The last port for the Vikings Homeland cruise was Bergen. The ship docked overnight and we had an apartment booked for five nights following the cruise. So we really were able to see quite a bit of Bergen. The weekend we landed was the Bergen Music Festival, so there was a lot going on in the city center. Boats were docked at the harbor full of musicians, singers and parties, many in traditional clothing.
We wandered through the fish market, marveling at all the different kinds of fish for sale, including minke whale.
The next day we checked into our apartment. We have had really good luck with Airbnb. Our apartment in Stockholm worked out great. This apartment was also nice. Too bad I didn’t find the easy way up the hill when we had our luggage. The neighborhood was really attractive.
Bergen is a lovely town. The area around the harbor is especially beautiful. Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen in a UNESCO World Heritage site.
From the UNESCO website: Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, is a reminder of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century. Many fires, the last in 1955, have ravaged the characteristic wooden houses of Bryggen. Its rebuilding has traditionally followed old patterns and methods, thus leaving its main structure preserved, which is a relic of an ancient wooden urban structure once common in Northern Europe. Today, some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape.
The second day we awoke to clear skies and decided that it would be the perfect day to go to Mt. Ulriken, the highest of the Seven Mountains that surround Bergen. We bused up to the base of the cable car, hopped aboard and rode to the top, 2110 feet. What beautiful views. One thing that boggled my mind was the square concrete landing that had no railings. I couldn’t even get close to the edge….big dropoff. Yikes. That would never be legal in the United States. But there were tons of families at the top, and no one seemed to worried.
After returning to town, we walked around quite a bit and decided that it was time for a break. So we stopped at a local bar. We watched a crusty, old guy that looked like he just got off a boat come in and signal the bartender. She gave him a shot. He downed it and then another. I asked her what it was. After trying to explain, she handed me the bottle. I ordered one shot for Mike and I to share. Very odd, but tasty vodka flavored with eucalyptus and menthol.
As long as we are on a seafaring theme… we also visited the Norwegian Fishing Museum. To get there we took a little boat from the harbor, piloted by a man that appeared to be well-versed in the way of boats. The museum was actually very nice.
We also visited the Coastal Museum. To get there we boarded a city bus and rode for an hour and a half through beautiful scenery until we came to the museum.
It is quite small and took us just an hour to tour. But the ride was worth the trip. The red flag on the map is Bergen; the arrow points to the museum.
The museum is quite small, but new with a beautiful view from the little cafe. We decided to have lunch, but all they served were pancakes. The were already made and served room temp with sour cream and jelly. The Scandinavians really like their pancakes and waffles.
Time for a visit to the Edvard Grieg Museum in Troldhaugen, Grieg’s former home in Bergen. Grieg was born and is buried in Bergen. He spent a good deal of his life traveling throughout Europe. I am not a musician, but his music is said to reflect both the Norwegian life and European culture. He is revered in Bergen and there are a number of buildings named after him. His home is an enjoyable tour, but the highlight was the 45 minute concert held in the newly-refurnished concert hall. Wonderful program in a gorgeous setting.
Hardanger Fjord…We went with our new friends Bridget and Tom on the Hardanger Fjord in a nutshell day trip.
Trains, buses and boats and beautiful scenery. Started at 9 AM and ended the day at 7PM.
Restaurant Cornelius was suggested by our friend Charlie’s former exchange student who is all grown and lives in Bergen. It was a treat. A boat picked us up in the harbor and about thirty minutes later we arrived at the restaurant. The evening started with a welcome and a story from the owner about his life and how the restaurant came to be. Hilarious. What followed was an exquisite meal in an unbelievably beautiful setting.
Beautiful city and the end of a great trip.
One last photo that I snapped on the way to the airport. A good chuckle.