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Photography & Travels (finding fantasy in reality)

Spectacular 21-Hairpin Road and Myrdalsfossen in Autumn, Norway

When does a 1.5 hour bike ride take nearly 5 hours? When you keep stopping and taking detours because the scenery is as beautiful as this!

Abstract of waterfall and road with autumn trees

I spent 3 days in the Sognefjord area around Flåm, and this is my favourite waterfall of the many I saw. It descends over 230m beside a single-track road with 21 hairpin bends, with a maximum vertical drop of around 100m.

It doesn't seem to have an official name (please let me know if it does), which coming from the UK where we name every little hill or spot of woodland, seems quite crazy to me. As it starts next to Myrdal, and "fossen" is Norwegian for waterfall, "Myrdalsfossen" seems appropriate.

Most people take the train from Myrdal to Flåm (or vice-versa, and return by train too), but I enjoyed cycling back to Flåm from Myrdal much more. There are some incredible views from the train, but you can't just stop it when you feel like it. The slower pace (I had my hand on the back brake most of the way down) gave me an even better appreciation of the scenery.

The view of Myrdal's waterfall and crazy road from the Flåm railway

As the road runs next to the waterfall, there are plenty of great viewpoints on the descent, but first I cycled up to see what the view was like - it was well worth the short effort. Usually I don't like to see the human impact on natural places, but I think the road adds to the scene, partly for scale and partly the winding shape.

It's worth cycling uphill a few hundred metres before heading downhill Close to the road near the start of the descent Heading down to one of the 21 hairpin bends

After the road was completed in 1898, a sign at the bottom said "Be gentle against the horse and walk up the hill," which shows how steep it is. There was actually a rule stating horses weren't allowed to carry more than one person at a time.

I'm glad I cycled down and not up, though I did cycle most of the way up the side of a 1200m-high fjord on a road-bike a couple of days later...

Heading downhill, some of the views get more spectacular again

I'll be posting more photos from my Myrdal to Flåm bike ride soon...

If you need to hire a bike, you can either take one on the train from Flåm or hire one from Cafe Rallaren, which is on the platform at Myrdal. Although bike hire in Myrdal was more expensive than Flåm, it worked out cheaper to hire in Myrdal, as it costs over 100 NOK to take a bike on the train. It also avoids the hassle of taking a bike on the train.

Do you have a favourite waterfall in Norway? I'm yet to see Seven Sisters in Geirangerfjorden, so that has a good chance of beating Myrdalsfossen. And there are hundreds more in Sognefjord alone, never mind the whole of Norway...

Comment below. :-)

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