own cabin by the river. The cabin’s hot plate provided a way to cook our dinner, but otherwise the cabin was pretty primitive – no bathroom or running water inside (but there were some on the campgrounds). Almost like a real Norwegian hytte (cabin)! We enjoyed our meal on the porch which looked out at the sheep grazing across the river at the base of the mountain. Relaxing, picturesque, very Norwegian-feeling.
I would have liked a lot more time, and an uninjured back in order to explore Aurland properly, as it was we had to catch a boat back to Bergen. We only had a couple hours in town, not enough for a hike up to the overlook, but just enough to find a little food in the only open cafe in the early afternoon on a Sunday (*note though, that this will only be true in the summer season, in winter it too will be closed Sundays). The fact that it happened to be completely delicious local organic goodness was a huge bonus.
Marianne bakery & cafe
Marianne bakery & cafe seems to be a family-owned bakery and cafe. The stock is full of local treats, such as the most amazing homemade jam I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve made my own myself), local cheeses, delightful breads, and excellent sandwiches. We ended up buying more items to take home with us. The waffle was maybe the best I’d ever tasted in Norway (a country serious about its waffles), and the pizza bolle (pizza roll) I took to go was definitely the tastiest I’d had. This cafe, while its offerings may be simple, is one of those treasures that really gives you the idea of the flavor of a place. If you are in town, you should definitely go.
Marianne bakery & cafe
Odden 2, 5745 Aurland
Last leg: The journey home to Bergen
To return to Bergen we boarded a Nordled express boat that swept us through Sognefjord. The views going through the fjord were imposing and lovely. Norled has ‘fjord cruises’ but in my experience the cruises are really their commuter boats with a set schedule. You can easily control your own schedule and your expectations more effectively by booking it as the passenger ferry service that it is. While Nordled’s boats are fast it is still a long journey (over 5 hours) through what Nordled’s website dubs the ‘the king of the fjords’ (Sognefjord is the longest fjord in Norway). Highly recommended!
Sognefjord gorgeousness. Photo: Stand Hiestand
Get a taste of the boat experience yourself (the spectacular-ness of Sognefjord starts around minute 8 and Aurland is around minute 9). Video from: https://www.norled.no/en/fjordcruise/sognefjorden-bergen-to-flaam/