Trondheim and Bymarka Nature Preserve

Continuing north on the western coast of Norway, our next port was Trondheim.  Trondheim is a much larger city than Alesand, about ten times the size, and is much older.  The city was founded in 967 and became a seat of government early on.  Today it is a university town with a bustling city center and many historic spots.

Tom and I started our day with a shore excursion that took us to the Bymarka Nature Preserve for a hike up a mountain.  Although the metro area has 280,000 people, all Norwegians are guaranteed by law to have access to natural areas.  Trondheim is surrounded by forest which is only a short drive or bike ride from most of the city.  Bymarka Nature Preserve is part of that natural area.  The 31 square-mile park has 120 miles of hiking and cross-country skiing trails.  There is even a ski jump and some downhill skiing in the winter.

Guide Mia

Our guide, Mia, told us some of the history of the natural areas in Norway as we drove to Bymarka.  She is from France but moved to Norway because she said there is a better work/life balance in Norway.  Once we reached our trailhead we hiked up the mountain and were treated to fantastic views.  We could see lakes, fjords, and snow-covered mountains.  It was a beautiful day and wasn’t cold at all, even at the higher elevation.  The trail was a little uneven over rocks, but I found it a lot easier than the crowded steps of Mount Aksla the day before.  It reminded me of hiking at Cumberland Gap last summer.

We had some time to wander around on top of the mountain before we headed back down.  Then Mia took us to an overlook where we could see the town of Trondheim spread out below.  I think the viewpoint is required for every tour group in Trondheim because there were lots of groups there at the same time.

Waiting our turn at the viewpoint

When we were finished with our hike and viewing, the bus driver dropped us off at Nidaros Cathedral.  The Cathedral was originally started in 1070 but it has gone through many renovations.  It is built over the burial site of King Olav II (reigned 1015–1028), who became the patron saint of the nation.  The cathedral is the traditional location for the consecration of new kings of Norway.  It is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.

Carvings on the west face

The cathedral was badly damaged by fires in 1327, 1531, 1708, and 1719.  Each time, the church was rebuilt.  The last restoration began in 1869 and was completed in 2001.  Maintenance of the cathedral is an ongoing challenge.  To help with the maintenance, they charge for admission to the cathedral, which we were happy to pay.  There is a nice visitors center next to the cathedral with a cafe and a museum in the former Bishop’s Palace on the other side.


Tom and I had lunch in the cafe.  I got quiche and a brownie, which were good but not very adventurous.  Tom was the adventurous one.  He ordered suksessterte, which is an almond cake with a special icing.  He said it was delicious.

Tom and I walked around outside the cathedral, admiring the elaborate stone figures on the west front of the church.  The Nidaros Cathedral is just as beautiful inside.  The oldest part of the church is the nave, with the stone walls from the original building.  The restoration that was completed in 2001 kept as much of the original appearance as possible.  The beautiful stained glass windows look historic but were all installed in the 1990’s.  There are two organs.  One is from the 1700’s and the other is modern.

Old town bridge

After admiring the cathedral, Tom and I walked around the old town along the Nidelva river.  We crossed the Old Town Bridge and kissed under the arch.  Supposedly you will love each other forever if you kiss under the arch.  We found the city center and checked out a few of the shops.  Then we headed for the ship which was harder to find than usual.  We only spotted it when we finally got to the waterfront.  But, on the way, I did manage to find a yarn shop.

We enjoyed our time in Trondheim and especially the hike in Bymarka Nature Preserve.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful place.