I am starting to get the same yearn for outdoors as the Norwegians – or that’s what I like to think. Two weeks ago, I found myself in Tursenteret, which is the center of the local hiking club. As I stood there and opened my mouth, I heard myself utter the words “I am interested in the seven mountain hike”. I left the place with a ticket and a mixed feeling of excitement and fear.
Seven mountain hike, 7-fjellsturen in Norwegian, is organized in May and it’s a hard hike of 35 kilometers. It is a tradition that was born in the same year as my mother: 1948. During the day you will conquer seven mountains in Bergen: Lyderhorn, Damsgaardsfjellet, Løvstakken, Ulriken, Fløyen, Rundemannen, and Sandviksfjellet. The total elevation of the walk is 2400 meters and it is estimated to take around 10-14 hours to finish. Luckily, there are alternatives. Families with small children prefer to hike three of the mountains, and I signed up for the 4 mountain hike, which is a shorter hike of 15-20 kilometers.
But how to get in shape and get a hang of what you are up against? No worries. Another good thing about outdoorsy Norwegians is that they organize all kinds of hikes on a volunteer basis. Last week I participated one of them: a hike up to Ulriken with Byfjellstrimmen. Even though Ulriken is considered an easy hike, it was strenuous for me because this group was for those who can keep up with fast pace. However, as soon as we reached the summit, the amazing view made me forget about any discomfort I might have felt during the climb. The tour guides were friendly and they kept an eye on the whole group with a relaxed and upbeat attitude. This tour was organized together with the Til topps group, a Red Cross group that arranges hikes for immigrants so that they can speak Norwegian and get to know other people. A lovely idea, I’ll say.
Next Sunday, the game is on and I’ll spend my day in search of my inner “friluftssjelen”, the “outdoor soul” that describes the Norwegians. However, it does not help that the weather forecast predicts a heat wave for Sunday. Hiking under the hot sun is hard for a Finn who spends most of her year in the dark. Plus I still remember that one summer when I “accidentally” hiked with my friends from Eze-sur-Mer up to Eze-Village along Sentier Nietzsche. Needless to say, we should have been on the beach in Nice drinking Margaritas instead of climbing, unprepared, in the footsteps of Nietzsche, no matter how philosophical that made us afterwards.