Country #50! Bergen, Norway

When I was planning this trip, I wanted to go to some Nordic countries and as I was researching, I found the Norway in a Nutshell tour recommended by a friend of mine, and found that you could start in Oslo or Bergen. A friend from grad school lives in Bergen, so upon further research, it seemed as though the route from Bergen -> Oslo was less crowded, so I opted to do this.

The forecast for the last part of my trip was complete rain, so I was not super excited about what I might meet in Bergen. And when I landed, it was raining. I took a bus from the airport to the city center, and a girl sat next to me who was reading the new Harry Potter book. She was nice, a student at the University of Bergen, and she lamented about the weather which was quite normal for Bergen—kinda the Pacific northwest  type of wet and cool weather.

Once at my stop, I bid her farewell, and started the short walk to my Airbnb. The host, Greger, called me to make sure I knew how to get to his place. His place was absolutely in the middle of everything. Perfect location. I couldn’t have been more excited when I saw it.

When he opened the door, he looked like a Nordic Viking, but small statured. Long blond hair, mustache, fair skin and blue eyes. He greeted me enthusiastically and we began talking—him speedily. He was a high-energy excitable person, and I got my bags settled into my room that looked out to the promenade leading to the church.

After getting settled, I ventured out to meet my old classmate, Tine for lunch. It started to pour down rain, and I was so glad I had my jacket that I bought in Copenhagen. It was the perfect water proof jacket that I needed. It had been 10 years since I’d seen Tine, so I was getting excited as she told me she was nearby. I waited for her in front of McDonalds—the beacon of America, and we saw each other like it had been just a few weeks ago!

We started to catch up and walk in the rain to a place for lunch near the funicular station. This is what the doctor ordered. After being in Poland for a couple of weeks eating heavier foods for lunch and dinner throughout, I was excited to be able to each a custom hand made sandwich. It was absolutely delicious. As we sat and ate our lunch, we did an update for the last 10 years. We also ended up getting a deal at the restaurant—buy a juice and cinnamon roll, and you can skip the line waiting for the funicular. DONE!

As it was pouring outside, we tromped around in the soaking rain a little more before we got to the funicular station and skipped the line to buy tickets, but just got into line for the actual ride up. I guess our VIP cinnabun tickets only meant through purchase line L

Soon we were on our way up the funicular to the top of Mt. Floyen. Once we left the funicular, the clouds broke, and there was peace and no rain. I was so excited thinking we had some time to take pictures and enjoy no rain. We looked around a bit, and Tine told me about the geography of the place, where she was from, where her parents live, and where she currently lives. It was so cool to see this life that a friend of mine had.

After our views, we took the funicular back down and walked the wharf Bryygen, looked at all the old buildings lining the street, the fish markets, and all around. We then headed for Nordnes, an area of all these little old houses—and it reminded me of my first impression of Norway from the movie, the Witches. I looked it up afterward, and apparently it was the setting for the movie!

We continued on to the Aquarium, and wrapped around the back and walked by Tine’s friend’s house and decided to stop by and say hello. She had just had a baby, 8 days ago! She was adorable. The husband came in as well, and we spoke for a while about his job with GE and his experience in an American company. He offered for us to stay for dinner, and for me to join him on a hike the next day. I agreed pending on the weather—I wasn’t going to hike in soaking wet!

After a bit, we continued back around the city to where we began, and Tine needed to get back to her cabin that they are vacationing in for the week before dark. I was so happy she put the effort into seeing me, it made my stay in Bergen so incredible.

The next day, I started out early while it looked like there was no rain. I went to the Bryggen again to look through the shops more slowly, and look at the museum of the wooden structures. They have survived for so long! Since the weather was looking good, I told Jens that I would join him for the hike, and got a bite to eat before our hike.

He rode his bike to where I was staying, and we walked to the mountain to begin our hike. We had a very nice talk along the way. Jens was tall, and extremely fit, and this hike was to be his low-impact day lol. Once at the start of the trail, he said that we can get our own paces and meet at the top. Well, he meant, he would run, and I would walk! The trail was built by Sherpas who came in from Nepal to build the trail up, so that gives you an idea to the seriousness of this climb up the mountain!

It started out  pretty good, but it got steeper and steeper, and soon I was breathing quite hard. I hadn’t done any real exercise for nearly 6 weeks, so I was out of breath, but focused on my breathing and got my pace, and steadily I made my way up. It was a great challenge, and felt rewarding when I got to the top, of course stopping along the way for some pictures.

I was only 15-20 minutes behind Jens! We continued to the lookout and had some pictures, then went along the back of the mountain and saw such amazing scenery. On our way back down Mt Floyen, Jens was giving me stories about things in the city, like the firehouse being on the hill so it could see fires etc.

As we wound down the hills, we saw his wife pushing the stroller with their precious baby. We chatted before heading back to the center so he could get his bike and head home—I opted to stay behind at the wharf again to get some food again J

He told me (along with Tine) not to bother with the fish at the wharf as it was overpriced and not so great, and I found this little restaurant run by a Scottish man selling fish and chips. It was EXACTLY what the doctor ordered after that hike! Lol

After my meal, I walked around a bit more exploring before going back home to discuss Bitcoin and crypto currency with Greger. We geeked by watching a movie of bitcoins as I’ve been interested for a while, but never pursued learning too much about it.

Overall, my two days in Bergen were fantastic, weather turned out to go in my favor, and I loved seeing and making new friends!