Competing with Norwegian athletes

Vidden_MD_04

LONG WAY TO GO. The signs along the way were not always an encouragement to our tired feet. PHOTO: LARIE-LUISE DEIKE

Hiking 13 kilometers up and down, while jumping over mud puddles, does take some time and energy.

It is Monday, the 1st of May. Bergen is indulging in the longest period of sun and relatively high temperatures since our arrival in January. Nice weather and a public holiday – perfect for a longer hike without even thinking about bringing those snow shoes. Today’s choice is Vidden, a 13 kilometer hike starting from Ulriken, passing over Rundemannen and down to Fløyen, three of Bergen’s most popular mountains.

Steep and challenging start

When we, the internationals, leave the bus at Montana, right where the path up Ulriken begins, some already realize that we have brought too many clothes – if the sun makes one of its rare appearances, you better bring sunscreen instead of a woollen jumper.

We decide to take the shortcut up Ulriken, which turns out to be quite challenging for some internationals. Nevertheless the view of beautiful Bergen, when we turn around, makes up for the hard work.

The path is steep and gives us the possibility to display our climbing skills. Proper hiking shoes are beneficial, though some internationals just use their sneakers.

Mountain Essentials

Along the way we realize that as a Norwegian you don’t only bring proper clothes, food and water, but your yoga mat as well. A challenging hike for internationals might be a stroll for Norwegians. But if you do not feel exploited by the walk up Ulriken, why not participate in one of the yoga classes on top of the mountain?

We decide not to work on our flexibility, as we still have the 13 km of Vidden to go. After passing the visitors’ center, you need to hike all the way up to the highest part of Ulriken. Then you’ll see a line of metallic poles and piles of stone winding up and down at the horizon – your way to go for the next five hours.

Here we find some last bits of snow, which have the perfect texture for a huge snowball fight.

Hiking around Bergen on public holidays and sunny weekends means meeting lots and lots of people on the way. If you rather enjoy nature in silence it is better to choose a weekday or to go on a more cloudy day.

VARIETY. Hiking along three of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen gives you the opportunity to experience the Norwegian nature with all its properties. PHOTO: Marie-Luise Deike

VARIETY. Hiking along three of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen gives you the opportunity to experience the Norwegian nature with all its properties. PHOTO: MARIE-LUISE DEIKE

Slow progress

Walking 13 kilometers straight might not sound that long, but hiking 13 kilometers up and down, while jumping over mud puddles, does take some time and energy.

– Oh, we just made the first 600 metres, great!

A sarcastic tone begins to spread among the group when reaching the first sign pointing to Fløyen. But the nice view and the sunshine on our faces makes up for the disappointing signs.

As we walk, some sporty-looking people run past us. We can see them keep keeping up the pace as they make their way further and further along the way to Fløyen.

– Those Norwegians are crazy, exclaims a student from Germany.

Wet feet and sunburned faces

Though the weather is really nice, snow and heavy rain leave their marks. The ground is soaking wet and so are our shoes – most of all the sneakers.

– Maybe I should have brought hiking shoes, admits a student from Australia.

As we make the last few hundred meters of  Vidden, Rundemannen appears in front of us – the last hurdle before reaching Fløyen.

Don’t take it easy

– Which way is Ulriken, and how much time does it take to go there? asks a foreign couple at the bottom of Rundemannen. It’s already past 7 pm, and they do not look like experienced hikers, wearing chelsea boots and not even carrying a backpack. We advise them not to go.

At around 8 pm we finally reach Fløyen with our legs and feet very tired, our bodies soaked in Vitamin D, and big smiles of relief on our faces. Proud of ourselves, we are ready to finish the day with a well-deserved barbecue.