The Travelling Trooper Does Bergen

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you have to improvise.

We were schedule to fly out of Helsinki to Oslo on the morning of September 1st, however when we got to the airport, we were told that our flight was cancelled. I had just checked the flight status the previous night, so this was a huge surprise to me.

We were eventually given a flight on the next flight to Oslo, which was at 7 pm that night. We essentially lost a day in Norway.

Now initially, the plan was to stay in Oslo for a few days before heading towards Trolltunga and Bergen, then flying off to Alta in the north before returning to Oslo. However I found a host that really excited me in Oslo, and I decided I’d want to stay with her. Unfortunately, the dates I requested were the only dates she wasn’t available to host us, so I re-arranged everything, deciding to spent the night in Oslo, and then head to Trolltunga the following morning.

This didn’t happen either. I ended up enjoying myself so much with our new host for the night, Esteban, that we ended up staying up until 3 am watching Narcos and eating pizza. The following morning, we watched a bunch of music videos and concerts on YouTube before eventually going out to enjoy the beautiful weather. We visited Holmenkollen to get a great view of the city, and ended up catching some of the Toughest Obstacle Race action.

Just look at these crazy people! They’re climbing up a ski jump ramp. You couldn’t pay me to do this stuff!

Anywho, we ended up hanging out until 3 pm, and by then, I knew we couldn’t get to Trolltunga by the end of the day. Instead, we hopped on a train to Honefoss and found a place to camp for the night.

The next day, instead of heading to Trolltunga, we headed to the city of Bergen. From what I read, it was easier to get to Trolltunga from Bergen anyway, so I figured we could check out Bergen first then head to the mountain afterwards. Unfortunately, because we’d already lost so many days, we wouldn’t have time to fly north to Alta. It was okay, though, because I booked us a mult-day fjord tour departing from Bergen. I figured this would be enough. And if anything, it just gives me an excuse to come back to Norway one day!

Once again, things didn’t go according to plan, though, because the 9 am train was completely sold out when we arrived at the train station. We’d have to wait until the 3:30 pm train. So be it.

Now Bergen…

My immediate reaction was “Get me out of this place!” But this was a strictly emotional response. See, our train arrived in Bergen at 7 pm. The plan was to find a nice place to camp for the night and call it an early night. Google Maps showed there was a perfect spot about an hour and a half walk from the train station. No problem. I could use the exercise after a day of sitting around.

What Google Maps didn’t tell me was that the walk would be completely uphill. When you’re strapped with two VERY heavy bags like a freakin’ pack mule, though, this is no easy feat.

I found this place towards the very end of the hike–because that’s what it had become–and just couldn’t resist. There was a bench calling my name, and I sat down and began writing.

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After about half an hour, I packed up again and continued my search for a campsite. Shortly after, I found this perfect spot. Aside from the 8 degree weather, it was paradise.

The following day would be dedicated to seeing as much of Bergen as possible. At this point,  I still wasn’t too keen on the place. My legs were still sore from the previous night’s climb.

We headed to the train station to lock our bags up for the night and start exploring. I very quickly changed my opinion of Bergen. It is amazing picturesque, as I would learn over the next 12 hours of walking.

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First stop: The wharf.

Obligatory pretty church shot.

Obligatory art shots at Kode 1.

Sadly, neither the clocks, nor the candle holders invited us to be their guests.

Pretty flowers! Welcome to Bypark.

It was while sitting here enjoying the view of the water that I noticed a funicular off in the distance. There was no way I wasn’t going to check that out!

I enjoyed a delicious burger and a nice pear cider at old Bryggen, and went in search of the funicular.

Of course, the ride was totally worth the view at the top!

Bergen is apparently obsessed with these trolls for a reason I was never able to figure out. Souvenir shops were filled with them.

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Then I saw this sign. It inspired the following exchange.

Trevor: Do the 3 km hike.

Me: No.

Trevor: Do the 3 km hike.

Me: I don’t wanna.

Trevor: We’ve already been walking for seven hours.

Me: I don’t care.

Trevor: It’s 3:30, and we told our host we’d be there between 7 and 8 tonight.

Me: We can contact them and let them know we’ll be late. He said any time before 11 is fine.

Trevor: I really don’t want to do this.

Me: Sure you do!

Trevor: No, I don’t.

Me: It’s settled! The 13 km Ulriken hike it is!

Trevor: I hate you so much right now.

And so, we now had a 13 km hike ahead of us. But in typical Norwegian fashion, things didn’t go according to plan. See, I thought Ulriken was just a hiking trail that would eventually bring us back to the funicular.

I was wrong.

About 3 km in, we got to a T intersection on the hike, but didn’t see a sign pointing towards Ulriken. I pulled out my phone and turned to our old friend, Google. That’s when I learned that Ulriken is in fact a mountain. In fact, it’s the highest of the seven mountains in Bergen. This meant the trail was ending in a different place all together.

Trevor: Let’s head back.

Me: Onward!

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About another kilometre and a bit later, we came across a hiker who was heading in the opposite direction. I asked him if it was possible to get back towards the city, and he said that if we continued straight, it’d be about 45 minutes to the bottom of the trail. From there, it would be another half hour to the city centre. Perfect!

HOWEVER, he urged us to continue towards Ulriken, because the views were well worth it.

Trevor: Don’t listen to that guy.

Me: Onward!

Trevor: It’s already 5:00. We’ve already hiked 4.3 km. That’s respectable.

Me: Onward for another hour, and then we head back?

Trevor: Fine.

And so, we continued on. To his credit, the gentleman was right!

We eventually got to an impressive ascent, and agreed that we’d turn around when we got to the top.

We never made it to the top, though. Without realizing it, I’d totally lost my sweater. I had it hanging on the strap of my backpack. I knew I’d just recently lost it because I’d just taken the bag off to check something, and I definitely remember having the sweater at that point. It was probably just another 8-10 minutes to the top, but I figured this was a sign we should head back.

I must add here that the Norwegians take their hiking very seriously. They are pros at it. Descending is always the harder part of a hike for me because I don’t have a lot of muscles in my knees, and I can sometimes feel them shake under all my weight. Throw in my lack of coordination, and you have a very slow and cautious hiker–especially on these rocks. I mean, the trail had devolved to nothing but a series of sharp rocks. Doris would’ve been right at home here, but not I. It was a matter of placing your foot at exactly the right place. One slip, and you’d be done for. NOT SO FOR THE NORWEGIANS THOUGH! These people were practically running down the goddamn mountain like they were part mountain goats or something!

Sure enough, I found my sweater without a problem. Some hiker had been nice enough to leave it hanging somewhere visible for me.

 

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At this point, I’d like to think that we had hiked about 6 km, because back when we met that other hiker, the sign said 8.7 km to Ulriken. However, about 20 minutes before turning around, we walked past a sign that said 9.1 km to Ulriken! So based on time and my pace, I think we’d hit about 6 km at that point. We backtracked about 1.5 km and started making our way back to the city. The train station was 5 kilometres away at that point.

We picked up our bags and schlepped another kilometre to our host’s place for the night.

And that was how we accidentally hiked 13 kilometres. My blisters have blisters, but it was well worth the pain. I love you, Bergen.

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