Friday, July 13, 2012

So this is Summer? Bergen, Norway

Starting in the Bay of Biscay, as we sailed from Lisbon to Le Havre, the weather turned ‘pear shaped’ on our adventure. The seas became rough to tumultuous at times and our days became overcast with rain – quite strong at times.
Add to this the element of 24 hour sunshine as we progressed northward and our experience couldn’t be further removed from that only a short while ago!!

Other than not being able to lie out on deck in the sun (and getting a tan) the weather really is neither here nor there – you just wear more or less clothes. It does change the way a place looks, though.

From Dover we had a day at sea as we sailed through the English Channel into the North Sea. It was most strange in the morning – as we sailed into Hjelete Fjord at 4am. Bright sunlight then cloud. The sea suddenly calm. Then a 38 mile ride through the most marvelous scenery – green cliffs coming down to the waters edge and suddenly we were in the harbor of Bergen.

Bergen was founded in 1070 and – because of its location on the North Sea – has been a busy and important trading port and, in its time, one of the principal cities of the Hanseatic Trading League.

It is still a busy port today – commercial and fishing – but also attracts cruise ships doing the Nordic or Fjord cruises and is very busy. Lots of boats and ships in town from all over.

One comment though at the outset – it is expensive to shop here! Norwegians must have done well by staying out of the EU.

We had the day (until 4pm) to wander around and explore the area around the port – a UNESCO world heritage site called (confusingly) Bryggen.

The street along the wharf is lined with wooden buildings painted in reds and ochres (apparently just as were the old warehouses). 

Very much like Alaska the buildings are separated by narrow winding lanes and linked overhead by passageways.

Nowadays these buildings house shops selling a variety of local products.
Troll dolls are a big deal here!!! With the Happy Birthday Girl!!!!!
Rubbing a troll brings more luck than the bronze piggy in Florence?????

Also Norwegian knitware. Merle bought a lovely warm lined woolen sweater – so we ask the (very honest) saleslady “is it made in Norway”?. She answers “well, the design is Norwegian, the wool Australian but its made in Hong Kong!” globalization.

There were local products to be had (if you were brave enough). Reindeer horns in every form – here bottle openers. Reindeer or whale hamburger or other dishes. Even Reindeer heads mounted. We gave them all a miss.

Also the local buns

Even local outfits

Furs and skins of all descriptions. I was very tempted to buy fur slippers for the house in Vegas but the prices…………..

As is to be expected (given how we like to see a new place) we visited the Fish Market at the head of the harbor – the Torget.

The fishermen enjoyed hamming for the photographer

There were fish for sale here (obviously) in all stages of evolution – from fish eggies

To the dried, salted and truly dead

Also lovely local fruits (designed in Norway………etc)

They sold goods of all descriptions here – Merle bought a yellow fishermans hat for the weather (lined with ear flaps). cute.

Sadly, because of the low cloud there was no point in taking the funicular to the top of Mt Florien which apparently offers a beautiful vista of the area

The sailaway in the evening reprised our arrival – still light. Still overcast. The Fjord still beautiful. Then hit the North Sea and the rollercoaster begins again

BTW we have sailed 17872 nautical miles since leaving Sydney so far!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. CyberGoblin Hotspot relays
    Happy Birthday!!
    Greetings from the Far Western Isles
    To the Grey Havens