jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 98 [07 May 09] – Bergen

Posted in Bergen by jn82 on May 7, 2009

After hanging around the hotel till around 10.45am because it was raining and hailing outside, the sky started to clear up a bit, so we headed into the city by bus, as the hostel is >5km from the city centre. We stopped near Bergen’s famous fish market at Torget, which sells anything from tourist crap to a seafood meal, hoping to catch the hustle and bustle of it all, but due to the poor weather, almost all the stalls were closed and there were hardly any people around. Crossing the road, we got to Bryggen, the old medieval quarter and UNESCO World Heritage site on the eastern side of Vågen. It is here among the Hanseatic commercial buildings that the allys that run along the less-restored sides of the long timber buildings reveal an intriguing glimpse of the stacked-stone foundations and rough-plank construction of centuries past.

Along the water front.

The many colourful timber buildings.

Just looking at the buildings gives you the feel that Bryggen is caught in a time warp and remains frozen in the 16th century when these buildings were constructed. Walking around inside the smaller streets, the feeling is even more surreal as even all the buildings away from the main street retain the same 16th century architecture and you feel whisked back in time.

Walking around the smaller streets.

Shop somewhere inside the Breggen.

Once we were done walking around and looking at the buildings and shops, we walked by St Mary’s church (Mariakirken), so just went in for a look see because as you can tell, we just love visiting churches/cathedrals. This is a very small Lutheran church, but the interior is done up very ornately. Very nice.

Inside Mariakirken.

Next, we headed to the Hanseatick Museum nearby, which contains some of Norway’s creakiest floors in this timber buildings. In here, period character flourishes, while furnishings and odd bedchambers give a glimpse of the austere living conditions of Hanseatic merchants.

A fish press, to pack as many fish into the barrels.

Sleeping quarters (which appear better than a few hostels we have stayed at).

The next stop was to Rosenkrantztårnet (Rosenkrantz Tower), which was built in the 1560s by the government as a residence and defence post. Unfortunately it was closed today, so maybe we will come back on Friday to have a look.


Having some time to kill before dinner, we decided to take the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mt. Fløyen (320m) for a panoramic city view. The return ticket costing 70kr (S$16.50) was pretty expensive for just a five minute ride each way, but we were too lazy to trek over an hour each way. Upon reaching the top, the view of the city was decent, however since the sky was all grey and misty, the view was not as good as it could be on a clear day.

View of Bergen from Mt. Fløyen.

After hanging around at the top for over an hour just taking it all in, we headed back down and took a short walk into the city centre for dinner at Pingvinen, a place recommended by the Lonely Planet guide book. Looking at our first non-instant noodle, non-McDonald/Burger King and non-kebab meal for over a week, we had some really reasonably priced Norwegian fare for around 200 kr (S$45) a person. We both had a fish soup and a whale steak. The fish soup here is different from the kind we had in Tours, as it was really creamy (somewhat buttery) instead of being clear. The whale steak was an interesting and good choice, because it looks exactly like a piece of beef steak, but tastes of fish as it should. It also has a much tougher and chewier texture that resembles animal meat, unlike the usual flaky fish fillet. One of the few times a Lonely Planet food recommendation actually gets it right.

Fish soup.

Whale steak with potatos.

Looks like beef but tastes like fish.

Will be on the train, bus and ferry for 12 hours tomorrow doing the “Norway in a nutshell” round trip back to Bergen. This is a very scenic tour in which we will get to see all the varying landscapes and views of Norway in a short time.

Today’s pictures here.


One Response

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  1. Joanne said, on May 14, 2009 at 5:14 am

    That whale steak is freaky! Did you find out which type of whale you had? 😛

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