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Queen Mary 2 Leaving Flam

As we drove back into Flam, the Queen Mary 2 was getting ready to leave port.  The ship against the backdrop of the tiny town of Flam looked super imposing.  We got up to our room in the Flamsbrygga hotel as they started untethering the ropes.  The boys wanted a better view of the ship leaving port, so we quickly ran downstairs to watch it backout.  When the ship was getting ready to pull forward into the Aurlandsfjord, it played it’s horn, which then echoed off all the walls of the fjord.

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Flamsbana

Last night we took the Flamsbana (Flam Railway) up to Myrdal and back down.   Myrdal is only accessible by train either the Flamsbana or the Bergen Line.  The quaint mountain station is 867 meters above sea level.  The round trip from Flam to Myrdal takes a little over two hours.  The views from the railway are second to none.

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We loved the view of the mountains, waterfalls, the Flam River and the Flam Valley from the tracks.  The highlight of the train ride is the stop at the Kjosfossen Waterfall at almost 2,200 feet above sea level.   This waterfall is fed by Reinunga Lake and is truly spectacular waterfall with a total fall of over 738 feet.  The only part viewable from the train and the nearby platform is the upper falls.  The falls continue under the platform and rail bridge plunging into the gorge.  Additionally, there is also a power plant on the Kjosfossen waterfall that powers the Flam Railway.

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As part of the trip on the Flamsbana, there is a 5 minute stop ascending the tracks to Myrdal and a 5 minute stop on the descent to Flam.  Importantly, there is significant spray on the platform, so it isn’t a bad idea to have your camera and phone in a protective bag.    Additionally, during this stop there are three actresses, who appears as Huldra.   In Scandinavian folklore, Huldra is a seductive forest creature that lures men and takes them into the mountain to marry her.   The dance is performed to traditional music and adds to the ambiance.

This train trip has multiple departures daily and costs about $58 per adult ticket and $29 for a kid’s ticket.  It is absolutely worth the price and is a must do if you ever travel to Flam.

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Cousins Experiencing Norway Together

One of the best parts of this trip thus far is the time our boys are getting to spend with their cousins X, P and Kai. Since we live in Florida and X & P live in Minnesota and Kai in Seattle, the kids don’t get to see each other nearly as much as they would like to. This is a trip that they’ll savor because of the good times they shared with their cousins.

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Connecting With Our Roots in Romskog

Though my grandfather passed away when I was a young girl, I will never forget the pride he felt for his Norwegian heritage. His family had immigrated to the US in the late 19th century.  At first they settled in Northfield, Minnesota and later Erskine, Minnesota. Today we had the opportunity to see the community and the farm from which our family came.

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The weather was sunny, bright and warm, a welcome change after Trondheim, as we headed west to Romskog this morning to meet our family. GPS and Waze work fairly well here, however, they’re never 100% in these old cities. Nonetheless, we made our way through the Norwegian countryside, which was growing increasingly wild with our drive. The landscape reminds me a lot of Northeastern Minnesota, so it really isn’t a surprise many Scandinavian settlers chose to settle in that region.

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We met our extended Trandem family at beautiful small, lakeside church in Romskog. As we walked into the church grounds we were greeted by our Norwegian family and shown where our ancestors were buried. It was crazy to see graves going back to the 18th century. The weather has worn their gravestones, so they’re a bit hard to read which you’ll notice on the pictures. Our family gave us a history of the church and the items in it, which was fascinating.  

 

The kids finding all of this boring had made their way down to the lake and were climbing on the rocks and gallivanting about the beach. Our kids were in heaven and would have been happy to stay at the beach all day, but our relatives had tailored a tour of the town, so we embarked on exploring the Romskog area by car.

With each stop on the tour, my boys became more enthralled with the area. The beautiful lakes, forests and hills were definitely calling their name. I’m pretty sure they want us to buy a cabin on Lake Romsjoen as soon as possible. For the adults, seeing the Trandem farm and houses was amazing. We got to see the home where my Grandfather’s grandfather Andreas, whom I was named after, was born.  In fact, he lived there until he immigrated to the US. The farm, which had once covered much of Romskog County and extended to the Norwegian-Swedish border has since been sold off. Our family now lives in a house above the farm and others now live in Sweden.

Post tour, they hosted us at their home for lunch, which was incredible. Their hospitality, their food, their garden and their home were incredible. They were so welcoming of all 16 of us, including our six kids. Our kids, meanwhile, had the time of their life playing in their yard and running and playing together. It was truly a magical day.  Moreover, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with our past and our extended Norwegian family.

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A Little Side Trip

After a wonderful lunch and visit with our Norwegian relatives, we decided as a group to make a border run since we were so close.  We caravanned our way across the Norwegian-Swedish border and stopped to take a couple of pics. Since we were so close, it made sense to explore Norway’a neighbor.

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