On the Flåmside

“So sick, so sick of being tired
And oh so tired of being sick.”
– You Know How I Do, Taking Back Sunday

Writing a post for this blog is always a retrospective exercise. Having been inactive for nearly three months — that’s already a quarter of the year — there is indeed much to reminisce on.

In the past three months, there has been a death in the family, bittersweet and awkward — but some also enjoyable — reunions, and many first meetings. Not to mention the traveling — lots and lots of it. Since I left Cambridge on the third week of June, I’d been to London, Paris, Giverny, Copenhagen, Malmö, Stockholm, Oslo, Finse, Myrdal, Flåm, Gudvangen, Voss, Singapore, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and there’s still more to cover in these coming months.

I have yet to write about my travels here — or anywhere else for that matter — but for now I just wanted to publish my offering for Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge themed ‘Zigzag’ this week. This is my first contribution in months so I am actually quite excited to be writing and posting photos again for this challenge. Et voilà la photo:

Flåm

                              Flåm

I took this photo when I was on the Flåmsbana heading down from Myrdal to the Flåm Valley. The train ride lasted only an hour, but the entire journey was breathtaking. The Myrdal station is situated about 1000m above sea level, so it was a long — and at times steep — descent to Flåm. From the window I saw waterfalls cascading down, and a lone road zigzagging downwards to the small town in the valley below. The whole valley was covered in trees, and the water in the stream flowing through the town is so unnaturally blue and crystal clear, I could actually see the rocks beneath the water from a distance.  

When I first got off the train in Oslo after a seven-hour journey from Stockholm, I was quite unimpressed by the 70s architecture of the buildings in the city, the unexciting royal palace, and the sheer size of the city. This, I asked myself, is the most expensive city to live in the world? If I’d bought a place in that city, I wouldn’t know what I paid extra for. 

Coincidentally, a friend of mine posted a photo she took in Flåm and I immediately felt intrigued. Of course — the fjords! That’s what Norway has always been famous for! In fact I did want to join a tour of the fjords around Oslo, but an online reviewer said it was “more like a tour around the bay than a tour of the fjords.” That was when I decided I had to get outta town. And so I embarked on an 18-hour day trip that took me on a bus, train, and boat tour from Oslo – Myrdal – Flåm – Gudvangen – Voss – Oslo. If I’d been able to afford a little more time I would’ve gone straight to Bergen, which I hear is also breathtaking, but this trip was strenuous enough. I was, in fact, flying to Cambridge the following day and was already looking forward to being back in my own apartment, my own bed, and have a super long shower in my own bathroom. 

My summer trip this year lasted approximately two weeks, but I couldn’t imagine it going any longer than that. I had so much on my mind to think about, and I needed to commence fieldwork urgently (that is, get out of Cambridge asap). My packing still needed to be finalized; I still had some last minute shopping to do, and much paperwork to sort out before I left. I don’t know how some people can stay on the road for months at a time. How do they deal with their commitments at home? 

That’s something for me to ponder on during my next trip, I suppose. 

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