Bergen?

On our final morning in Stockholm we woke up to a pounding rain, brisk wind, and temperature in the high 50’s. Of course we’re up at 5:00 to be able to catch our flight to Bergen, the gateway to the Fjords. The forecast for Bergen ain’t much better. Depression sets in as we butter a roll and lay on some processed meat the hotel provides since the kitchen isn’t open yet. Even the coffee runs out.

But, as we start to board the bus, the rain becomes a drizzle and even a bright azure strip appears between two black clouds.

Our plane actually leaves about 15 minutes early??!! Lifting up between puffy, fair weather clouds. We land in Bergen an hour later to a cool and partly sunny day. Fingers crossed.

[Big letters on the side of a mountain across from the airport – BERGEN? – almost like “What, me worry?” Driver tells us it’s supposed to mean that Bergen is full of surprises. Seems it can be interpreted other ways as well….]

Our new bus picks us up at the airport, we drop off our bags at the hotel (since our rooms aren’t ready yet) and takes us for an orientation tour of the gorgeous little city. As we reach the harbor the sky exposes even more blue. We see a small tidal wave of people engulfing the city, look up and see the cruise ships. Might be a great way to see the world, but not for people walking the other way. Nancy and Jeff – be aware on your special upcoming cruise to Scandinavia.

A beautiful, hundred year old three master still used for civilian and military training.

Environmental fact about Bergen. City is divided up into driving rings, much like in Paris. You need special permits and pay a huge price to drive in the city. In fact, combustion engine autos bought in Norway pay 150% tax. However, if you buy an electric car, you don’t pay that tax and can drive and park in the city center for free. I saw three Teslas turn the same corner in a row.

Norway is one of the world’s wealthiest countries, mainly because of their oil reserves. Good thing the dollar is strong against their Krona because cost of everything here is sky high.

We got off the bus at the fish market to be greeted by the guy above and amazing plates of paella and langoustines.

It was time for lunch so Marsha and I ordered a long sandwich with half cured Norwegian salmon and half shrimp in mayonnaise. A small plate of the paella was nearly $25 by the way.

Our walking tour began. We went off to explore the World UNESCO Heritage site, Bryggen, one of Bergen’s old neighborhoods. Even these neat manhole covers announce where you are.

This delicate, wooden old town. This Hanseatic quarter is a stark reminder that this part of “Norway” was German at one time.

This giant carving of a really ugly fish is a good example of the handicraft created there all the way up to today. There is obvious restoration of three of the older buildings that is really impressive.

After Bryggen we decide to take the funicular- a really modern one – up to the overlook on top of the closest mountain for some spectacular views on an unexpectedly beautiful day.

(Most of the view)

A slightly more interesting panorama.

Instead of taking the funicular back down we decided to hike back to town on the 3.5 km, one-hour trail down.

It was a beautiful, magical hike on our already very tired legs, but we didn’t realize it would make us too late to really explore the expansive KODA Art Museum, and it’s four or five buildings. Really too bad.

But we made do by finding more, unique Bergen sites like this period McDonalds.

This gazebo in a planted center square in town was mind-blowing.

And the fountain square near our hotel was really peaceful and quiet late in the afternoon, after the Cruise ship crowd had left for dinner and on-board entertainment.

We bid adieu to Edvard Grieg and bird as we retired to our room to decide on where we could dine, not too far. We found a Thai restaurant a four minute walk away and learned that good Thai dining is best found in New York and New Jersey.

I’m typing this post continually trying to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth – salt is a commodity best spared.

Tomorrow is a long travel day by bus, two trains, boat and another bus to view the amazing Fjords of Norway. The weather, unfortunately, is calling for light rain all day at 100%. But, today turned out beautiful. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed…and our hats, umbrellas and raincoats handy.

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3 Responses to Bergen?

  1. Anna says:

    Even before your blog, it was on my bucket list.
    Now even more so

  2. Pauline says:

    Bergen is more beautiful in your photos than my memory – makes me want to return!

  3. Larry R Kalajainen says:

    Brought back memories of the time we were there in the late 90’s. Not quite as expensive then, but not cheap either. Part of our time was a half-day cruise down the fjord, and a tour of Grieg’s house. Also remember the fantastic view from the mountain.

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