Our little division at work had a weekend getaway to Flåm, which is at one end of the old Flåm Railway, which takes you through a beautiful and dramatic valley. It is part of the Norway in a Nutshell round trip, which is very popular and well worth the money, and includes a boat trip to Gudvangen, in the UNESCO World Heritage fjord Nærøyfjord.
We took the ferry from Flåm to Gudvangen, too, but it was a heck of a cold boat trip! Although the weather was great, this time of year, the sun hadn’t cleared the mountains when we entered Nærøyfjord. I was somewhat prepared for the cold, fortunately.
The evening before we’d headed to a new microbrewery, Ægir, in Flåm. Whatever their darkest ale was, it was delicious. You could also get a sampler tray of six beers.
We got our drinks and settled in, that is to say, we scared off the other guests very quickly, to my amusement. Because when Norwegians drink, they get loud and laugh a lot. And they’ll sing. And end every song with “SKÅL”! And get louder. And laugh harder. And sing some more. And there were 28 of us doing that.
I can understand why the shorts-and-backpack bunch got up and left, but they did miss out on a bit of Norwegian culture.
Next time, dear tourist, don’t leave. Hang around and watch these normally buttoned-up people loosen up and smile at everyone, especially if they’re singing (if they’re having a loud discussion, it’s soccer and you don’t want to go there). You may even catch some old Norwegian folk tunes with a typically Scandinavian 5/4 beat and an odd little sadness to them, even when sung cheerfully.