Even far down in the denst forest in Ænesdalen valley the precipitous and mighty Gygrastolen watches over you. Ænesdalen is not the easiest route in to Folgefonna, since it does not have good roads. But, the nature is magnificent. And if you first are on a trip through this unique valley, you will see how the vegetation here, as in many other valleys in western Norway, changes with altitude and light conditions.
Ølve has a special soil type. Here one finds an extra hard clay soil. This is especially noticed by those who work with excavating for building foundations and the like. Often it is necessary to use especially big digging machines and sometimes even dynamite in order to break up the compact masses. The reason for this is the growth of the glaciers toward the end of the Ice Age: The clay, that was first deposited in front of the glacier, came under great pressure when the glacier later grew and slid out over the clay.
All in all there are ten known copper mines and two iron mines on the Ølve peninsula. Geologically, the nine mines on Varaldsøy Island also should be figured in. The industry began at Lilledal in 1642 wth the mining of iron ore. From Jernsmauget by Dyråsen, the iron ore was sent to the iron works in eastern Norway.
Ænes has been one of the prosperous farms at the Mauranger Fjord in medieval times. At the time of Harald Gilles, around 1130, we hear of GAUT at Ænes. The noble families around the Hardanger Fjord were prominent in the political sphere from early on, and it is obvious that the fine and openly situated farm at Ænes was also a good place for a Church.
Below a south facing, steep rock at Årsand, there is one of the strangest ancient relics in the whole of Hordaland. The jutting rock wall forms a shallow flagstone – Geithilderen. Parts of the rock wall are covered by a light lime crust and on the crust figures have been painted in golden and rusty red colours.
Alvøen is one of the oldest industrial places in Norway. As early as the 1620s a gunpowder mill was built here. The place itself was well situated for industrial activity, lying only 100 m from the waterfall, which provided power for the mill, and a good harbour wherefrom the products were shipped. The success of the gun-powder mill varied in the 1600s and 1700s, but what made Alvøen best known was its paper production.
On the farm of Arnatveit, high up on the slope above the highway, an old smokehouse remains standing in the courtyard of the main farm property, in the place of the old common courtyard. Today this farm lies at the outskirts of a large housing estate. Most of the farmland of the other farm properties has been sold to benefit the city’s need of sites for the new community of Arna.
"With its strange situation (surrounded by high mountains), this city has the advantage of a beautiful port and considerable shipping, but also the disadvantage that once on land one cannot get to the city without great inconvenience. This is because the weather in the vicinity of these high mountains is extremely unpleasant and rainy. There has even evolved an expression that is always rains in Bergen, and we have not experienced anything to counteract this saying." (a quote by the Dutch professor Fabricius after a visit to Bergen in ca. 1780).
In the 1300s Bergen was a trading centre of European dimension. The town is thought to have had around 7000 inhabitants and was the largest and most important in the country. In a European context it was an average size town. At this time the most tightly built town area was still mostly east of Vågen from Holmen in the north to Vågsbotn in the south. Already in medieval times, latest in the 1340s, this area was called Bryggen.