Friday, September 28, 2018

Trolls in Bergen

Norwegian trolls are mentioned throughout Old Norse legends, tend to live in mountains, caves, and under bridges, and are rarely helpful to humans, often dangerous.  Trolls are said to have insatiable appetites, eating rocks, livestock, humans, and anything else they can get their hands on.  They are generally not very bright and some are depicted as deformed, with multiple heads, fangs, and claws, while other depictions show them as incredibly beautiful.

Trolls are an essential part of the fabric of Norway and we find trolls throughout our trip, but the largest collection we come across is in the Bergen Troll Forest.

On reaching the top of Mount Fløyen, either on the funicular or by walking up the 320 meters (1000 feet) from the harbor, a short walk from the view point leads into Trollskogen and a great collection of carved wooden trolls.

 Troll carvings in the Troll Forest

And, of course, a place for trolls to sit

Back in town, the shops features lots of trolls for sale.  We don't acquire any, but do enjoy the variety.

 Trolls on display and for sale

We see trolls throughout our travels in Norway and all the ones we meet seem to be friendly.  We do not encounter any troll-related issues!

 Hanging out with trolls

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Exploring Bergen, Norway

Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and is located on a peninsula surrounded by seven mountains and numerous islands buffering the city from the North Sea.  The harbor contains serious fishing and processing ships, along with well-preserved old houses and a fabulous fish market.  Many of the nearby towns are located on islands and there is a thriving ferry business.  Bergen is considered the gateway to the Norwegian fjords.

Fishing boats

 Processing boat


Bergen has Europe's largest collection of wooden houses and the colorful ones at the port are still in service as shops and restaurants.

 Wooden houses at the harbor

At the end of the harbor, the Bergen fish market has existed since the 1200s as a focus of trade between fisherman, farmers, and the residents of the city.   Fishermen who lived outside the city used to row in to the fish market, sell their catch, and row home.  Now, we can all buy fish to take away or have it cooked there for us to eat at the tables behind each stall.

 Bergen fish market

 Eat in

We try a sample of smoked whale and decide it must be an acquired taste.

From the fish market, we walk up the hill to the Bergen Funicular, which travels 320 meters (1050 feet) up to Mount Fløyen, where there are restaurants, walks, and fantastic views across the city.  We walk up alongside the funicular, first on city streets that cross back and forth over the funicular path, then a nature trail the final way up the hill.  The views get better and better as we climb.

Bergen Funicular

 We walk up

One great surprise along the way is that the residents have decorated their trees on their streets by wrapping them in multi-colored yarn blankets, adding festivity to the walk up (and later down).

 Tree art

We enter a cloud at the top and lose our view of the city, but at least have a signpost pointing the way to Tokyo, New York, Beijing, London, Rio, and Moscow, lest we lose our sense of direction up here in the clouds.

 On top of Fløyen

We soon head down, finding new views as the city reappears from the clouds.

 Heading down

Back on the harbor, we explore the shops located in the old wooden houses on the harbor, full of fabulous needlepoint, sweaters, blankets, and furs.


We take one more walk down the harbor and enjoy the feel of this great little town.