As part of the itinerary for our trip to Norway next year, we plan to leave Oslo on the 6:30 a.m. train to do Norway in a Nutshell, one way to Bergen, but with an interruption to have a two night stay in Balestrand.
Plan one: Oslo to Myrdal on the train, Myrdal to Flam on the scenic railway, then interrupt the NIN route when we get to Flam. Take the 15:30 express boat up to Balestrand, stay two nights, then take the 11:55 express boat back to Flam to continue on the NIN route (Naeroyfjord cruise from Flam to Gudvangen, bus from Gudvangen to Voss, train from Voss to Bergen).
Plan two: Oslo to Myrdal on the train, Myrdal to Flam on the scenic railway, Naeroyfjord cruise from Flam to Gudvangen, then somehow (how?) get from Gudvangen to Balestrand for our two night stay, and after Balestrand stay, take the express boat to Bergen.
Plan two seems to have a couple of advantages. It seems like plan one will get us to Bergen quite late in the evening, whereas plan two might get us there earlier. Our time in Bergen is limited to whatever we have on the day of our arrival plus one full day the next day, and we fly home early the day after that. So maximizing time in Bergen could be an advantage to plan 2. Also, taking the 1.5 hour express boat from Flam to Balestrand (plan one) might be fun and scenic, but plan one involves backtracking on it two days later, and we don't necessarily need to see that same scenery twice.
I don't want to skip the Naeroyfjord cruise part of NIN so am not interested in just taking the express boat from Flam to Balestrand and then the express boat from Balestrand to Bergen.
Are there some decent transportation options to get up to Balestrand from Gudvangen after the Naeryofjord cruise part of NIN? What are they, and how long do they take?
Any comments on the choice I'm trying to make?