Nature hikes in lower Telemark, Norway

2015 wasn’t a very exciting year travelwise. Sometimes other things get in the way of getting anywere new. However we did go on several daylong or at the least hours long hikes in the nearby area. Hiking up a mountain or hill, usually through a forest, has given us many good memories. And not the least some good exercise too!

I love the fact that nature is everywhere in Norway. Woodlands,  forests, lakes, ponds, streams, small rivers, waterfalls, hills, peaks and mountains.  There is no excuse for not getting out and just wander about.  Whether you like the forest were your chances of meeting other people is slim,  or you would rather enjoy a popular path to treck,  the experience isn’t far away.  Not even if your starting point is one of the bigger cities or towns.

Last year we went on several of the routes suggested på Titoppern Grenland (which means ten peaks Grenland) which list 15 peaks in the Grenland area.  Unfortunately we had to stop at 7 peaks (ten is the goal) as Truls’ knee didn’t like going downhill anymore that season.  We’ll try again this year.

 

In addition to these peaks we had several nice walks in the forest that literally starts at our doorstep.  We may walk a round through that forest, and up a steep hill around a small lake and ending up back home. It is about 9km and takes us a few hours. I like the treck, others might find it a bit overgrown for their taste.

 

We look forward to the nice hikes we’ll have in 2016!

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Sunset at the end of one of our hikes
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Rainy Bergen, western Norway

Bergen, the “western capital” of Norway. Founded by Olav Kyrre (1050 – 1093) in 1070, and at that point the name was Bjørgvin. Bjørgvin is from Norse and means “the green field among the mountains”. Olav Kyrre was the son of Harald Hardråde (Hardrada in English). He was in his father’s army when he went to England, but didn’t participate in the battle at Stamford bridge in 1066. When Olav came back to Norway he was instated as a king together with his elder brother by two years, Magnus. Magnus died already in 1069 and Olav became the only king. Probably at this time he got his name “Kyrre” which means “the peaceful”. Under Olav’s ruling the kingdom of Norway had a peaceful time, so his name fits him well.

Bergen is the “rainy capital” of Norway as well sporting an yearly average precipitation of 2 250 mm. It’s not the wettest place in Norway, but it is the best known town for it’s rainy days.  And I guess we managed to hit a couple of those rainy days on our trip to Bergen.

Driving from our home to Bergen takes about 7 hours over through valleys and over mountain passes around 380km of Norwgian curvy roads. It makes for slow going and some great views. Mountains, fjords, waterfalls and… long tunnels. Rather boring those tunnels.  We went to Bergen from the 10th to the 12th of April 2015

 

We wanted to go to the top of the mountain Ulriken, the tallest of the 7 mountains surrounding Bergen with an altitude of 642m. It it was rather windy, and rainy day and  the aerial tramway to the top didn’t go. We figuered out we rather go for a hike with the dogs part of the way to the top. We wouldn’t see much from the top anyway. But at least we got some exercise going uphill and then downhill.

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Me, from the hike up towards Ulriken

After this exercise food was on the program. We parked our car at Bystasjonen, a meeting point for busses, the train to Bergen and with good parking space for cars. The walk from Bygarasjen to down town Bergen meant we walked by Lille lungegårdsvann, one of the sites to see in Bergen. Today “Smålungeren” as the people from Bergen call it, looks like an artificial pond. However it was originally a part of one of the fjords surrounding Bergen called Puddefjorden.

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Lille Lungegårdsvann, stilly rainy. And Truls feels rather cold.

 

We went for walk down Bryggen with Bergen’s most iconic houses (see top photo). Wooden buildings from 1702. They are on the UNESCO world heritage site list.
Then, finally food! Nothing too fancy, a pizza from Peppe’s – one of the pizza chains in Norway. And the one at least I like the best. Being out of the rain and able to dry  up a bit as well as getting warm wasn’t too bad either.

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Pizza!

 

The following morning we were met by this: Hail! Lots of it!

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Hail!

 

This day we also visited the Aquarium in Bergen. More about that visit in another blogpost.

Then it was time to turn our noses around and go back home.  We started out in rain. Went up the hills and curvy roads and met up with heavy snow and wind accross the highest mountain pass. Not the best driving weather. Getting on “the right side of the mountains”. Which means east of the mountains were we live, the weather changed character completly and it was both warmer and a late afternoon sun. This is quite typical of Norway’s weather. Most of the winds and rain comes accross the Atlantic and hit the west coast of Norway. The mountains reaching more than 1000 metres above sea level stoppes the rainfilled clouds and winds passing to the east. Making for a dryer weather in the eastern parts of Norway.