Our Norway in a Nutshell journey ended in Bergen, Norway. Bergen was Norway’s capital in the 13th century and today has a population of 240,000. The harbour and old quarter are the focus of any visit to this waterfront city.
We had booked an airbnb condo for the five of us and it was a great property. The modern apartment on the 10th floor of a trendy new building had fabulous city and harbour views from both the private balcony and the rooftop terrace.
Bergen gets an average of 80 inches of rain annually and in a good year, has 60 days of sunshine so we were very pleased to have good weather for our day exploring the area.
We enjoyed strolling the very picturesque harbourfront and through the fish market, where we had great fish soup for lunch.
The Bergenhus Fortress, built in the 1240s, was a garrison with a tower for the king’s residence and a large hall for his banquets. We strolled through the grounds, an appropriate area for the jousting practice that was taking place.
St. Mary’s Church (Mariakirken) is Bergen’s oldest building in continuous use, dating from the 12th century.
Bergen’s Hanseatic Quarter includes the brightly coloured buildings lining the harbour and the woody medieval quarter, where long rows of medieval-style plank buildings lean haphazardly across the narrow lanes. The wooden cod sitting next to a well is a reminder that this fish was the economic basis of this community through it’s history.
Ole Bulls Plass is a main street that leads up to the National Theater, which was built in 1909 in Art Nouveau style. At the square is a delightful fountain featuring a statue of Ole Bull. This violinist was a heartthrob in the 1800s – women fainted when hearing him play and his bath water was bottled and sold. Apparently, he fathered over 40 children.
We took a ride up (and down) Bergen’s Floibanen Funicular that climbs 1000 feet in seven minutes. The views from the top are spectacular.
I really wanted to visit the Leprosy Museum but to the relief of my travelling partners, it was closed for the season. Apparently, up until the 19th century, as much as 3% of Norway’s population had leprosy.
We enjoyed some relaxing time in Bergen – long coffee/tea breaks at Baker Brun and Starbucks and a delicious dinner at the Pingvinen Pub.
We enjoyed our day in Bergen and would definitely recommend a stopover in this city!