Scaling the Heights in Norway
The Roof of Norway
I did not literally climb mountains but traversed the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe through the dramatic Norwegian countryside. We traveled by car through the Sognefjellet road that began in the town of Lom and ran alongside Bøver River. Buried under a pile of snow for much of the year, the road is only open between May and September. We were warned that we would be driving through a very narrow and bumpy road and that there would be no services along the way. We traveled in June and I saw lots of greens trees. The valley view was specked with occasional brown houses and a few turf houses. As the road climbed higher I saw waterfalls, cabins up in the mountains, and a glimpse of snow peak mountains. Our guide explained that Norwegians love the outdoors so it’s common to see cabins and hiking trails up in the mountains. Also, the government believes that nature and country are for everybody, so everybody is free to camp out and hike.
I could not stop taking pictures of the high snow peaks from a distance. So imagine my delight when the road plateaued and snow-covered mountain appeared before my eyes. It was actually a glacier, and a couple of dark lines (the equator line) ran through it. We stopped at a lookout to take pictures and admire the glacier up-close. A few yards later, I found myself walking on a ski run.
The spectacular drive continued with our guide pointing to the bluish mountain, the Jostedalsbreen Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. It was part of the Jostedalsbreen National Park.
I was so pre-occupied with taking pictures of the mesmerizing scenery that I did not feel the elevation or that we were at the road highest point. We continued on for more spectacular views at the Jotunheimen National Park “Home of the Giants” (so-called because it is home to more than 275 mountains that reach higher than 2,000 meters). We stopped at a lookout for another photo-op and to take pictures of Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Europe. The view for a large part of our drive along Sognefjellet was dominated by the Skagastølstind, Norway’s third-highest mountain.
Bergen: Funicular (Floibanen) to Mount FloyenTaking the funicular ride to Mount Fløyen is one of Norway's most famous attractions. The ride starts from Bergen's tourist center, just 150 meters from the Fish Market and the iconic Bryggen Hanseatic buildings along the waterfront (UNESCO World Heritage site). Riding the Funicular (Floibanen) is an experience in itself.
Mount Floyer towers approximately 320 meters above sea-level in Bergen. There's a viewing platform where you can see the surrounding landscape, the mountains across, the water, cityscape and beyond. There is also a restaurant, cafe and souvenir shops, children's playground. I understand that Billy goats are permanent residents of Mt. Floyen. And for those active travelers, there are a few hiking trails and a lake for those who just want to relax and meditate.
Press play and enjoy the ride.