Bergen is a very historic town on the west coast of Norway. It is now a university town, a sea port and of course, a world heritage site with it’s famous Bryggen and historic houses.
We arrived here yesterday afternoon and immediately set off for a walk along the harbor front. A lot of the footpaths are being renovated so there are construction works everywhere, however, we were able to dodge between the temporary fences and traverse our way around to the Bryggen. This is an old area of stores along the harbor front and very scenic. It is classified by UNESCO for both it’s heritage value. We returned after dinner to take some photos in the golden evening light.
Bergen was once operated by the Hanseatic League (also known as the Hanse or Hansa) which was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds. it dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe and Bergen was important for it’s supply of Cod. The League stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages and early modern period (c.13th–17th centuries). It was created to protect commercial interests and privileges granted by foreign rulers in cities and countries the merchants visited. The Hanseatic cities had their own legal system and furnished their own protection and mutual aid. Despite this, the organization was not a city state nor can it be called a confederation of city states, only a very small number of the cities within enjoyed autonomy and liberties comparable to those of free imperial city.
Today we had a conflict. I wanted ti explore more of this city, but Jill wanted to watch the Royal wedding. So, we each did our own thing. Ruth and I walked around the harbor to the site of the old fortress and had a look at a number of interesting ships that I assume operate to service the off-shore oil wells in the North Sea. We also caught the funicular to the top of the peak behind the city and found a great view of the city. After half an hour of gazing across the landscape, we walked back to the city. This took just over an hour and much of the walk was through a forest of fir trees, before we reached the limits of suburbia and found some interesting little houses with cute doorways, flower pots and lights.
At the end of the wharf is the fish market. We found it very interesting to see the different kinds of fish that were for sale. One seller had some crustaceans that poked exactly like yabbies. They turned out to be fresh water crayfish from China – very similar! At another stall we were able to try some smoked whale and at another, we were given a taste of locally caught smoked salmon?
In the meantime, Jill had set herself up in the TV Room with a bunch of Poms who were stranded because their Hurtigruten ship had broken down and they al watched the wedding together, saNg the hymns and pointed out all the dignitaries that they knew.
After a refreshing pint of beer, (at $18 per pint, it indeed needed to be refreshing) Ruth and I returned to the hotel to pick up Jill and go for an afternoon walk around the old part of Bergen. This area f the city Is full of steep, narrow cobblestone stone streets with quaint houses crammed together side by side. We chatted to a builder who was restoring a house originally built in 1770. That’s before Australia was first settled. Every street was different and very interesting. We also talked to a couple who were planting up window boxes in their home. As has everyone else, they commented on the warm weather and were surprised at this early summer- type weather.
Today has again been 18 degrees and we are enjoying it immensely. Tomorrow we head back to Oslo by train and finish our Norwegian experience. From there, we are on to Ireland.