Journey of A Lifetime: 3 days in Bergen (29 – 31 July 2018)

After a good rest the previous night, I looked forward to start exploring Bergen. Nothing too strenuous as the aim was to adjust to the different time zone and eliminate any effect of jet lag.

The hostel I’m staying has a kitchen, so guests staying here may cook their meal. A compulsory facilities for a budget traveler like me especially in a country like Norway where eating out is SO expensive. After a simple breakfast of coffee and oatmeal, a short self guided walking tour of Bryggen, a UNESCO heritage attraction, was on the card. I grabbed a city map from the hostel reception and after breakfast I headed straight to the harbour, which is only a short 10 minutes walk from the hostel.

My first stop is the Fish Market. Set near the harbor, it’s a lively place where one can find not only fish but also fruits, vegetables and flowers for sale. It’s also a culinary treat where locals and tourists alike come here to grab a bite to eat. The atmosphere is a bit like the agro/night market back home in Malaysia. Walking around the market, I past countless stalls selling giant lobsters like the one seen in the Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel, salmons, caviars and every other imaginable netizen of the North Sea waters.

In one of the stalls, I saw a sign “Hvalkjøtt” with chunks of dark smoked meat beneath it. I asked the woman behind the counter what is it? She told me it’s smoked whale meat, and when I asked what it tasted like she told me very much like beef. She then cut a tiny sliver off and handed it to me. It did taste much like salty beef with fishy taste. The whale meat will set you back NOK590, about RM300 for 1 kg.

Then I came to a stall selling boiled shrimp. Very pricey but again the lady behind the counter offered me to taste the shrimp. I can taste the sweetness of the fresh shrimp and it was really yummy! 😋.

From the Fish Market I walked along the wharf. Next stop was Hanseatic Museum. The building was built in the 14th century by German merchants as their trading office. There’s an entry charge of NOK 150, about RM80 (1 NOK = RM0.55). I just had to pass on this one.

Bryggen showcases a lovely row of traditional wooden shops facing the harbour. Reminds me of Amsterdam and my hometown Malacca except that the buildings here are very colourful. Today the shops mainly sell souvenirs aiming at the megacruise tourist market. I’m afraid window shopping is the recipe of today. Everything seemed VERY expensive.

At the end of the wharf stood Rosenkranz Tower and Haakon’s Hall. The tower was the residence of King Eirik Magnusson, who was the last king to hold court in Bergen, until he died in 1299. It has been converted into a city museum. Entry charge is NOK 80, about RM45. Something more palatable for my pocket for a bit of history but unfortunately it’s partly closed for major maintenance.

As I continued wandering behind Bryggen, I passed Mariakirken, said to be the oldest church in Bergen, dated back in 1180. Then I must have taken the wrong turn. For a moment I was lost trying to get back to the wharf and came across a residential neighbourhood, Kroken Street, a charming, cobbled pedestrian lane lined with wooden houses. There was a lovely small park with large old trees and benches. I continued exploring the neighbourhood and came across some street arts, art galleries and nice little cafes. Overall it’s a delightful walk which had to end abruptly when the rain started pouring.

On the way back to the hostel, I dropped by at a small groceries shop and to my delight they sell “halal” meat. I bought mince meat, milk, fruit juice, eggs and some vegetables enough to last me for 3 days. Oh my!!! I had a shocked of my life when the total cost is almost NOK300 😲. Well I had been warned…

Back at the hostel, I prepared a simple pasta dish for dinner and planned for my 1st hiking in Norway. Well that was the plan anyway.

The weather did get worse the following day. It was cold and windy with intermittent rain. I decided not to go up Mt. Ulriken but instead on the second day I explored the picturesque Nostet neighbourhood.

Later that day I hangout around the harbour, overlooking Bryggen with Mt Floyen in the background. What a feeling when the sun finally broke out through the thick cloud.

On my last day in Bergen, the weather still did not let up. I was disappointed because I couldn’t attempt the Vidden trail from Mt. Ulriken to Mt. Floyen. But I did take the funicular up to Mt. Floyen. The condition still not ideal for a short hike. It was too windy and the wet and slippery rocky path was too risky for my weak knees. Despite the foggy condition, the view from top of Mt. Floyen was still breathtaking.

Before returning to the hostel, I dropped by at the train station to purchase the next day train ticket to Voss using the vending machine. I’m glad I did, but that is another story to tell.

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