Northern Norway Part 1
The day after my final day on the slopes of Chamonix, I drove to Calais and got the Eurotunnel back to the UK. I’d planned on staying longer in the Alps but had been invited by the Norwegian Tourism Board on a FAM trip to the north of Norway. Due to flight limitations, I was asked if I could fly out a day before the other candidates, so I drove to Heathrow for my flight to Bergen.
A couple of hours after checking my van into the parking, I had landed in Bergen and boarded my pre-booked airport bus to the city (around £10 each way).
I was booked into the Radisson Blu Hotel which was overlooking the colourful harbour. These amazing buildings are completely wooden structures and have all warped and moved over time. Many now house artisan shops and clothing stores and give a real burst of colour to the harbour area.
I had been given a Guest of Honour card for my stay, which had many benefits, including free access to many museums, sightseeing attractions, and huge discounts on various restaurants. I soon realised that I wouldn’t even scratch the surface of what was on offer in Bergen, so opted for the popular Fløibanen Funicular railway. I grabbed a filled ciabatta at a bakery on the way. On a previous visit to Norway, I was alarmed at the prices of everything. Nothing had changed I realised as I handed over my card to pay for a rather small roll costing £10!
The funicular is fantastic, beginning in a cave just back from the harbour, it rises steeply up the side of the mountain to an open area high above the city. The views are simply stupendous at the top.
The wooded area at the top are a real gem and I can imagine a massive benefit of the living in Bergen. Runners, walkers, and cyclists were all enjoying the densely wooded area as the sun sank below. I started to understand why so many Norwegians are into the outdoors – the hill climb up from the city was like a perfectly formed outdoor gym!
I walked around the endless trails, stopping briefly at a frozen lake where a group had lit a fire near a wooden shelter. Other small groups had brought camping stoves and were cooking up their evening meal whilst the sun dipped below the peaks below.
I watched as the glow faded below the islands in the distance then returned to the city on the funicular. The streets back in Bergen seemed almost deserted, but I was falling in love with the place. I headed back to the hotel and went to the gym followed by a sauna. I was getting used to the Norwegian way of life.