Reading material for those who love the camping life

Text and photo: Magne Reigstad
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 4. September 2014

Wrong sweeping through Flam: A camping gem

Flam and Aurland are villages too many E16 tourists just sweep through, but here you are close to the west Norwegian, the essence of Norway and American entrepreneurial culture.

The word tourist trap sounds negative, but usually there are good reasons why the masses end up in the "trap". When more than 630.000 travel annually with Flåmsbana - and more than 200.000 cruise passengers visit Flåm every summer, it may be because right here in the area there are goodies that are worth tasting. When we come to a new place, we are always curious about what people live on. In the pig-ridden Aurland municipality, they live by nature and traditions - and exquisite combinations of both, washed down with local beer varieties brewed by an American. Urnature - that is, waterfalls and rivers are tamed for electricity which is mostly sent east to the capital. Power lines and dams are clearly visible in the mountains, and turbines of magical dimensions refine the water into electricity deep inside the blue rock. But out in the open - Vestnorsk Fjordlandskap, the world heritage that is several times ranked among the world's most beautiful destinations. See for yourself and judge - from a boat deck, bicycle seat or country road. UNESCO judges were right when they put Nærøyfjorden on the distinguished list.

full house

When it fluctuates so violently in Flåm in the bright months, it is because the village and the municipality have decided that people will live here all year round. And it is in the brightest months that the wallet must be fattened up, and then it is important to create activities on land and at water. In midsummer, there may therefore be barracks on the quay, in the tourist shops, at the railway station and the car parks. In mid-winter, you have the quay almost to yourself, and you do not have to use your elbows to secure window space on the train. Flåm is No. 5 among Norwegian cruise ports, and the village with adjacent delights is so popular that at times they have had to say no to several of the floating hotels, giants that become small as toy boats when they anchor up between the mountains around the tourist cauldron in the inner fjord arm.

Kortreist beer

We anchored at Flåm Camping and Vandrarheim, between apple trees and within walking distance to the maurtua around the station area and the cruise quay. Down there, the question arises: Will a destination become even more Norwegian if a bunch of buildings are equipped with dragon heads on the ridge and designed so that the relationship to the stave churches is not to be mistaken? In Flåm, they have dared to run this line, all the way into Ægir Bryggeri's beer hall. The American Evan Lewis, who started the microbrewery, is educated in subjects far from beer brewing, but he brought with him basic home knowledge and American entrepreneurial spirit to a tiny little one. vestlandbuilt. And today's saga about Ægir has of course been added a polite dose of Norwegian-American love, something else would have been disappointing. The beer goes away, tapped by a multinational staff who happily tell about the brew in all its varieties. The prices are also completely Norwegian, if the beer is never so short traveled from the glistening copper pots behind the glass wall in the bar. Tables, benches and stool chairs stand for a noise and each piece of furniture is a piece of solid and unique craftsmanship.

well shod

Another local product that goes away is the Aurland shoe. The center of Aurland Skofabrikk has been given the status of Économusée, but the high-profile international recognition is obligatory. The company must be run profitably, but at the same time be a cultural mediator. Tradition is the foundation, but it is allowed to unleash bold designers. Newly-shod customers nowadays pull around in the traditional brown and varieties in green, brown and blue. And who would have dared to think the idea 50 years ago - an Aurland shoe as patent leather shoes, or as a red and a green, intended for boaters.

Myths about coin

Tiøringen - the noble mark, is in a permanent place, but what does the small coin really mean? It is up to you to interpret, but popularly the coin signals that he or she is married, ready to get married or newly in love, explains general manager Geirfinn Lysne who owns a huge stock of the long-expired 10-øre, sent from all corners of the country . Rumor has it no one in Aurland wants to confirm or deny, says that the back-suffering US President John F. Kennedy wore a variant of Aurland shoes.

Skomakersøm

We do not want to be inferior, and try a pair of the brown classic. The shoemaker's master sees that we wrinkle our noses - but quickly understands where the shoe is pressing: - I pick up a pair that is sewn from another part of the animal! The trick works, the shoes fit as if we have been a model for the last. There is a cycle path almost the entire stretch between Flåm and Aurland, but the last bit before Aurland center follows the European road and the trip can be a bit uncomfortable in midsummer. Then it is just as easy to park the two-wheeler up on Otternes Bygdetun. The fjord landscape unfolds, and the cluster yard has plenty of history to tell from the 400 years people have lived here. Road users get to see a lot of the inside of a municipality that is blessed with the Gudvanga tunnel. The Flenja tunnel, the Flåm tunnel and a small piece of the world's longest car tunnel, the Lærdal tunnel. But all the tunnels end in places with good reasons for a stop, for example with the Vikings who hold the fort in Gudvangen, or with the cheese farmers in Undredal.

mini Church

Brown cheese from Undredal is based on 100 percent goat's milk. Four-legged with and without horns graze on tasteful grass in steep slopes. This results in much more cheese than the village's 70-80 inhabitants manage to consume. Besides the cheese shop on the quay, the tiny church from 1147 is one of the village's attractions. Flåm is also the finish line for the many thousands of fissures that annually cross the Hardangervidda along Rallarvegen. If you create a base camp in Flåm, it is easy to make a great bike ride up Flåmsdalen until it starts to sting in the lungs and thigh muscles. But remember to keep to the right, the rally cyclists ride quite well down the last stage.

Magasuget

Flåmsbana is the magnet in the tourist municipality of Aurland, and this is a different train journey, through 20 tunnels on the 20,2 kilometer long trip. The stretch is among the steepest railway lines in the world. The return trip to Myrdal is done in just under two hours, and it is worth stopping by the museum in Flåm, which is dedicated to this piece of engineering. Stomach suction is also available at Stegastein - a vantage point supplemented by a piece of award-winning wooden architecture, signed by an immigrant Englishman hooked on Norwegian nature. The bridge, which ends in a glass wall 650 meters above the fjord mirror, is located on the winding old road between Aurland and Lærdal. Campsites with good capacity can be found in Gudvangen, Flåm and Aurland.

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