I’m an American, which makes me a genetic mutt of sorts, but all my life I’ve been exposed to little hints of Norwegian culture. My great grandmother who immigrated from Norway as a girl lived with us for several years and would make us certain desserts from Norway and share stories about growing up on a ranch in Montana, which is basically America’s Norway. It sparked an interest in the country and the culture and after talking about it forever, I finally pulled the trigger and took a trip and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.
Certain Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Iceland, and Sweden (maybe all of them for all I know) have a law called Allemansretten, which basically translates to “Everyman’s Right” or “Freedom to Roam,” and means that as long as you’re out of eyesight of a house, barn, or structure, you have a right to explore around the area. That kind of blew my mind the first time I heard it, since a lot of the time, “camping” in the US is very regimented and you have to stay within certain restricted areas even when supposedly exploring the “wilderness.” So with Allemansretten in mind, we decided to hoof it out into the hinterland and see what we could find.
We flew into Bergen via Boston and Reykjavik and took a bus into town where we putzed around before taking the funicular up to Mt. Fløyen. Even if you’re not interested in a strenuous hike, the funicular ride was great and led to a beautiful view of the city and the sea below. We got some advice from a local outdoor store then headed up the mountain and off into the hills. After the initial incline, during which we were surrounded by beautiful in-shape people of all ages, we were up in the more mountainous region and didn’t see anyone until we returned. We hiked through some bog-like areas, and through the treeline then it was scenery that looked exactly like what you’d imagine a viking horde to be marching through on its way back out to sea. We ended up at a pond or a small lake where we set up camp and spent the night. We went in summer, so the sun never really seemed to set, though we were kind of in a fog bank almost the entire time so who knows?
We spent another day out there until our food ran out then we hiked back into town and started off towards Oslo. With better planning I’m sure we could have seen even more amazing scenery, but this first trip was a great sample and I can’t wait to go back.