Bergen, Norway: the Funicular, the Views, and the Beauty of Mt. Floyen: A mystical hike above the city on Mt. Floyen
The last international trip Jeff and I took was to Norway. We went about 2 years ago and I still find myself reminiscing about it. Norway is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Oslo was an amazing and vibrant city (check out some of the highlights of the city in yesterday’s post), while Bergen, on the other end of the country was the perfect place to spend with Jeff, exploring the small city, while moving slowly through it, at the pace it deserves, a slow, dedicated pace. Bergen is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and I’ve been looking for a comparison ever since visiting, but haven’t yet found one. I don’t think anything can compare to the fjord and mountain landscape. One of my favorite Bergen afternoons was when we decided to go hiking above the city via the funicular up to Mt. Floyen to escape into nature, into the mythical landscape of Norway.
1. The charm of the funicular
I don’t know how else to describe a funicular other than charming. It’s one of those forms of transportation that feel as if you’re in a cartoon or story. One of my favorite depictions of a funicular ever is in Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel when they go up the mountain.
That’s what I feel like the grand feeling of a funicular is. I feel like that depiction of a funicular is exactly how it feels like to ride one. Relationship tip: if you can recreate a feeling of anything Wes Anderson movie related, then you’re on to a memorable, romantic date ;). The ride is beautiful on the way up and it’s fun riding it! Pro tip: try to get in the end or front car so that you can have the full, unobstructed view from the window (that’s what we did!).
2. The views from the top
Once you’ve climbed the mountain in Wes Anderson fashion (although a bit more high tech), the views are stunning. You can see out into the harbor and fjord and see the classic Norwegian architecture below and the black roofs lining the town. You can also see where the edges of the mountains meet the town, and encompass the town. That’s what’s so amazing about Bergen, the fact that not only you have access to dramatic waterways, but there’s also mountains hugging the town. A country deeply connected to myth and the mystical.
3. The charm and solitude of hiking on Mt. Floyen
I would describe the landscape of Mt. Floyen as moody. If there’s any landscape that I’ve ever seen that encapsulates moody, it’s here, on Mt. Floyen. The dark evergreens contrasted against the grey skies that open up to gold fields surrounding lakes is breathtaking, really.
Then winding paths that lead you to different pockets within the forest that open up to moss groves and streams with polished rocks lining them, is a landscape even the most distracted person, like myself, can be engaged in.
But what’s even more mystical about this natural landscape above the city is the calling back to the myths and stories that the country of Norway holds close. When walking through the woods there’s sometimes an opening, a clearing filled with trolls.
Or signs warning to be careful due to the witches in flight. Or signs that warn you to watch your step as to not disturb the resting dinosaurs.
These calls back to the mythic and mystical are what give me a sense of nostalgia for Norway. There’s a deeply rooted tradition and celebration of myth and storytelling and within that a deep connection and respect for nature, something that I think we could learn from here in the United States. There’s a feeling of a country deeply rooted in community and the past that I love so much about Norway. Now, whenever I tread, I’m careful not to disturb the trolls.
Full circle: Bergen is a beautiful city that I find myself daydreaming about, but taking the trip up the funicular to go for an afternoon hike on Mt. Floyen is a perfect activity for a couple traveling.
Question of the day: What is one story from your childhood?