Ulriken

Om de ‘Syv’ Fjell — About the ‘Seven’ Mountains

So apparently, Bergen is “the City among Seven Mountains.” The fact that Bergen is actually surrounded by NINE mountains doesn’t seem to deter its residents from claiming all the mythological and historical impact of lucky number seven.

Seven, nine, whatever — mountains are awesome, and having a veritable Smorgåsbord of them at my feet is going to be one of the highlights of this semester for me.

I’m on a quest to climb them all!

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Mountain No. 2 — Mount Ulriken

I went up Mt. Ulriken on my third full day in Bergen — one of our very, very rare sunny days. Ulriken is the highest of the seven mountains at 2,110 feet, but it’s still relatively accessible, even in winter, thanks to the good paths that go about halfway up, and the frequent foot and ski traffic stomping trails into the snow above that.

The first time, not knowing the way, we set out bravely from a path that turned right from the cable car station. Soon, the path split, and we encountered an older couple out walking with their dog. We asked them which way to go in bad Norwegian, and they replied in perfect English that both ways led to the top… but that going right was harder and they recommended we headed left. We thanked them, and they promptly hurried off… to the right.

“Yep, me and my wife and our two dogs will take the hard path. You better stay on the easy road.” Talk about a confidence booster. XD

The path they had recommended was broad and hard to miss. It was also a large river of ice that we had to pick our way up gingerly.

But soon, we reached a halfway point in the form of a lovely, frozen meadow with brilliant views both up the mountain and down over the town.

From there on, the path became harder with deepening snow and a path that narrowed to a foot’s width. Up, up and up we went, sometimes on our hands and knees, with the snow soaking through anything that wasn’t waterproof.

At the top, we could wander more or less freely across a plateau that the snow had turned into a winter wonderland. The pictures look absolutely unreal, but no more so than the scene looked in front of us.

When we reached the top at last, we looked down into a Bergen filled with clouds, as usual. But up top, the sky was still bright, blue and fine! We drank hot chocolate at the cafe and then rode the cable car down.

Unbelievably, two weeks later we had EVEN BETTER weather. On a day when all I wanted to do was curl up in bed after a long weekend, I woke up to cloudless blue skies. And in Bergen, that’s practically an order. Get up a mountain, and make it fast.

It was colder this time, the waterfalls were frozen over and the snow cover was even thicker than it had been.

The atmosphere up top was festive — it seemed like the whole population of Bergen had loaded their children and dogs onto sledges and skis and headed for the hills.

A late start and a slow, relaxing climb meant we got to the top just in time to drink hot cocoa and play cards while listening to Beatles music play over a mountaintop sunset.

Life doesn’t get any better than this!

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