"" Writer's Wanderings: Port of Call - Bergen, Norway

Friday, June 15, 2012

Port of Call - Bergen, Norway

Bergen, our last port of call before ending our cruise in Dover, England, is a sprawling city. I didn't realize that on our first visit. This time, we decided to take in the view from the top of Mt. Floien. From the pier, we walked past the Bergenhus Fortress we had explored before and along the harbor area past the Bryggen historic area, promising to return and look around on our way back.

We passed a beautiful tall ship called the Statsraad Lehmkuhl. Apparently it is a ship where one can learn to sail. It also competes in the tall ship races and has quite a history that I believe dates back to 1914.

It was a bit early for the fish market. We started through it but most of the vendors were still setting up shop. While we rested a bit on a bench, we studied our map and thought we knew which direction to go to find the funicular that would take us up Mt. Floien. After several wrong turns that took us down some very quaint streets, we finally found our way to the entrance to the funicular.

Now the last time I was on a funicular, there was a woman who was absolutely petrified of the experience and I thought she was going to lose it on the way. Wouldn't you know, a woman sat down next to me and as soon as the funicular started up she began to act strangely and her behavior escalated the higher we got to the point that I was sure she was going to pass out. To her credit when we stopped at the top, she seemed extremely proud of herself that she'd made it.

Exiting the funicular, we were immediately rewarded with a glorious view of the city. The sun was shining. The air was fresh with a cool breeze and the day promised to be perfect. We sat for a few minutes and just took it all in then we walked around the outside of the restaurant that is at the top and looked in several other directions to see Bergen sprawling out between the mountains and waterways of the area.

Bob noticed that on the roof of the structure that housed the funicular station and a gift shop, was a miniature cable car track complete with two cable cars that moved at the same time the real funicular did. We watched as they crossed in the middle and as soon as they reached the ends, our ride down had arrived. Thankfully our compartment mates on the ride down were seasoned riders.

Back at the bottom of the mountain, we walked a short distance to the quaint McDonald's where we ordered coffee and took advantage of the free WiFi. It was much appreciated since our internet aboard the ship had been a bit slow and uncertain due our position so far north where we didn't pick up the satellites quite as well. And since it was free, we could even catch up on our Facebook friends.

Our coffee cups empty and our internet interests filled, we moved on to the historic wharf area called Bryggen. As a shipping harbor, the Bryggen was an important place for warehousing and selling merchandise. The historic area has interesting twists and turns and is full of old wooden structures most of which are lopsided. There is a lot of restoration going on. The area, being wooden, has had many fires throughout its history but it has always been rebuilt in the old way and style. It is a UNESCO World Heritage spot.

Somewhat reluctantly we returned to the ship. This was our last port before the end of our cruise. Our last touch with beautiful Norway--the last until we return again. Something I'm sure we will plan to do.

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