The stairways to mount Ulriken
Bergen is the second largest town in Norway and is concidered the place with most rain. It's not true but it do rain alot. We often have new weather records. 26 day in a row with rain, or 21 without. What about 93,9 mm rain poring down in just 24 hours. But it can also be the other way around.
The summer of 2018 was the warmest and dryest in many, many years. And when the sun shines we all change personality. The locals that is. The streets gets filled with people. There's not a seat availale at the street cafees. We smile, talk to strangers and feel completely alive.
And we celebrate by taking yet another hike up to mount Ulriken. The highest mountain surrounding the city of Bergen.
|The stairways to mount Ulriken|
There is several trails leading up to the mountaintop. The easiest way is to take the funicular. The best way is to walk to the top. It's steep so maybe it feels more like climbing for some.
The most used trail is about 1,9 km. 400 meters high, with an average angle of 22 degree. The name of the trail is "Oppstemten". Which is a wordplay based on the song made for Ulriken all the way back in 1775. The first part of the trail is a dirtroad. This part is also steep, and after about 1 km, in front of you the stairs begin and is ready to be walked. Start counting, it's 1300 of them.
|The funicular goes to the top of mount Ulriken|
In the summer of 2016 the sherpas arrived in Bergen. Their task was to build the stairs. Sherpa is the name of an ethnic group of people living in eastern Nepal. They are mountainpeople, born physically adapted to work in high altitude with heavy lifting. And they know how to build paths and stairs with stones.
It took 3 summers to get the stairs done. The project had trouble several times not having enough money to see it true, but every time, local people and compaines stepped in and donated more money. And in september of 2018 the stairs was finally finished.
Every day more than 1200 people use this trial to hike to the top, showing that it was well worth the money.
|Sherpas working on the stairs|
Climbing the stairs
Theres no pattern to the stairs. Some is long, others are short. They go in zig zag upwards, follow the natural curve of the mountainside. Since the stairs is located in a carver, theres not much view when going up. All you see is people going up and down, and maybe a sheep or two. Many will be running, other just have a high speed. Maybe it's not fun when everybody seem to be in better shape than you, but hey, everybody has to start somewhere.
Keep your eye "on the ball". The top is visible at all times, and it gets closer for every step you take. And when you have stepped on the last stair you are almost at the top, but you already have the view over the city, and the funicular almost on top of your head. Be sure to take a picture.
Going all the way to the top is a must. The view is breathtaking. Sit down on the benches and catch your breath. Have a cup of coffee at the Sky:skraperen cafe. When the evening comes, the cafe turn into a fine dining restaurant. Book a table at the window and get a view when it's dark outside. When the city lights are lit, it's a whole new town. So beatiful, so warm and full of life.
You don't want to be anywhere else.
|Left photo: Part of the outside trail. Right photo: Sky:skraperen cafe/restaurant|
|View of Bergen|
Take another way down
Going down gives you an opportunity to take another trail. There is one going on the outside of the mountain, meaning you have a view of the city all the way down. It involves some climbing using both hands and feet, but it's a great hike.
Further down on the path, details of the city becomes clearer and you'll se places you want to visit later. There is 7 mountain surrounding Bergen and all of them offers trails to the top.
No reason to stop now.
|Details from the trail.|
The easy way to the trail: Enter the Ulriken express bus in the city center. The adress is Strandgaten 1. The bus leaves every 30 minute between 09:00 - 18:00, from May 1 to August 1. You can buy ticket just for the bus and walk the stairs up and down, or you may want to take the cable one way. More information can be found at the Ulriken website.
The trip, starting from the lower station of Ulriksbanen, is about 4 km long and expect to use about one hour in moderate walking speed.
Be sure to dress for the weather conditions, it can be much colder on the top then in the city, and put on your best walking shoes.
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