norway · Uncategorized

Bergen: Land of Loveliness

Originally published on 23 May 2014.

Next stop: Bergen, Norway!

Welcome to the cutest city in the world! It is definitely in my top 5 favorite cities in the world. Would you like a fun fact? I thought so! Arandale in Disney’s Frozen was set in a town modeled after Bergen! But best of all, our hotel looked like it was plucked right out of Frozen! Everything was purple or silver, and even the décor and symbols on the carpet looked like they’d just come out of the movie! Luckily, the temperatures in the hotel and in Bergen were above “frozen.”

Norway was sunny and bright when we arrived around 5:00ish that evening. After Denmark’s overcast skies, we were excited for some sun! Bergen (and, as we found, most all of Norway) is breath-takingly beautiful! The trees were so green, there were flowers of every kind, everywhere we looked the water was blue, and the old buildings were adorable and brightly painted.

Since we got there later than anticipated, we didn’t get out to do much exploring that first night. But we did wake up early enough to go for an exploratory morning run the next day! We ran along the waterline, up a hill, around the fish market, past a couple of churches and a couple of castles, and saw some very beautiful things! Steve runs faster and farther than I, but he was sweet enough to stay with me for a while!

We met up back at the hotel, showered, and headed down for a real Norwegian breakfast buffet! Smoked salmon comes at each and every meal, and pickled herring is delicious in several types of sauces! They also put out brownies and carrot cake, fruit (including passionfruit, kiwi, pineapple, grapes, and muskmelon), crepes, cook-it-yourself eggs, hard and soft-boiled eggs, juices or many sorts, and I’m sure some more things I’m forgetting! It was a true smörgåsbord!

After a thorough fueling, we were ready to take on Norway! First stop of the day: the Funicular, or Fløibanen! Up, up, and away! The mountain, Fløyen, is 320 meters (1,050 feet) above sea level, and the views on the way up and at the top are breath-taking! The funicular was built between 1914 and 1918 to help people who worked up the mountain to get to work. It’s engineered with German parts, and as it happened, the contract was made just before the German Mark lost a lot of value, so by the time they had to actually pay for it, the Norwegians ended up paying almost nothing for it! The system has been in continuous operation ever since, and it’s the #1 attraction in Bergen!

We also discovered there is a witch up the mountain. We didn’t see her. We’ll have to go back!

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Back down the mountain we went. We stopped into a 17th century museum, and I looked at getting a sweater in a couple of the shops, but I just couldn’t do it. I could NOT make myself pay 600 USD for any item of clothing, even something really cool and authentically Scandinavian! What we did find fascinating, however, is that all the shops on the Bryggen Wharf are extremely slanted! They’ve been standing for close to 400 years, though, so maybe they’re tired!

And speaking of Bryggen Wharf, that happens to be where the cruise ships, sailing ships, and other seafaring vessels still like to dock. We passed by several very large ships on our walk to the castle!

So much to see! We walked through the castle and glanced at a few more museums, window shopped on a pedestrian street, and saw a lovely lake with birds and flowers of many sorts. We eventually found where the train station is and looked into a couple of very old churches. But what was my favorite thing we saw? That would be the gardens outside the Natural History Museum. You know how I love my tulips!

By the time we got back to the hotel, my little feet were tired! I have to say, even though we spent fewer than 48 hours in the little town, it was my favorite place we visited on this trip! The little row houses and shops along the oldest part of the city looked very old Western to me, which makes sense, because many Scandinavians ended up settling the American West! The world is so interconnected and so interesting!

We knew we needed our sleep that night because we’d be making our way to the train station at 8:00 am. We would be heading all the way across Norway by train, bus, boat, train, and train again for our “Norway in a Nutshell” tour! Please join us (on Steve’s and my Mom’s birthday) on our trek across the country! We’ll wake in Bergen and snooze in Oslo!

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