Friday, June 23, 2023

Åndalsnes, Norway

Hello from Åndalsnes!

Åndalsnes, Norway
View from deck 15
Åndalsnes, Norway
View from the pier
I was a woman on a mission today. I wanted to ride the Rauma Railway's Åndalsnes to Dombas roundtrip route. It's supposed to be one of the most beautiful and scenic train rides through Norway. Tickets can be purchased online ahead of time but for those of us with wheelchairs and scooters we get this message:

So right after breakfast I left the ship for the train station to find out about wheelchair tickets. I had to ask more than one person - and had to go to more than one place - before I got the answer. Actually, lack of an answer. The Åndalsnes train station isn't a train station at all but just little room where you can wait for a train. I'm not exactly sure what role the workers at the counter had, but it definitely had nothing to do with the train. So a "staffed station" wasn't available. I left a bit dejected and contemplated calling the phone number to inquire about tickets but decided to go next door to partake in a different activity. 

It involved the top of this mountain.
And a car looking like this.
gondola at Åndalsnes, Norway
Yep, another ear popping gondola ride was in my future. The views on the way up were stunning.
But the weather wasn't nearly as cooperative as my gondola ride last week in Olden. As we got closer to the top the clouds started settling in on us. 
Heading to get my head in the clouds
foggy mountaintop at Åndalsnes, Norway
View from the top
One of the things I'm working on this summer is learning to be silent, still, and calm. To slow my breathing and mind. Today's mountain visit was a fantastic place to practice. 

I had the opportunity to watch the clouds as they moved in...
and start to move out.
foggy mountain top at Åndalsnes, Norway
I saw hikers reach the top and admire the landscape as it came into view.
I experienced the beauty of Norway as I remained calm, still, and silent.
After a lengthy bit of time in the cold brisk air, I went into the restaurant to continue my stillness. With a cup of hot chocolate.
I again witnessed the clouds roll in and roll out as more gondolas made their way to the top.
When I thought I saw all I needed to see I made my way back to the gondola. On a whim (just like yesterday) I asked if there was a way for me to access the ramps that lead to highest parts of the mountain. The girl led me to something I hadn't seen at any point when I was in the restaurant because it was behind the no entry sign. 
elevator to top ramps at Romsdalen in Åndalsnes, Norway
An elevator.
elevator to top ramps at Romsdalen in Åndalsnes, Norway
Past the no entry sign and to the right
It was another one of those where you have to continuously push the button. It stopped halfway because I didn't know. But now I do!
elevator controls at Romsdalen in Åndalsnes, Norway
The elevator led to the ramps. I took every single ramp all the way to the top.
mobility scooter at top of ramps at Romsdalen in Åndalsnes, Norway
Scooter needed a little assistance from my feet to help him make it up. But we did it!
I stopped at the end of the ramps so technically
we didn't make it totally all the way.
I was the only person with a cane or walker or wheelchair or scooter who tackled the climb. Several able bodied folks on the way up and down stopped to talk to me and were shocked? surprised? confused? about my little adventure. 

Not me. I was determined today. I think I even caught a glimpse of my old adventurous suck-the-marrow-from-life self. It may not be there tomorrow, but I'll take what I can today.

Just a few more photos from the day.
Don't look down if you're scared of heights
I was drinking my hot chocolate on the edge of a cliff? Yikes.
The ship on the way down from the mountain
The crosswalks in town were made of these. Ugh.
cruise ship docked at Åndalsnes, Norway
My home away from home

Tomorrow we're in Skjolden, our last port in Norway. See you then!