One summer’s evening I went for an after dinner walk and rode the Floibanen funicular in Bergen, Norway. A funicular, according to Wikipedia, is “a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope; the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other.” I makes for a quick ascent in comfort. There are glimpses of Bergen along the way with the final big reward at the top. The views of Bergen are spectacular.
The Floibanen takes about 8 minutes to reach Floyen at 320 meters above sea level. Floyen offers a restaurant, souvenir shop and snacks. After admiring the view and taking pics, I bought a bottle of water and began the approximately 30 minute walk downhill to town.
All along the way there sights to admire–interesting plants and birds, exuberant Norwegians exercising, beautiful homes and neighborhoods. I had an interesting conversation with a local who drives in to use the trail for exercise. She shared the current housing prices ($4 million NOK, July 2013) and tolls to enter center of town by car (just increased from 9 NOK to 20 NOK) and other local knowledge. Living in Norway is expensive!
It was terrific exercise–I felt it in my legs for the next couple of days–and good practice for Pulpit’s Rock.
This is affordable entertainment: adults can ride one-way for 40 NOK or 80 NOK return. Children ride for half the price and a family of four can travel for 200 NOK.
It is a 10 minute walk from the cruise ship wharf to the bottom station if you are stopping for the day in Bergen.
This was my first ride on a funicular and I began to notice how many places have one–to Notre Dame Cathedral in Lyon, to Sacre de Coeur in Paris. Recently I used the cable car version of a funicular in Wellington to quickly get to the top of the Botanic Gardens. It is novel transportation and saves your legs when you are trying to see as much of a place on foot in a day.