This morning, a bitter-sweet taste hung in the air that comes with travelling. The family was to retreat to their summer cabin by boat, and I was to return to Oslo. After a rushed breakfast and a messy packing experience, I found myself on a bus to the Bergen train station in the city centre. I had been pondering what to do in the four-hour period I have before my train leaves. Today would be 20°C, and blue sky was peeking through the clouds.
I was determined to summit Mount Fløyen again, but this time by foot.
I checked in my luggage at a locker in the station, and set off slinging only my camera bag over my shoulders.
Fløyen is sort of the Lion’s Head of Bergen. People of all ages, shapes and sizes track along the paths. It is not incredibly high, but it is a stretching walk. The first leg consists of steep staircases that really push the calves. Then afterwards the slopes are gentler. I still had to maintain a brisk walk in order to make it up and down in time to catch my train. With my bag on one shoulder and my camera on the other, I set off.
I am glad I did this. As I ascended I could see Bergen through the trees sprawled out below. Many people do this walk on a regular basis. It is sort like an ‘all roads lead to Fløyen’ type of feel, and many paths have been tracked up the hillside. I took the longer scenic one.
It felt good to be walking. I feel like I’m actively participating in the landscape, and really soaking in all the details of the route, including the trees, the view, other hikers and the odd structures. It also felt very safe, unlike the immobilising effect of crime in South Africa. Fløyen is littered with statues and benches parked at the most convenient spots. As I come close to the top there were signs warning superstitious travellers about the witch in the woods.
It felt good to be on higher ground again. I took a few moments to acknowledge my achievement and turned to descend the same way.
I still had some time once I reached the bottom before my train left. I found my way to a cute coffee shop called BKB (Bergen Kaffebrenneri). I was in for a surprise. It turns out this is the first roastery in Bergen, toasting coffee beans since 2010. The main roastery and coffee shop is in the city centre, but my shop was its sister, open since 2014. The coffee cult is every on the rise and Norwegians are embracing craft coffee into their culture. This coffee shop had a rather acoustic feel, much like Deluxe.
I was hot and sweaty, so juice was my first demand. I swallowed a spinach and banana smoothie before digging into my yoghurt and granola lunch. I asked the barista about the coffee culture in Norway. She said it is fairly new, but the locals are starting to move away from the mass produced coffee to appreciate different roasteries.
Most people seek out bartenders when ailing; I find solace in baristas. The coffee shop is my therapist. It’s a familiar place where I can always find comfort and conversation, a big need when travelling alone. I am convinced that baristas are the bartenders of the modern era.
I couldn’t leave BKB without grabbing a coffee. Lovies (my barista) poured me a medium roast Ethiopian coffee blend. Damn, it was good. I had just stepped outside with my takeaway cup in hand, the drops started to fall. I knew the rain can come down pretty hard in Bergen, so I rushed to the train station, which was a ten-minute walk away. Luckily it was a summer rain which fell gently onto the warm tar, letting that familiar home grown smell waft into the air. With my coffee in hand and a smile on my face, I headed to the train.