Nature’s Sparkling Brilliance: Fjord Tour, Norway

This, my friend, is a Fjord.
“Fjord tour? What on earth are these Fjords? At least tell me how to pronounce them? Is it F-silent or J-silent?”
That’s how it all began. Four Indian friends on their exchange study programme in France talking about taking a random series of train, ferry and bus rides between two cities of Norway: Oslo and Bergen in the month of October.
Some 10 days later, after a meticulous planning and a long, tiring train journey into the Scandinavian countries, when I took the morning train from Oslo to Myrdal, I asked these questions again to myself.

By this time, I did know the dictionary meaning of the Fjords, but honestly, I still had no clue of what was about to come in this weird sounding day long tour, and that too in friggin’ Norway, of all countries!
Okay, let us talk Fjords first. Fjords are long, narrow inlets with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity (yeah yeah, hail Wikipedia!). Boring as the definition might sound, the Fjords are one of the most beautiful natural creations on earth, and a delight to the eyes if you crave nature as much as I do.
In order to reach the Fjords, one has to start with a regular train, then a private tour train and then take a ferry. We started from Oslo, and took a regular train to Myrdal. Thanks to our Eurorail passes, we paid cipher. The show began early as the train snaked along snowy valleys and ice-capped mountains. I leached the free wifi and updated my facebook status message:
“A cup of hot coffee inside a European train with snow capped mountains passing by, coloring the big, sunlit windows with all shades of delight. Some moments you just can't capture with 14 megapixel devices. :)”
30 odd likes followed in a jiffy!
The train stopped midway on a station, and I couldn’t stop myself from getting down and holding snow in my hands for the first time in my life!
Helpless Sun, Beautiful Cold. Helpless Sun, Beautiful Cold.
It was only when I returned to the train did I realize that I had left the warm jacket on the seat (thanks to that couple of hours long air conditioned train ride.)
“That’s how, kids, I enjoyed my first sub-zero experience – without a Jacket”, said Ted Mosby.
The next ride was a private tourist train to Flam. It had wooden interiors and a public address system which kept on disturbing us as we took hundreds of photographs of the green-white mountains, and at times, of the train itself!
I will fall on the tracks, said that little stream.
Snake's hole!
Looking into a Wallpaper.  Looking into a Wallpaper.
We reached Flam. A small, beautiful village in the heart of Norway. This was our gate to the Fjords (yeah, they were still to come, and I had already filled up my cam with lots of wallpaper stuff.) After around an hour of exploring the village, we got into the Ferry. “Students need to pay only half the price!”, said the captain. I yelled ‘Yay!’ in my mind. This was supposedly the last year of my student- life. We entered the ferry and climbed up to the uppermost deck.
Imagine yourself standing on a large white ship, sailing forward  on crystal clear water amid vast mountains green on the stem and peaks gone snowy. Seagulls start following you for food. One fellow traveler throws bread crumbs in the air and you slowly see the seagulls catching one by one, every single piece of bread mid-air. You marvel at the vastness of scale and the meticulousness of skill inherent in nature, as the Sun shines bright in your eyes, trying hard to give some warmth to your fingers which have gone numb, partly because of the chilly winds and partly because, you have been clicking breath-taking photographs one after another since the last one hour!
Trust me, this is not merely a figment of imagination of a travel-worn blogger. Here’s a photographic evidence of the ecstasy:
My current desktop wallpaper. My current desktop wallpaper.

The Man, the Sun and the Seagull. The Man, the Sun and the Seagull.
Vibrant reflections Vibrant reflections.
Now that's big. Now that’s big.

and those, small. And those, small.
(The photograph above, incidentally is a very good subject for tilt-shift photography.)
A Fjordful of Sky.A Fjordful of Sky.
Needless to say, the Fjord tour was one of my most humbling encounters with nature. It went on for two hours and ended with us reaching Gudvangen, with the colors still vibrating in our eyes.
The next few hours were quick. We took a bus to Voss, and then a couple of hours spent wandering in the cold (and ridiculously expensive!) streets of Voss later, took a night train to Bergen. While the almost empty train chugged along the serpentine route, I let ‘End of the Road’ (Eddie Vedder; Into the Wild) flow softly into my ears, closed my eyes and saw the Fjords again. I saw the vast mountains, the lush green trees and the glaciers above, with streams of silver rivers flowing down to the Fjord. I couldn’t help but wonder about the purpose of this unparalleled beauty. Why should something this inaccessible be this beautiful?
And then it dawned upon me. Maybe answer lay in the reverse.
The Fjords are this beautiful because they are this inaccessible.
Alok K.
Sunday, Oct 14th, 2012

2 Comments:

Mohi said...

Miiiindblowing photographs, Alok! Thanks for bringing it all to us. Loved them all.

Bobby said...

awesome dude.. and too good photography !!!