Toppen av Fløibanen

After Limerick, Ireland I flew to New York for a day of recuperating before spending the last two days of my trip in Bergen, Norway.

I thought about doing things both days that I was there so I would have a lot to talk about…but I passed out after getting into my hotel room in the morning and didn’t wake up until late that night so I ended up staying in the room for the first night. I guess after three back and forth flights over the Atlantic took it’s toll on me. But that meant I had the whole next day to see the gateway to the fjords.

The unfortunate part about being cabin crew means we are often put in hotels close to the airport instead of the city center to make sure we can get to work on time. So this meant I had to hop the 45 minute light rail from the airport to the center before I could actually start my sightseeing. A round trip is about the equivalent of $8 and you get a card you can refill, which is quite convenient (I now have a place in my wallet for all my rechargeable cards from here in Bergen to my MetroCard; let’s hope I can keep track of all of them).

The city center is the last stop from the airport (Byparken) and you come out on a park with a huge pond with a fountain in the middle. It looks like a great place to ice skate if it freezes over well enough in the winter. If you follow the path around you can see colorful flowers lining the surrounding areas, a woman feeding hundreds of pigeons, and rows of houses climbing the surrounding mountains.

The day was not the nicest weather-wise, it was pretty grey and overcast and had me wishing I had remembered to pack an umbrella just in case, but I also would have never stopped kicking myself if I had let a little rain stop me from venturing away from my hotel room. Plus, the first night I arrived the sun didn’t set until well after 10:30 at night so the amount of time I had was much more plentiful than at home and why waste it?

To get to the tram station at the bottom of the mountain, I walked across the fish market that sits close to Bryggen on the side of the harbor. I enjoyed looking at all of the shellfish and fresh salmon and caviar set up. It was a wet day so tarps were set up over the tables that people could sit at while they munched on fresh fish plates or sandwiches. One stand was even selling whale, which I will have to try when I come back at the end of the month (I had eaten already before coming to the center and when I got back down the mountain, it was closed). While many say that the market is a bit of a tourist trap, I have heard that prices are lower than you may meet elsewhere (I shouldn’t say cheap, since this is Norway, after all) and it reminded me of the markets I’ve seen in Finland and France.

The tram up the mountain is easy enough to find from the harbor. There is a white building that says “Floibanen” where you can buy your tickets or look at a map and start walking up. The path zig zags its way up the mountain, first with many little side streets and houses. Every few levels I walked up I would make sure to stop to take a few pictures.

I made it to the second to last tram stop before it started raining, so I decided to try and wait for the tram to get the rest of the way up rather than stay out in the cold rain and possibly catch a cold. It was a good call: the rain let up almost as soon as I stepped off at the top.

Once you get off at the overlook, where of course you have to take as many pictures as your heart desires, there is a cafe and a children’s playground (complete with a giant troll because again, this is Norway) and then there are trails branching off to take you to different areas of the mountain. One can spend an entire day or more exploring the depths of all the trails, but I knew I wanted to find the lake, about a mile from the playground.

As I walked along the path towards the lake I could see why Norway has such a fascination with trolls. It feels like you are stepping into a garden specifically for them. Even on a gloomy day the grass was bright green and lush, contrasting with the earthy brown bark of the tree. I wouldn’t have been surprised if some nymphs popped out of the trees and tried to play tricks on me. A family of gnomes building a little house under a mushroom together would not have been strange at all either.

Freezing rain started dropping down once I reached Skomaderkite. Two ducks swimming around starting seeking shelter as I hid under some trees. Luckily it was a quick shower, but one that threatened to come back quickly if I didn’t pay attention.

A little ways behind the lake there was a path that basically went straight up. It was hard to see anything due to the height but I saw enough of a wooden ledge to know there was an overlook tower up there, so I started my slippery ascent.

All I could think about was my boyfriend telling me to be careful every time we went hiking at home because I’m so clumsy. Squishing through the mud there were some areas I felt like I had no grip through my Nikes. But I made it up without incident and was so glad I did! Sometimes you gotta take a risk or two for that perfect view!

Of course the weather did not hold out though. It might have even been hail at this point and strong winds made me bundle up and start heading back to the safety of my hotel room.

If you do go up there, definitely be careful coming down as it is extremely steep and slippery. Grab onto trees and rocks if you have to or make sure you wear shoes with good grips.

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