By Zoe Watson, University of Bergen
- Treat yourself to at hot chocolate at Mount Ulriken
Mount Ulriken is the highest of the ‘Seven Mountains’ surrounding Bergen and the view from the top is nothing short of spectacular. There are panoramic views across the city, sea, fjords, and mountains. chocolate here costs around £4 which I have discovered is a very reasonable price for Norway! Stay warm in the restaurant and enjoy the views, and maybe even a pastry too.
If you choose to reach the summit on foot, then you have the choice of the Sherpa Steps (1,333 steps built by Sherpas themselves) or if you do not like to climb stairs, you can take a different path from the same starting point that is less well marked. It must be noted that in winter the steps are slippery from snow and ice, and thus you need spikes on your shoes. The walk to Ulriken is suitable for all ages and takes about 1.5 hours from the base. However, you will probably see a lot of very fit Norwegians running past using the steps as exercise rather than leisure! Alternatively, there is the Ulriken Cable Car, though it is fairly expensive with a return journey costing around £28.
2. Host an international dinner
Eating out is very expensive in Bergen, so, instead, why not host an international dinner with your friends from around the world! The concept is simple: everybody prepares a traditional (or stereotypical) dish from their home country and then everybody eats together. As food is more expensive in the supermarkets compared to the UK, this dinner is not only a cultural exchange, but also a chance to have a more exciting meal than you are used to!
Personally, I made an Eton mess dessert to represent the UK. Though, German potato salad was a firm favourite at the dinner I attended! Challenge yourself to invite a range of nationalities to make for a more exciting and diverse dinner.
3. Enjoy a bathe at the Nordnes Sjøbad
Generations of locals have enjoyed an outdoor swim at Nordnes Sjøbad. Nordnes Sjøbad is a 25m long, saltwater swimming pool found next to the Aquarium in Nordnes Park, just a short walk from the city centre. In the winter season, which begins in October and ends in April, the fresh seawater pool is heated to an inviting 30 °C (86°F). You can also take a dip in the sea and then run back into the heated pool! The atmosphere is great; there is music (Christmas songs, too), LED lighting and views of the city at night, if you choose to take an evening swim. A winter swim costs around £7, and also gives you access to the saunas.
4. Relax at a movie night
A simple, but effective and cheap way to socialise and relax in the winter months. Many of the common rooms in UIB’s student accommodation have TVs or even projectors, so make the most of this and enjoy a film night with your friends. Why not try some international films too, with English subtitles, of course! Bring popcorn or ask everyone to contribute some snacks to make for comfortable viewing.
5. Take a boat trip to visit beautiful Rosendal
The cruise takes about two hours one way, and you can spend 3 1/2 hours in Rosendal, where you can stroll around this beautiful village, visit the Barony Rosendal and its rose garden, The Folgefonn Centre or go for a walk in lovely scenery. In the summer months you can also visit the Barony in Rosendal, which is Scandinavia’s smallest castle and the only one of its kind in the country. The castle is within walking distance to the center of Rosendal and is famous for its magnificent landscape park with the rose garden and a rich cultural program with concerts, bourgeois theater, lectures and art exhibitions. Bring a packed lunch and make a day of it!
Tickets for this boat seem expensive, at around £22 each way. However, this is significantly cheaper than the ‘fjord tours’ and ‘day cruises’ available from Bergen city centre, which can easily cost £70-£100. For less than £45, you can enjoy stunning scenery and fjords for significantly less than on other cruises. Furthermore, with the youth ticket transport pass (aged 20 and under), the Rosendal boat is included!