(It rains a lot in Bergen – an average of 89 inches per year – which is much less than Seattle’s paltry 36 inches per year.)
A bit last minute, Madeleine and I decided to go to Bergen for the weekend. It was cheap and easy to get there and while I’ve been before, Madeleine hadn’t. We expected the weather to be less than stellar because, lets face it – Norway isn’t known for its fabulous Novembers. But we must have done something right by Mother Nature because she blessed us with a (mostly) sunny weekend. Now if only we could do something about the sun setting at 4pm…
Knowing we be spending most of Sunday sitting down in various forms of transport (more on that later) we decided to take advantage of Saturday’s sun and hike between 2 of Bergen’s 7 hills – Ulriken and Fløyen. We packed a lunch and extra clothes before heading off to take the cable car to the top of Ulriken (in theory we could have hiked to the top of Ulriken but we didn’t want to get up too early or work too hard, you know we were on vacation…).
We were told the trip would take about 4 hours (which it did) but we thought that we’d be able to speed it up and run a bit (which we weren’t). It was about 13km, or 8 miles, of hiking above the tree line. In theory we lost about 1000 feet in elevation, but there were lots of ups and downs along the way. The route was well-marked, but there wasn’t much of a trail. Instead we hopped over rocks, mud puddles and streams, trying to find the path of least resistance.
On such a gorgeous day there were plenty of fellow hikers making the trek along with us but it never felt overly crowded. On my last trip to Norway, I discovered that compared to Norwegian hikers, I’m pretty slow – but I am proud to say that besides the downhill (neither Madeleine or I are fans) and the handful of trail runners we saw, we weren’t passed by many people. Perhaps it was because we were rockin’ the spandex and wool buffs. Dress like a Norwegian, move as fast as a Norwegian?!?!
As we made it to Fløyen, and a great view of downtown Bergen, the clouds began to roll in (I was about to be proven wrong, it does actually rain here). But by this point I was pretty much convinced that we had the perfect day in Bergen. The post-hike treat of hot chocolate and caramel waffles didn’t hurt either.