Saturday, June 22, 2013

Norway - Bergen

We arrived at Bergen under a gloomy sky, but the festivities in Bergen kept us from being down.

We arrived from Oslo at around 6:30 AM, tired from the 7-hour train ride. Fortunately, the train seat was not too bad; I had enough leg space for myself, and since we were riding the night train, they provided us with thin blankets and inflatable pillows. Oh, and a pair of ear plugs and eye mask. Not the best quality you can find, but it was definitely much better than nothing :)

Light breakfast at the cafe in the station was certainly refreshing. We had a sandwich + orange juice + coffee deal for 75 NOK. Pricey indeed, but in general things in Norway are pricey. And currency conversion hurts even more.

At around 9 AM, we headed to our first destination: the Tourist Information centre. From experience, the tourist information is always the best place to visit when you first arrive in a new city in Europe. They are almost always very helpful.

The Tourist Information centre is located directly next to the Fisketorget, or the Fish Market.

The Fish Market was starting to get busy when we reached there. Right after we got our tickets to Flåm bought from the Tourist Centre, we headed back to our hostel to see if we can check in earlier. When we were back to the Fish Market again around noon, the Fish Market was brimming with merry.

According to the Tourist Information, the day we arrived (8th of June) was the Torgdagen (Market Day), where people sing and sell goods on boats, and also sing and dance in traditional Norwegian clothes. There were also additional stalls selling traditional local dish set up at the back of the Market.

Most salmon meat around the world is exported from Norway. Why not try it at its country of origin? :)

The Fish Market is just overflowing with fresh seafood. And most stalls can cook them right away for you!

By the way, this was my first time seeing live scallops:

Quite different from what I had in my imagination.

Ah, by the way, I found a really interesting food: røkt hvalkjøtt, which is translated as smoked whale meat.

These black pieces of meat are smoked fish. The flavour was really, really strong! I tried a sample from a counter, and... I would say the meat was lean, gamey... it's just really hard to describe. I had whale steak before, and I had to say that I didn't quite like it.

What was even more interesting is that the Market Day also featured unique firetrucks of the town.

Around noon, the city streets were occupied with firetruck parade. It amazes me that there were so many different firetruck models in this town, and that firemen were highly appreciated in this town. In Indonesia, you could almost say that people don't really have faith in our own firemen. And the firemen are under-appreciated. I have not seen any Indonesians saying that the firemen are cool, or they want to grow up to be a fireman to save people. Nope.

Anyways, we left Bergen for a tour around the fjords (will be explained in the next post about our day trip to Flåm). The next morning, I headed to the top of Mt. Fløyen (320 m above sea level), which can be reached by a mini train called Fløibanen Funicular in 6-7 minutes, or 1 hour by hiking. We didn't have much time left, so I bought a round trip ticket up and down the mount for 80 NOK. The view from up there was just splendid.

From Fløyen, I decided to explore Manakirken (St. Mary's Church) built in the 12th century, only to find out that it was under construction. I was so stupid to even try going there because it was even written on the free guide book we got from the Tourist Information centre that it was closed. Well, at least I saw it :P

On the same side, west to the city centre and close to this church, is Bergenhus Fortress Museum and the Haakon Hall - 13th century Royal Ceremonial Hall.

I didn't enter the museum because I had no time and the trip has cost me so much. I don't want to spend more money on museums at this point.

Next was the Bryggen Houses. These houses often appear on postcards from Bergen.

And then I spent the rest of the day exploring the city centre.

Den National Scene


Across the Pestplassen, on Kyrres Gate ("gate" means "street" in Norwegian)

Ah, and on the 9th of June, the Volkswagen Auto Club Bergen (VWACB) held a Bug Out, where VW owners showcased their cars at Pestplassen, just next to Lille Lungegårdsvann, a lake close to the train station.

Two thumbs up for Bergen. It's a great city for a weekend getaway :)


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