It is fitting that a funicular that climbs a very steep hill up to a mountain with a spectacular view is a Capricorn. It is also fitting for a Capricorn that the company that runs it, is the only transportation company in Bergen (if not Norway) that has no debt and wants to expand its business with caution. I’m talking about Bergen’s most popular tourist attraction, the funicular up to Mt. Floien, Fløibanen. In spite of embargoes during World War I, two teak carriages and the cable for them did finally make it to Bergen and the work started first proposed in 1895 was completed, letting the funicular make its first regular trip up the mountain on January 15, 1918. In its first year of operation, Fløibanen carried 500,000 passengers to and from skiing and hiking trails – and that gorgeous view. Last year it carried 1.2 million people, including local commuters, and the funicular’s owners are looking to increase that number.
The current carriages are painted metal with large surfaces in plexiglass so you can catch a glimpse of the gorgeous view, or at least the sky, even in a crowded carriage. I usually take visitors on a funicular ride. It’s not exactly a cheap ride, but it’s one of the few things tourists do where they quickly forget how expensive Norway is simply because both the destination and the ride itself are so different and so awesome.