Bergen - Our First Taste of Norway

We were in the air less than two hours when we saw the coastal edge of Norway, which is so much different than Iceland.  Hundreds of islands are scattered along the jagged coast, each one appearing to be green and inhabited.

Trees and lush greenery reminded me of the Black Hills of South Dakota and also the Black Forest of Bavaria.

It’s amazing how cameras work right through airplane windows.  Yes, I had a window seat.

The oceans waters were such a deep blue and the sky was mostly blue, too.  A lucky day for us.

We landed in Bergen at 5:15 a.m. Minnesota time, 10:15 a.m. Iceland time, and 12:15 noon Norway time.  But the day in all three places was Thursday, July 5th. 

Allan chose for us (online, prior to our arrival) an historic hotel in downtown Bergen, modern and renovated, a block from the canal and the Fish Market.  My favorite beds are built this way — two twins that don’t come apart and we each have our own blanket.  Notice the slanted windows, which is common here rather than dormers.

We learned that Bergen has a population approaching 300,000 and it’s the second largest city in Norway.

This is what we saw when we looked left out of our window.  See the other slanted windows.

This is what we saw when we looked right out of our window.  Tile roofs are popular in all of Europe.

Then we hopped on an open air trolley with a few other people to see what we could see of this Norwegian city.  It took us up a steep hill where our views got better with each turn.

We learned that Bergen is called the City of Rain, but we happened upon warm, 80+ degree, sunny days.

I couldn’t wait to get back to our room and changed into cooler clothes.  The sun was very hot.

We passed the Fish Market coming and going and were always surprised the place didn’t smell fishy.  That’s because the fish and the seafood were all fresh, most likely caught that very morning and put on ice.

Many of the Fish Market vendors handed out free samples to entice a purchase.  Most of them were selling the same thing — salmon, shrimp, herring, mussels, lobsters, crab and other varieties canned, skewered, and sauced.  It was an amazing array of food that stretched for about a block.

Cans of caviar were also stacked for sale like cans of tuna in our grocery stores at  home.  And we quickly learned that strawberries are sweeter and better tasting in Norway than anywhere else.

We ordered shrimp skewers and crab cakes cooked in a shell from this guy — they were delicious — and we also shared a cup of strawberries.

We sat down at this location to eat our shrimp and crab but it was too hot in the sun so went inside this restaurant next to the Fish Market.  They didn’t mind because we bought a glass of wine from them.

The ground floor of all these buildings are restaurants, and in the evening they haul out hundreds of chairs for an outdoor café atmosphere and they all get filled with people drinking large glasses of beer. 

People also visited Bergen by boat, the kind of boats that provide living and sleeping quarters.

A passerby offered to take a picture of us.  Now you can see that I did change into cooler clothes.  We were intrigued by all the homes constructed one above the other on those steep hillsides, and we were reminded of many places including cities throughout Italy.  In that same vein, Bergen is billed at the “City of Seven Mountains” while Rome is well known as the “City of Seven Hills.”

The first thing we did the next day — on Friday, July 6th — is climb aboard the funicular to ride to the top of Floyan Mountain which is 1,040 feet above sea level.

Everybody else on the funicular was looking up and out to take their pictures.  I looked down to see where we had come from. 

The views got continually better in this “City of Rain.”  It was another perfect 80-plus degree day.

The view was pretty outstanding and it was cooler at the top than at the bottom.

There wasn’t much else to do up there except take pictures and eat at the restaurant but we had eaten another big breakfast at our hotel — the whole meat, bread, cheese, eggs, cereal assortment of food.

Then Allan bought tickets for a two-hour cruise of the harbor.  Allan makes a good tour director.

The two of us sat in the very front two chairs in the bow of the White Lady, and we couldn’t tell you if there were other people on the boat or not because we never looked back.

We remarked on viewing the same things from a water versus land perspective.  From the White Lady we could see rows of boats parked all along the harbor and we could see how big the mountains were.

I took a picture of this building because it’s an Admiral Hotel, and Allan had made reservations at the Admiral Hotel in Copenhagen for when we arrive there on July 15th, on a friend’s recommendation.

We could see from the White Lady that homes were not built all the way to the top of the mountain.

I called this a Christmas Barge  -  or is it a Christmas Ferry?  -   because of its Christmas colors.

Now we know that some of those people hanging out at the Fish Market came from a cruise ship.

Allan has a “better” camera than I do, but I love my little wonderful camera that goes everywhere I do and takes up the tiniest amount of space in my purse or around my wrist, and takes many more pictures than his.  (Thank you, Jenny.)

Some Norwegians were out swimming and getting sun on a nearby hillside.

We were wondering if it might be some kind of youth hostel.

I  thought this was an interesting people-access to the harbor.  It accommodates high and low tides.

We were impressed by the stone and brick work throughout Bergen.  Very few plain sidewalks here.

The next morning it was raining a drenching rain so we hunted up our rental car and took off to find Isfjorden and the Orsen relatives up north of here.  I could tell you that it took over an hour for us to find the correct underground parking garage.  Those garages all look alike and we hadn’t given good attention to the location of ours.  Oofda.  At least we had our umbrellas as we walked from here to there.

Remember that bridge in the third photo from the top of this page?  This is it from a different perspective.