Don’t dismiss Bergen for it’s constantly rainy weather. In the 3 days 2 nights that I spent there, I learned that there is so much more to this charming old city than it’s weather.
Similar to London – that is always described with the words “cloudy”, “gray”, “rainy”, etc. – Bergen is a little unlucky with the weather department – but it makes up for it with so much history (buildings/museums), wonderful restaurants, quaint little cafes, and a whole lot of fish cakes!
I’m one of those travelers who has to constantly convince herself that it’s worth going into spooky museums and old buildings (because I’m not very comfortable in old buildings – I’m actually afraid they are haunted). [you can laugh now] The Hanseatic Museum, for example, was nice but it was a bit scary too as part of the decor were dried fish hung from the ceiling. I didn’t take photographs in this museum as the lighting was not very good (it’s a dark, wooden building) and I think it’s something you should see for yourself. A flash lit photograph of the items in the museum won’t do it justice. It’s not just the items that are interesting, it’s the whole feeling you get when you are there.
It’s amazing how much further we have moved from our ancestors in terms of living comforts and such. The sleeping area in this museum was like a cupboard with doors. You opened the doors to get into the bed. The bed itself was tiny, like 4 to 4.5 feet wide. I guess people in the 13th to 17th century were much smaller than us.
Another thing was the lighting – or lack of. It seems during this time, people used cod liver oil lamps. How cool is that? They must have had a lot of cod liver oil! These days the only cod liver oil I see is the expensive health supplement 🙂
I’ve become a bit of a Japanese food junkie – in a positive way – probably because I’m itching to go to Japan. (Mr. Hausmann, are you listening?) I came across a wonderful Japanese restaurant (Nama Sushi). The boyfriend and I were trying to convince his parents to try out Japanese food so we were looking around for a nice, comfortable restaurant that served good Japanese food and Nama Sushi fit the bill. The waitress was so patient and accommodating. The food itself was really good – very authentic (in my opinion, at least).
Apart from the museum and the restaurant, we also went to Haakons Hall – a building built in the 13th century for the King to use for banquets, dinners, etc. It’s a nice display and when you walk around the building you kind of feel like you are part of a Scandinavian historical period film 😉 Some parts of the ground was not even smoothened so you can see the rough stone on which the building was built. It was sad to read that a major part of the hall was damaged by an exploding ship (by accident) in the 1940s. According to Wikipedia:
The stone structure was undamaged, but the wooden roof caught fire and burned up. The fire also destroyed all the decorations from the first restoration. A second restoration took place in the 1950s, and the hall was reopened on 11 September 1961, the 700th anniversary of its first use. It is now decorated more discreetly, primarily with tapestries.
It would have been nice to see the hall before the explosion.
Ah, a trip to Bergen will probably not be complete unless you ride the Furnicular train: Floibanen. This train ride is quite fun but it only lasts for 7 minutes – with a nice view on both sides. I like that the train is wheelchair accessible – goes to show that some countries have not forgotten about their people with special needs. (Did you know that in Oslo, people on wheelchairs get free public transport? I think that’s really nice.) Wikipedia claims that there are stops in between … strangely the train did not stop in between. It was a full ride from Vetrlidsalmenning to Fløien.
So why take this train you ask? The answer is simple: for the view. When you are up at Fløien, the view of the city is beautiful. It’s a very calm, peaceful place – if it weren’t full of tourists 😉
Another nice attraction is the Fish Market – but unfortunately there’s some construction going on around the harbour which really ruins the view of the harbour from the market. The market itself is full of different kinds of fish – you can even eat fresh sushi there. It was kind of rainy the few times we were around that area so we didn’t really buy anything – but we did take a good look around. If you’re not a fan of fish – stay away 🙂 The “fragrance” of it wafts all through the market.
Something we did try (not at the market but near the mall area) was a fish burger with taco sauce. I thought it was pretty good (because I don’t mind fish cakes) but the boyfriend was not really a fan.
Anyway, I should probably sign off here – been in Tourist Guide Mode for a while now. If you’re like me – living in Norway for a few years but have not felt like venturing around Norway – a visit to Bergen will change your mind. I’m now very tempted to travel around Norway as well; not just outside of Norway. My plan is to go to Trondheim as well as Tromsø one day. Hm, I think you can see Northern Lights in Tromsø 😉
P/s – I’ll put some photos up on Flickr soon