It’s no secret that Norway is one of our favourite countries in the world. It has held a special place in my heart since I first travelled to Bergen about 14 years ago to visit a friend I’d met while living in Spain. I have since returned to see her marry the love of her life and to meet her children. Norway now feels a little like a second home. For our close friends who live there, but also for its breathtaking natural landscape and the enviable outdoor culture that comes with it. I expect this love affair will last a lifetime.
Bergen is my friend Mariann’s home which means not only have I been there a few times, I have got to experience a lot of what it has to offer with each new visit. What I loved most about our last visit was when The Hubby took to the fields for a hike. We hiked from Mount Ulriken to Mount Fløyen and it was an incredible day.
One afternoon while staying in Mariann’s house in Askøy, just outside of Bergen, we took her son out to the back of their property to pick fresh hazelnuts from the tree. We gathered our bounty and sat together breaking the goods and eating them raw. It was such a lovely activity to do together and reminded me of my childhood growing up in country Australia.
We travelled to Tranøy to stay in their family cabin for the weekend. I had done the same on my first trip to Norway all those years ago, but it was a memory I treasured. So I really looked forward to returning again, this time with both of our husbands too. We hiked, picked fresh blackberries, went fishing, played cards, ate a lot of home cooked food and really enjoyed our time together. We were away from technology which can easily take the joy out of experiences like those. It was such a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.
We spent one night in the gorgeous little town of Rosendal on our way to Folgefonna National Park. A scenic two-hour drive from Bergen, it’s the ideal base for hiking. We spent a drizzly day climbing the slippery trails of one of the mountains just near town. While the path was a little slippery and we got very wet, we loved every minute of it. It felt like we had the mountain to ourselves. Half way up we took shelter from the rain under a tree, hugging a cup of coffee and taking in the sweeping views back down to the fjord. It was heaven.
Folgefonna National Park, Norway
Folgefonna National Park is one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been to. We drove the windy roads from Rosendal until we reached the bottom of the glacier, one afternoon. It really felt otherworldly. Exploring the park for a couple of hours, we only saw two other cars and there were just a few cabins we passed sitting peacefully among the vast landscape. When we reached the glacier, we stood in awe of it for some time, shaking from the cool air. It was extraordinary.
It wasn’t until a couple of days later that we returned to traverse the top of the Folgefonna Glacier. Waking up with the flu, I almost cancelled the trip but I knew I might miss the opportunity altogether and I just couldn’t risk it. So I rugged up, we jumped in the car and making our way through Jondal we drove the steep, icy roads past farm land to the fog and snow covered peaks. A tiny hut waited at the very top; the starting point for our glacier walk. That day on the ice turned out to be one of the best of my life.
Bjørnefjorden, Os, Norway
It’s hard to believe the Solstrand Hotel and Bad was only 30 kilometres from busy Bergen. The hotel is true retreat from the city, sitting on the Bjørnefjorden. With a full wellness spa onsite, we spent our afternoon there, recovering from a morning in the mountains. At dusk, we dined on fresh, local fare with a view of the fjord watching as the sky became flushed with a brilliant fuscia before the fog rolled in to reach the waters edge.
Watch our trip highlights on The Fit Traveller TV