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Situated in the South-West region of Norway, on the Peninsula of Bergenshalvoyen, the 950 years old city of Bergen lies collinear to the city of Oslo that lies in the east.  The city was originally Christened as Björgvin in Norse.  The place drew political and commercial attention after the construction of a castle in the Vagen Harbour in 1100AD.  The entire area is surrounded by rolling hills with most of its sub-urban parts lying engulfed by blue waters of the North sea. The scenic city is therefore often referred to as the CITY OF SEVEN HILLS, though the ‘exact’ seven are still under debate. It is also the GATEWAY TO THE FJORDS for obvious reasons.  The highly developed port in the city attracts a beeline of cruise liners today, all year round.


The natural charm of the Sognefjord, Panoramic mountain tops, hiking paths, colourful buildings,  the world-renowned Bergen university with its endless museums and other historic attractions makes the city one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the country. It is the second largest city in Norway and is noted as one of the most rainiest in all of Europe.  The Bergensk dialect is said to be the most challenging, even for those already fluent in Norwegian.

Norway & Denmark Diary : Day 14 - 13th April 2019 :

Having boarded the Hurtigruten  MS Nordkapp (read ALESUND), we reached the port of Bergen by 2:30 pm.  Reaching Bergen on time was not all.  A bizarre episode, took us by storm, at the port. The suitcase of our group member was exchanged unawares, by a co-passenger on board the MS NORDKAPP as it looked similar to his.  He ferried it in a hurry to the airport,  as he was   flying out of Bergen.  Luckily, our car driver helped us track the movement of both the passenger and the luggage by making contact with the relevant port authorities and initiating innumerable phone calls to the the airport. He also helped stop any further movement and was kind enough to offer his vehicle to chase the passenger down at the airport to retrieve our possession. 


The tension finally mellowed and all fell in place in 2 hours.  He then dropped us at our airbnb accommodation.  We got there around 5 pm (instead of 3 pm) after the fiasco.

A penthouse placed right above the famous MARKEN GUESTHOUSE in city centre was what we had booked. A couple from our group were accommodated in the Market guesthouse below, while the rest of us fitted into the penthouse.  Co-ordinating for sight-seeing was pretty easy this way.  The accommodation was beautiful and definitely self-sufficient.   We made ourselves some coffee and snacks to get going.  The Idea was to circle the city for a couple of hours  that evening. It was still bright at 7 pm and nothing could stop us from taking that relaxing stroll down the city centre.  

We began at the Bergen Storesenter - a shopping mall next to the railway station.  It was unfortunately closed. We moved on to cross the road to get to the promenade beside a centrally placed, artificial lake of the city - the LILLE LUNGEGARDSVANNET.  The lake stretches in a longish, octagonal shape over 5 hectares. Installed in it is an attractive, eye catching fountain.   The promenade features clean streets,  couple of tram (light rail) tracks, short buildings on one side and water on the other.  


The fountain side exhibited family culture as locals flocked to spend their evening with children.  It was wonderful to watch red city buses ply on one side of the road while trams crossed at irregular intervals right beside them.


The highlight was the surrounding Mountain side from which buildings in various tiers and colours peeked out amidst the wide expanse of lush, deep green shrubs and trees, creating that unique Norwegian look.  The gardens surrounding the lake side were contrastingly light green in colour and well maintained.   

We stopped by the lake side for a while as we met up with a few friendly ducks.  We walked up further to reach the CHRISTIES GATE street and headed towards the GALLERIET one of the biggest shopping malls in the city.   Mid-way lies the STARVHUSGATEN street,  flooded with great looking shops.  Sadly, the Easter weekend made it worse for some shopping.


Shops are generally shut by 6 pm in the city.  The Galleriet is the only one open until 9 pm.  Ensure to check on timings if you ever wish to shop here. 


We ogled through the display windows, passing from shop to shop, witnessing some of the most exquisite, high quality clothes, shoes and accessories.  It felt frustrating not being able to visit even a single shop. Wide streets, bus stops at every nook and corner, pieces of sculpted art at every possible square, some striking wall art, all this and more allured us.


The city is definitely spacious, modern, developed with great infrastructure and blessed with scenic splendour all around. What more can one ask for except.


We took a right to reach the TORGALLMENNINGEN - a long, wide, rectangular main square in the city.   That was the first time ever we had come across a square so longish in nature.  It could comfortably accommodate a game of cricket.

In ancient times the wooden buildings in Bergen frequently caught fire and spread disaster due to their proximity to each other.   The need for re-structuring the city therefore arose, paving way for urban planning and fire control.  The solution to the problem materialised in the form of  “allmenninger”- meaning introduction of squares and wider streets.  The TROG ALLMENNINGEN , is one such result.  What makes it more popular is it lies in the middle of Bergen and holds a record of being NORWAY’s best designed town square.  The stunning Vagen bay dipping into the city, Bergen University area and the shopping district begin right here. The Scandinavian Neoclassical buildings on either side of the square along with other extensive collection of modern constructions make the square so special, attractive and noteworthy.  The square stretches into streets, with one side leading to St. Johns church and the other leading to the Vagen Bay area.  The seating arrangements all along the square are exemplary. 



An eye-catching fountain-cum-monument is installed right opposite the GALLERIET and breathes life into the entire square.  This Maritime monument, often referred to as the SAILOR’S monument, depicts Bergen’s deep connection with the seas.  This tiered cuboidal structure amidst a fountain,  commemorates the renowned sailors of the yesteryears. There are a dozen life sized bronze statues of sailors from different eras installed all along its cuboidal sides.  The tier above these statues holds rectangular panels one on top of the other, narrating the good and ugly stories experienced on the seas.  

Regarded as the most spectacular shopping arcade in Bergen, the Galleriet is home to more than 75 shops, with an ingenious mix of various brands , quality goods including food and beverage outlets.  Occupying an entire corner of the Torgallmenningen with ground plus three floor, the Galleriet promises an unforgettable shopping  & dining experience.  


After a brief walk inside the Galleriet, we strolled past the square to get to the next street.  By now we had posed in front of anything that seemed prominent, for a picture.  The weather was chilly but we were not giving up until we circled the town centre to our heart's content.   We moved further after some window shopping and found the fjord waters sneaking into the Bergen pier.  We had reached the Vagen bay. Lots of boats around and there it was ! the much spoken about BRYGGEN, a row of colorful commercial buildings of UNESCO prominence.



Built in 1702, the BRYGGEN (meaning a Dock or Wharf), consists of a series of multicoloured, heritage buildings stacked against one another in the east side of the Vagen Harbour.  These wooden buildings, almost adding to 60 in number, are similarly structured with each holding three storeys & a gabled roof.    It is today a part of UNESCO’s world heritage site.   The area became a booming trade centre in the 1100s when the Hanseatic league (German merchant community protecting their mutual interests) began to stretch its presence.  The buildings were at that time used for storage purchases of various stocks.  Of course, many of these buildings have since been restructured to gain a fresh look.  Runes describing the life alongside the Bryggen upto the early 14th century were discovered as a part of an archeological excavation process.  Today these buildings house various museums, shops, restaurants and pubs.   The site finds itself on top of any tourist’s bucket list. 


It was already late and we therefore didn’t walk up to the side where these buildings are stationed.  However, we had a great view from the market side.  We got in and out of the street markets before heading back to our accommodation.   The same routine of home made dinner and good sleep followed.

Day 15 - 14th April 2019 

We felt bright that morning.  A good breakfast enhanced our moods.  It was decided that we get home for lunch after a morning visit up a mountain side.


We had tickets booked up the FLOIBANEN- a funicular ride up Mount Floyen.  It always exciting to explore new places. No matter how many times you've done mountain top rides earlier, they are always special. The place was a 8 minute casual walk from where we stayed. We stepped out at 9:30 am and actively walked towards the foot of the Floyen Mountain from where we would get a  ride to the top.


The city lay still as usual.  Our accommodation was at the corner of a certain junction.  The mountainous  backdrop one side of the road with a few houses and buildings peeking out of its thick dark greenery in step fashion was a feast to the eyes.  Opposite to our accommodation building,  was a massage parlour, which we never visited.  Taking a left we walked down further.  A lot of wall paintings were visible all along.  Artistic city !   A little ahead, on the right, was the BERGEN CATHEDRAL.  We had little time on hand and therefore could not visit its interiors.  

Crossing a few streets we got to a certain by-lane that reminded us of our favourite “SANTORINI” which we had visited the earlier year.  It was surprising to find a BERGEN HARE KRISHNA SENTER on that street.  It was surprising to know that certain sector of people embraced the Indian way of spirituality in Bergen.  Interesting mix of cultures indeed!

After passing through many buildings, shops, pretty squares and houses on this road, we finally reached the end of the street, which opened up to a large square right behind the BRYGGEN. Small town eh? To our right, we found our gateway to mount FLOYEN - the FLOIBANEN, where the funicular station stood.


As our tickets were already verified, we stood clicking pictures till the funicular arrived.  We were part of a long queue that patiently waited.  There was excitement at the sight of an approaching funicular.   We missed boarding the last cabin of the carriage that provides the best open views on the elevated journey, through its transparent, glass enclosure.  Nevertheless, we settled for the side views.    In less than 10 minutes we reached the top.



The city is famous for its handful of scenic mountain tops.  These can all be reached either by hike, bike , vehicle or funiculars.   Mount Floyen ranks the topmost of them all.


A huge welcome board received us as we stepped out of the funicular.  We made our way through an opening to reach the viewing platform.  There were plenty of tourists already crowding around.  The platform is built in step fashion running downward with its edges fenced with moderately risen fibre glass facilitating panoramic views.  Additionally, there is a separate ramp like viewing platform at a height just below the main one, sticking out of the mountain side.


It was a bright sunny morning and we stood speechless, admiring the unmasked beauty of MOUNT FLOYEN and the gorgeous views it presented before our eyes !  


The entire city lay open in front of us. It was larger than we had expected. The unhindered, 180 degree aerial views instantly cleared the doubts on why the place is referred to as the city of seven hills.  The city, built amidst the sparkling blue fjord waters, is flanked on all sides by mountains. It stole our heart right away. The left side displayed modern infrastructure and seemed more developed.


It was exciting to focus and find that part of the city centre with which we were familiar.  The buildings and houses looked neatly huddled around the octagonal artificial lake which flaunted its fountain.  It was fascinating to catch the aerial view.  We could even spot our accommodation above the MARKEN GUEST HOUSE. It seemed to be fast growing like any other city in Europe.  A few of us walked down the lower ramp for a more private view.  It was cold, but the sun did its job well in keeping us as warm as possible.  The table of Mount FLOYEN promises much more than just views around every nook & corner. 

 We never expected a whole world up there.  It is blessed with acres & acres of land lies waiting to be explored.  One is sure to find families enjoying their outing apart hikers & bikers. There is also a mountain lake. A restaurant and a full fledged children's play area add to the tourist fervour.  Despite the large crowd it never felt congested.  It took  roughly a couple of hours to cover most of its parts at a slow pace.


We posed against a huge wheel installed in the middle of one such pathway, that was utilised in the engine room till 2002.  We were happy to meet an Indian Lady here, who was also co-incidentally a South Indian.  A few sheep & goats posed for us amidst their sun-bathing session here.


A walk up to the lake took us around 20 minutes from the centre. The pristine lake was one of the clearest, coolest areas.  Who would have even thought that we would find an opportunity to sit relaxing by a lake side on a mountain top.  It was simple yet peaceful, flooded with greenery.  One could clearly view the stones and gravel lying at its water bed.  We chilled on the rocks for about half hour or so and made our way back to the play area near the restaurant. A cup of warm coffee and some tasty snacks while the kids played around after slurping down their ice cream.  


We then made our way to exit the mountain.   Waiting at the edge of the tram station and posing against the funicular, on its arrival was fun.  We were the first to get there at that point in time.  This ensured us the last carriage of the funicular which provided the best aerial view.  Like I mentioned earlier, we had missed this on our way to the top. It was totally worth the effort.  


The funicular arrived in a bit. We slid down the mountain side in great comfort while ogling at the sights.  We walked back home just in time for lunch.