Greetings friends! My apologies for the radio silence this week, I was enjoying my last few days in Norway and decided to take the time to recharge my batteries instead of spending time on my laptop.
I just returned last night from an 8 day adventure in Norway and loved every minute! I spent a few days hanging out in Oslo which I’ve been to before. The weather wasn’t great so I spent less time exploring outdoors and more time just relaxing indoors. I especially loved hanging out in the hip neighborhood Grünerløkka and its cafes, bars, and breweries, all different but equally cool. I highly recommend spending an evening or two in that district if you ever travel to Oslo.
The last few days I spent in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city. I arrived by train from Oslo, it’s a 6 hour ride but soooo scenic and relaxing, I chose it over hopping on a one hour flight simply because riding trains through Europe is one of my favorite things in life. I can sit in silence for hours just staring out the window watching the countryside pass by. Also, I find it’s easier hopping on a train then going through the hassle of security at an airport!
You’ll notice a lot of Danish influence in Bergen, simply because Norway was in union with Denmark from the 1500s until 1814. This picturesque postcard view of Bryggen (the dock) shows the commercial buildings that line the harbor of Bergen, it struck me as somewhat similar to Copenhagen’s Nyhavn district.
This is a port town so there are a lot of commercial boats coming in and out of the harbor at all times. They also offer fjiord and shoreline tours, I’m sure those are fantastic in warmer weather.
During my stay, the weather was dreary with lots rain (to be expected in winter), but I did get a pocket of clear weather one day and was able to capture a few snaps. I always look forward to exploring a new city by walking it, ducking down alleys and meandering the streets allowing the city to reveal itself slowly. When bicycling or riding public transportation, the details can slip by you which is why I prefer to walk around for hours with no real destination.
The cobblestone streets were wet from the constant drizzle of rain but weather never stops me from exploring on foot. I find that’s the best way to discover interesting shops or restaurants with a cool vibe, simply by walking around the neighborhoods.
You’ll see a lot of the brick red, white, and mustard yellow color combination on the shop and residential exteriors in Norway, I noticed it when I explored the countryside on my last visit.
One totally unexpected sighting were these crocheted trees I discovered in a park near the funicular. It’s often called “yarn bombing” and is a form of street art using yarn instead of paint.
It was the middle of winter so the trees are all dormant, but I can imagine how charming this city would be in summer. I ducked inside the Romanesque style St. Mary’s Church for a few minutes because its façade and graveyard looked like something out of a movie to me. Notice how the pedestrian crosswalks are created with light and dark cobblestones, these were all over the city. No painted crosswalks, just patiently created walkways made with contrasting colored stones, I loved that.
The city has a funicular (or Fløibanen) in the center of town which will take you to the top of Mount Floyen. Allow yourself a few hours for the experience because at the top is a cafe, playground, a biking/walking path, and goat petting zoo (in summer).
It was snowing up at the higher elevation but from up here you can see a panoramic view of the city below.
On a clear day in spring or summer the view looks more like this. (Motivation to return someday) :)
Bergen has a great shopping district but one stop I highly recommend is the fishmarket on the waterfront. Wow, this place has an amazing selection of seafood! You can either take it to go back to your Airbnb, or do what we did and have them prepare a selection to eat while you sit by the water and enjoy the view. Don’t miss it!
Bergen is just as lovely to explore in the evening as it is during the day, perhaps more so. This particular neighborhood reminded me of Pacific Heights in San Francisco. Funny how travel does that to you, when you put yourself out there enough, new places can remind you of places you’ve been before. That night, we took a long walk all over town bundled in our parkas, peeking into windows along lantern lit streets and finally ending up at a cozy wine bar enjoying a bottle of Chianti by candlelight.
Bergen really showed me a good time and was one of the most quaint and enchanting cities I’ve ever been to. Their international airport is easy to fly in and out of, so put it on your list if you want to explore Norway someday!
It’s back to business next week, enjoy your weekend friends!