Cycling the Rallarvegen, Norway's old navvies road

One of the things we’d looked at doing planning our way up to the Nothernmost point of Norway and Europe was riding one of the most beautiful & famous railway in the world – the 20-km Flamsbana railway from Flam to Myrdal. “An engineering wonder which hauls itself up 864m of altitude gain at a gradient of 1:18 up to Myrdal.” as quoted in the Lonely Planet guide to Norway (2008).

The Flamsbana train passing through
In our enthusiasm to experience such an awesome ride, we’d forgotten one important factor – the cost. Unfortunately, it seems that everything in Norway comes at a price and, sometimes, a pretty dear one indeed. After enquiring about it and leaving Jamie sorting the van in Flam’s pretty campsite, I had to bear bad news that if we wanted to not only hop on the train, but also enjoy cycling the journey back on the Rallarvegen, the old navvies road from Finse, we’d have to pay a whopping £1,280Kr (about £140).

It really killed our excitement. We couldn’t justify paying such a high amount, not even for the basic return Flam-Myrdal train journey without bikes which still came up to about £68. We decided to cycle it up and down instead! Yes, it was a crazy idea, but we didn’t want to let it defeat us.

The ride was beautiful, going through small villages, passing through old farms, rivers and waterfalls, small tunnels and crossing over bridges, little stations and train-crossings. 

Some of the beautiful scenery along the way.
Unfortunately Jamie had to leave me two-third of the journey up. He was too tired, bless him – it was understandable, he’s the main driver and hadn’t been able to rest properly after leaving Bergen (see our post). I continued on my own – it actually felt strange, it was the first time since we’d left the UK that we were separated. Back in London, we’ve always been quite independent and doing things separately, so it was weird, but it felt like I was missing a limb and somehow vulnerable.

I failed to go all the way up to Myrdal though – I tried, but the ascent grew steeper and steeper as I was getting closer to the village. I disappointingly retreated back after 19km, but I knew I was making the right decision, I needed some food and water and I’d just cycled through a beautiful lunch spot: by a roaring river and old farm with goats grazing around and a huge waterfall coming through one of the mountains surrounding the valley. 

The goats and farm near my lunch spot.
Cycling back wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be and reward came in the form of a raspberry field – yes, it hadn’t even occurred to me that raspberries could grow in Norway! Rows and rows of raspberries waiting to be picked! My re-sealable plastic lunch bag came in handy.

The raspberry field, 3km from Flam.