In a country full of mountains, legends of mystical creatures echo throughout the land. It seems in every valley, on every hilltop, or in every cave, there is a troll waiting to be found.
Norway is certainly magical and the legends of old still have a place at every campfire. I love hearing about the Norse folktales and how simple stories have become legends. So, on our trip to Senja island, Hulder and Troll Park was a must-see.
The family park is in the middle of Senja island and is a perfect pit-stop for travellers. It has made its mark in history with a Guinness Book world record by having the tallest troll since 1997. Inside the Troll is a fairytale land created from Senja troll legends. In summer, there are troll shows, story-telling and even a disco for the kids.
Even though Hulder and Troll Park is one of the most popular family attractions in Northern Norway, it still has that special charm. It is not a large commercially-run theme park but a delightful small family business.
The creator of Hulder and Troll Park, Leif Rubach, is widely cherished as the ‘Troll Father’. When he is not performing in the shows or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, he is sitting at his craft table in the Hulderheimen Cultural Centre, hammering away at his pewter handwork.
In the centre there is a coffee shop with a gallery of speciality handicrafts. My favourite trinkets are the Mitten Trolls. They were inspired by Troll Father’s childhood in Gryllefjord, a little town in the next fjord over. After a hard day on the sea, fishermen would hang their mittens on the boating shed to dry. To deter their children from playing on the pier, parents would tell stories about the little trolls that lived in the fishermen’s mittens.
The Hulderheimen Cultural Centre is part folktale museum–the walls are filled with pictures and stories from the area. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the old fishermen and intriguing characters who worked in the nickel mine down the road. The gallery is themed on the Senja troll myths and ‘my penny dropped’ when I saw the likeness of the trolls and Norwegian mountains.
Visiting Senja Troll changed my perspective of the Norwegian nature. As we headed into the sunset, the landscape was transformed–what once were majestic blue mountains were now gigantic trolls snoozing in the twilight.
Now I see trolls everywhere!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, the Senja Troll burnt down in 2019. There are plans to rebuild.