"" Writer's Wanderings: Discovering Bergen, Norway, Again

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Discovering Bergen, Norway, Again

Bergen would be our last stop of this cruise before departing in another day in Amsterdam and ending our six week travel adventure. We look forward to going home but only to catch up a bit and plan for the next trip. This would be our third time in Bergen and we looked for something a little different to do but were concerned with traveling too far out into the countryside with the time restrictions. The next day would be a day at sea--not like we could just meet it at the next port in the morning if we missed the ship.

Instead we relied on my app, the GPS My City app. Again, it turned out to be a great tool. We saw places in Bergen we hadn't seen before. In visits past, we had stayed pretty much in the harbor area. This city walk took us away from the historic wharf for a bit.

Old city gate

The ship didn't dock in the same place as usual. We were in a commercial shipping area. It was a bit of a trek to get to main street by the port. Then a good walk to our first point of interest on my city introduction walk. We passed by the Hop On Hop Off bus. My ankle was doing quite well, still a little tender now and then but I could actually see my ankle bone and the bruising was beginning to fade. We soldiered on.

Our first point of interest was Torgallmenningen Square. Honestly, the Norwegians have the longest names for things. The square was very pretty even though we were still in some cloudy and drizzly weather. I think it was following us. 


As our commentary pointed out, Bergen has been plagued with fire after fire. Wooden houses and buildings built side by side made it easy for the fires to spread. After rebuilding and rebuilding they decided that redesigning the city with more squares and park areas would decrease the chance of a fire spreading so quickly through the city. The Torgallmenningen Square is full of nice stores, a monument to seamen and a blue stone that we never could find but was said to be a meeting place for people. 

On to the city park which is close by. It is beautiful with a large lake and lovely flower gardens around it as well as some interesting buildings. 

Walking past the city park, we ambled on through the drizzle to find King Oscars Street. There is a gate on one end of the street. Again some interesting old buildings including a hospital that was for treatment of leprosy and is now a museum dedicated to the disease. We passed.

Not far away was the Bergen Cathedral. To our disappointment it didn't appear to be open. Not only would we have enjoyed a look inside but a chance to get out of the rain that was a bit more than drizzle then. We did find a very small bakery to duck into for a coffee, tea and Bob's favorite, a cinnamon roll. 

St. Mary's

Refreshed and a bit drier, we passed on the Floibanen Funicular which was next on the list. Been there, done that and in much nicer weather conditions. Instead we headed for the Kjottbasaren Market which was supposed to be a fruit and vegetable market but turned out to be an old market building made into a whole bunch of restaurants. They all face the outside of the building and look quite nice but we planned on eating on the ship. Besides, there was that cinnamon roll....

The fish market was right nearby as well as extra food trucks. We began to get the idea that the city was gearing up for something else, not just the cruise ships. The fish market is always fun no matter what city you visit. We found whale meat at this one and heard one visitor ask what it tasted like. The answer was not chicken. The whale meat is very dark, even darker than the beef it was said to taste like. We contemplated buying some whale meat sausage but then passed on the idea. Not sure what kind of whales it came from but there was the picture of an orca on the front of the package.

Rosenkrantz Tower

Before long, we found ourselves at the historic wharf called, Bryggen. I am so glad I have pictures of it from previous trips. about a fourth of the buildings were draped for restoration and the area in front of them was a zoo of activity where they were setting up for the Tour of Norway bicycle race. I think it started in Bergen but it looked like they were still preparing for more events. 

The rain got a little heavier again so we ducked in and out of several souvenir shops in the wharf area. Eventually we made our way over to St Mary's Church which is normally open to visitors (for a fee) but this day was closed for a funeral. St. Mary's is the only survivor of the 12 churches and three monasteries that were built during the reign of King Olav (1066-1093). It is the oldest building in Bergen. There's a lot to be said for building with stone.

Onward to the Bergenhus Fortress and Rosenkrantz Tower while the rain was letting up. Bergenhus has been a military facility since 1628 and still houses some military in the fortress area. The Rosendrantz Tower seems to be a mishmash of several different buildings throughout its life. There were dungeons in the bottom, cannonballs on the top, and in between were resident areas. For $14 we could climb to the top. No thanks.

Even though the sun was beginning to break through, we had walked enough and we knew we were a good ways from the ship. It was about a forty five minute trip back using our Find My app to direct us to our suitcases left on the ship. 

Wouldn't you know it. The rest of the afternoon was filled with sunshine.

Something I have not mentioned but noticed again today are the old phone booths that are still around. No phones. Just books. Take one, leave one, I think. I would have taken a picture this morning of the one we passed but there was a lady inside of it looking through the books. Nice repurposing.

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