We Like a Good Old-Fashioned Hike

On a solemn grey morning, when the skies were beset by heavy clouds and the brows of my husband by equal measures of frowns, we were on our way to Mount Fløyen. A city mountain in Norway.

Lille Lungegårdsvannet, the lake featured in the lead photo and with the unpronounceable name which sits pretty at the centre of the city of Bergen, gives you an idea of the kind of day it was.

A colony of seagulls took flight above our heads, alarmingly low, which meant we had to duck if only for the sake of retaining our scalps, quintessential you see in achieving the climb to Fløyen. Birds taking flight. Ah what a romantic sight ’tis on a sunny morning but under smoky skies it can acquire shades of the portentous. Alternately, it reveals the workings of a fanciful imagination.

The afternoon before, we had driven from Norheimsund to Bergen, the gateway to the fjords on the west coast of Norway. Our apartment was near the main wharf so we had time to dawdle over tea and a substantial breakfast. Adi was suitably miffed. Why anyone would want to Imagine the prospect of any kind of activity that required him to climb anything leave alone a mountain. We were in that phase of our travels where Adi had not warmed up to hiking on holidays. It was akin to tailing Tuktuk, our beloved lab, around the house and then dragging him for his bath.

Time and you, with laudable perseverance, may bring about changes in your spouse but watch out for the postscript. When Adi took to hiking holidays, he did so with a vengeance. He led me up hills which no one charts (for a reason) and where the wind in the grass raised my hair and hackles maniacally. Before I digress into the future, our path from the apartment to Fløyen took us past the busy wharf and the largest church of Bergen in its red-brick Gothic glory and its pristine wooden interiors.

My favourite part of admiring a church is to tip my head back and gape at its spire, which from our humble spot at the base of the church, almost always seems set to pierce the heavens.

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 The 19th-century St. John’s Church 
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Simplicity of its wooden interiors

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It was chilly and people were queuing up for the Fløibanen, the funicular that for the sum of NOK 45 (£4) whisks you up to the top of the mountain in the matter of a few minutes.

But who wants five measly minutes when you can have an hour and a half of panting up steep hills and stairs – in the jovial company of a husband who refuses to let a smile crack his visage. Halfway into the climb we had trudged up a steep hill, past doll-like slatted houses in shades of white and yellow, crowned by charming orange-red roofs. In the backdrop lay the steely grey waters of the harbour and a church steeple or two.

The contrast was stark when a fat black cat scampered past us. At the same time, Adi chose to lean his head on a pillar and bemoan his fate.

“What kind of a holiday is this? I want beer and food,” he bit out.

“But you just had a big breakfast,” I pointed out righteously.

This charmer of mine stomped ahead in reply. In this mode, we continued up the hill. When we had passed by red, black and blue houses with enviable views of the harbour and we thought that we had done it, that we must surely have reached the top, I skipped up some 100-odd stairs. Turns out that they were the private stairs of a cluster of hillside houses.

Retracing our steps down, we came soon to the foot of a steep forest path which led into the midst of a pine forest, its grounds primeval and mossy in parts. It could easily pass for an enchanted one. We were the only ones in Troll Forest, or were we? We should have stopped to have a word with the resident trolls but there was no time to be lost. Heavy showers were forecast for the next hour.

If Adi had been spectacularly grumpy, I took over from there. My vast reserves of joy had been depleted because there is only that much of annoying behaviour one can weather. And I will have you know, dear reader, that I can do it with panache too. Almost magically, Adi’s black mood lifted.

Between the two of us, we had handed over the baton of grimness from one to the other with perfect synergy.

It behoved my beloved then to placate me. Legs trembling – unknown muscles in the body had been worked all this while – I suddenly spotted the Fløyenguttene, otherwise known as the Boys of Fløyen behind electrified fences. They were white and horned, with innocent faces and baaa-ey measures of conversation. Cashmere goats. Please know their importance in the scheme of things be dignified in your comportment when you do make their acquaintance. They are employed by the local agencies to keep the vegetation at bay.

A brief look at a bald and squat troll besieged by the crowds and a quick coffee at the café later, we decided to experience the Fløibanen on our way back to the centre of Bergen.

When you find yourself in Bergen, and if the heavens do not burst upon you, do skip the funicular. Take the long way up because in life you have, at times, got to take the winding way up. And if a few of them are dirt, why you have aced it, champ.

 

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Steep roads that shoot up past these charming cottages

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Need I say anything?
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By the harbour
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Troll Forest
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‘Do not mess with the trolls you meet on this trail. If you meet one, make sure you look at the ground and talk only when talked to.’ (You did not just fall for that surely?)
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At the top where the pine forests lead to the vantage point
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The Fløyen Boy
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The hike with a view

 

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91 thoughts on “We Like a Good Old-Fashioned Hike

  1. I just love to see the way that other people live. I mean, this is such a beautiful lush landscape. Even though the hills are really no joke! Boy are they steep. My legs would have been furious too. You’re way more accustomed to hikes, so I can imagine my despair. I love the way you and Adi switched temperaments simultaneously. That’s just perfect. You’d better start carrying an ice box with gelato for him and he a bag of popcorn for you! And once again, you pics are amazing. What kind of camera are you using?

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    1. Thank you, Lyz. The wonderful thing about travel is that it makes you feel like you are a constant learner. The more I travel the more I come to the realisation that I know nothing.

      Lyz, you have cottoned onto our act! Gelato and popcorn stash it is 😉 I use my phone camera 😛 These photos were clicked using a Samsung Note 4 (now I use a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge though) xx

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      1. Har har har, I cannot wait for my kitchen to arrive! All those baking moulds…then you see how I whip up batches here. Cookies, cupcakes,…let’s get fat and satisfied 😉

        Isn’t the Edge gorgeous? Mine is called Rosie, she is that delicate hue of pink, ashes of roses, and she is a star. What’s yours called? xx

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      2. I’d love to get into baking more. I didn’t get the edge. It was a little too much perceived confusion for me. Too much going on for my unfocused mind. But to each his own! That’s why we have choices.

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  2. Haha, after almost 25 years, Mike has still not fully embraced “the hike”. But I continue to work on him and he has come a long way (keep at it!). The picture of Adi is hilarious. That view is certainly worth the effort!

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  3. Another beautiful Norwegian town with names I can’t pronounce. You two did well to complete that hike, considering you both seemed keen to give up at one point or another. It’s funny that the second you had enough, Adi decided to keep going 😂 You both helped each other get to the top, and you both got to enjoy that view 😀

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  4. There is no better way to see a place than by walking or hiking it …. as ever your pictures and script are enticing. I hope you are settling well in New Joisey (stet spelling) …. xx

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  5. “What kind of a holiday is this? I want beer and food.” Teehee, I thought that was funny. Also how you and your husband switched moods back and forth and were never the same at the same time. Norway is very pretty, but I guess you do have to watch out for trolls.

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    1. Hee hee, Jen, to combat that awful grouchiness I would have to lose it after a while. You have to have your own weapon to make the husband come around like a lamb, after all 😉 The trolls, ah the trolls, I think I miss them xx

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  6. Lovely photos, I’ve never visited Norway but the scenery looks spectacular. I love walking but not hiking, as I prefer a more urban environment. I don’t like to stray too far from facilities!

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  7. That truly is a very unpronounceable name! Tuktuk is a great name. ❤ My my, that must have been quite a trek! That caption for Adi’s photo 😂 But kudos to the two of you for making it all the way to the top. Btw it’s said that trolls are rather nasty. 😉 So it’s great that you didn’t run into any. That’s some beautiful photos. I would have been tempted to reach out and feel that goat’s fur!

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    1. Thank you Shweta. True trolls have an unhealthy reputation. Poor fellows. The ones I met so far have been quite adorable. Possibly exceptions but I will take that.

      Tuktuk was indeed a great boy himself. Just needed his dose of kebabs once in a while 😉 xx

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  8. So he is into hikes now? That’s too funny! We too “pass the baton of grumpiness” daily in our relationships I’m Sure! Perhaps it’s a thing? Anyway, now I digress! I love this post…so human and descriptive. You do have a way with words my lovely. Xxx

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    1. Thank you Sophie! So lovely of you (as usual). Of course, it is a thing. Grumpiness changes hands pretty quickly in most of our relationships.

      Adi is indeed back into hikes now. I use the word ‘back’ because as a teenager he used to go mountaineering and hiking with his father xx

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  9. What a lovely read. It made me laugh in places 🙂
    Also, am glad I came across your space, really enjoyed reading some of your earlier posts as well. Definitely count me in as a reader!

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  10. Wow! Views are so impressive, it was worth every bit of the walking tour, wasn’t it? I always go walking and your story reminded me of a similar hiking in Lisbon (Palacio da Pena). I went with my sister and I recall having a picture of her like your husband hehe 😉

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    1. You do the same to others, eh? 😀 Hmm I think your sister would agree with Adi. But he does see now why I am obsessed with walking and seeing a place. I have a convert 😉 I remember the hike to the Castle of Moors. Pena is above that. I can just imagine how you would have loved it. It is a gorgeous hike xx

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      1. It’s so much better when walking, as if you “deserved” the view. How was the Castle of Moors? I haven’t been there yet. I’ve been to Sintra several times but I always visit Pena because of its insane beauty.

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  11. hehehehe I know that baton of grimness well. Much more poetic description than the “being bitchy” moniker that I usually earn on our more strenuous hikes 😉

    Great photo of the central colorful church bordered by bleak skies and blanched buildings!

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