I recently took a weekend trip to Bergen, the “gateway to the fjords.” Read part one, The Tour, here. Read on for part two, Bergen!
Our last day in Bergen, we took to the streets. The food market was in full force and we enjoyed several things there in the morning… waffles, sausages in buns, croissants… and also this doughy blueberry pastry with custard on top.
We decided to take the funicular railway, floibanen, up the mountain and on recommendation from our roommates at the hostel, bought one way tickets so we could walk down the hiking path on the way down.
The trip up on the train was a neat experience as the track is quite steep (not quite as up and down as an elevator, but very close), and the car is nearly all glass, so you get to watch the world falling away as you ascend. It was mostly tourists in our car, but actually the people who live on the mountain side use it too, so there are several stops along the way for locals to get on and off.
The view at the top is incredible! You can see the whole town and why it is called the town surrounded by 7 mountains.
There’s also a playground at the top where we met Norway’s unofficial mascot… Everyone was having their photo taken with him.
The Norwegians have a great sense of humor and there were several of these “No witches flying” type signs everywhere around the park.
We also saw a totem installation in the forest of these human-animals. This bearded man-bird was my favorite.
There were loads of trails down, but we took a pretty direct one back to the center of town. The walk down is on a wide, paved path, though it is very steep and not particularly kind on the knees. We saw lots of people in spandex running up the mountain. Seems to be the thing to do on the weekend. There was even a charity organization giving away strawberry lemonade in cups half way down!
The path is flanked by lots of greenery, tiny waterfalls and moss. Everywhere moss.
Once back in the town again, we walked around some more, visiting local shops and exploring the other neighborhoods we’d missed. I quite like this sign. Michael Jackson crossing?
There were lots of shops that specialized in local or handmade goods and all of them carried impeccably designed or illustrated wares. A store called Ting in particular had a fantastic selection of home wares decorated by stylish, modern line drawings. I really loved these patterned cups.
Like most places in Europe, Bergen has utilitarian, but also thoughtful architecture. Most of the streets were narrow and cobbled with flat fronted buildings in nice colors right on the sidewalk. Some streets had bunting strung up between the buildings, and I enjoyed the town’s penchant for decoration. Even the manhole covers have a sweet illustration of the town.
At the end of our trip, we had a bit of money left over and pulled it out whilst thinking of what to spend it on. The 50 Kroner note (about £5) features this fantastic portrait of a man with the most serous neck-beard I’ve ever seen.
Bergen was a lovely place to visit and I can’t wait to go back to try really getting involved with the landscape more. Walking among the clouds and sitting on the shoulders of their mountain giants was surreal and delightful.