In a land full of mountains, great trees and many waters, legends of mystical creatures echo throughout the landscape. It seems that in every valley, on every hilltop, or in every cave, there is a troll waiting to be found. Huldra, the elfin sirens of the forest, either bless you or curse you with their alluring beauty, and Thor, the god of thunder, will throw down his hammer and cause havoc in the land.
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 stop for travellers. It has made its mark in history with a Guinness Book world record by having the biggest 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. This is because it is not a large commercially-run theme park but a delightful small family business. The whole family is involved in performing in the shows, making the troll creatures and serving Norwegian grub in the cafe.
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. There is a whole shop of special handicrafts – my favourite were 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 baiting 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.
There are lots of things to see in the Hulderheimen Cultural Centre. The cafe is very rustic and 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 mountains.
As we headed into the sunset, the landscape was transformed – what once were majestic blue mountains were now gigantic trolls snoozing in the twilight.
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