Part 17 – Fløyen & Ulriken Mountains

Fløibanen funicular, built in 1918, is one of Bergen’s most-visited tourist attractions. The railway connects the city center with the mountain of Fløyen (1300 feet high) in eight minutes! Up a few steps is Fløien Folkerrestaurant with spectacular views of the harbor!

Nine resident goats help to keep the vegetation in check at the top of the mountain. They are friendly and more than willing to be made the center of attention.

While few Norwegians actually believe in “trolls”, they are popular in Scandinavian folklore. Trolls live in small family groups in forests, caves and near rock outcroppings. They are not friendly or helpful toward humans! The Jötnar (giants) turn to stone when exposed to daylight. Norway’s famous composer, Edvard Grieg and his wife, Nina, were known as the “troll couple” since they were only five feet tall. Their home, Troldhaugen, is roughly translated “troll hill”. Grieg’s composition “In the Hall of the Mountain King” invokes visions of trolls tormenting Peer Gynt. There is even a road in Romsdal, Norway called Trollstigen or Troll ladder which weaves back and forth up the mountain at a very steep grade. The “trolls” we met in the woods on Fløyen were surprisingly friendly and unmoved by our presence! We did, however, obey the sign not to feed them!

Sølvi & Karin planned a dinner for 22 of us, including cousins, spouses, and children at the top of Ulriken (2,110 feet), the highest of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen. The hike to the top takes about 1 1/2 hours and covers over 900 sherpa steps (we took the Ulriksbanen aerial tramway).

Solvi found a stack of letters after their father died, that were addressed to him in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, in 1952 when Jeff was conceived. Ellen read several of these letters which were written to Frantz by his older brother, Olaf and his mother. It was interesting to hear about what life was like here in Norway while Frantz was working as a sailor on a ship, which traveled all over the world.

We enjoyed traditional meat or fish stew at dinner.

To remember our visit to Bergen, Ingunn organized to give us eleven buildings of Bryggen, which we absolutely love. They now adorn our fireplace in Indianapolis.

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