Sunday 9 August Bergen

We woke this morning to find that we were docked at Bergen and that it was raining. Bergen, which is surrounded by mountains, is the fjordland capital and is a World Heritage Listed city, which is home to one of the world’s oldest symphony orchestras. We have left behind the lovely quiet fjords and are now in a busy city, with 3 large cruise ships docked near us.
We had breakfast and disembarked the ship for our excursion – the first part was a driving tour through the city on buses. Our guide told us that Bergen has 2,250mm rain per year and that Bergen has a population of 275,000 and is the largest wooden house city in Norway. There are 4 islands, which are connected to the mainland city of Bergen by suspension bridges. The bus windows were wet so we weren’t able to take any photos out of the bus windows. We drove through the Harbourside apartments area, then the wooden house quarter. We passed the Indoor Fish Market building and passed McDonalds and Starbucks and stopped at the wharf overlooking the harbour for views to the Bryggen Wharf across the harbour. As we continued our drive, we noticed lots of green parks/spaces between the buildings in the city and we drove through the Wooden House quarter from the 1800s. We drove along the top of the peninsula, past the historical harbour on one side and the commercial harbour on the other side. We passed narrow lanes with cobblestones between wooden houses. Interestingly, the whole city centre burnt down in 1916 and the new city was built in the 1920s and 1930s.
We stopped at Troldhaugen, which was built in 1885 and was the home of Norway’s famous composer, Edvard Grieg, who lived here for 22 years and composed many of his best-known works in the little composer’s cottage on the shore of Lake Nordas. We were pleased that the rain had stopped for our visit to Troldhaugen. We were taken to “the Villa” where Edvard and Nina lived and saw the Grand Piano that was built in 1892 for their Silver Wedding Anniversary. We wandered around the grounds, visiting the museum and the composer’s room. We were treated to a lovely half hour piano recital in the Concert Hall, which has a grass roof. The pianist, Rune Alver, a soloist and chamber musician, has performed numerous concerts in Norway and abroad and has interpreted Grieg’s works at Troldhaugen for many years. He played 5 pieces for us on a Steinway grand piano, with a beautiful backdrop of the Lake that could be seen from the large window behind him. Interestingly, Rune told us that Grieg had said that the Australian pianist, Percy Grainger, understood his work more than any other pianist in the world.
From there, we boarded the buses again and were taken back into the city to the Bryggen Hanseatic Quarter for a walking tour around the area, including some interesting little alleyways among the wooden buildings. The Hanseatic League was a trading alliance in northern Europe in existence between the 13th and 17th centuries. The two of us, and several others, left the group and walked back to the ship, stopping to look at buildings of interest to us and we also saw lots of unusual man-hole covers.
We had lunch onboard in the Lido Outdoor Café and then headed back into the city, walking beside the harbour. We caught the Floibanen Funicular up Mt Floyen, where we had spectacular views across the whole of Bergen, the fjord and the surrounding area. Because of the number of cruise ships and holidaymakers in Bergen, we had to line up for about 15 minutes before we got on a funicular, which holds about 70 people per trip, takes 6 minutes and they have two funiculars working at a time. It was quite windy at the top and there were lots of people, but it was certainly well worth it because the views were absolutely wonderful.
When we came back down the funicular, we wandered around the Bryggen Wharf area for a while, stopped at a couple of souvenir shops and then made our way back to the ship, ready for the sail-away from Bergen.


One Response to “Sunday 9 August Bergen”

  1. Maria Hughes says:

    Just love the coloured houses, and the shape of them too! All so beautiful xoxo

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