Beautiful Bergen

Trip Start Jul 23, 2010
Trip End Aug 16, 2010

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Flag of Norway  , Western Fjords,
Sunday, August 15, 2010

Woke to sunshine – well, actually, woke to tires and wharf outside our window, but the sunshine was up above. We went on deck before brekkies to enjoy the view and the warmth. Just a short-sleeved shirt is needed today, especially as the wind is at our stern, so the apparent wind is virtually nilch. After brekkies, we had to pack our suitcases and clear out of our rooms, which was okay because we didn't really spend much time in there (but it was nice to have access to a private loo). We spent all morning either outside or indoor, watching the world go by and working on our journals, reading, etc.

The sail into the Bergen are was very beautiful: many houses and summer homes along the fjords; many boats in the water, with people out enjoying the day. It was a great morning. Somehow, despite all the delays, and despite the fact that we always seemed to be at least 45 minutes behind schedule, we arrived into Bergen on time. The city sits tucked up at the end of a fjord, with a waterfront on both sides of the bay. Hurtigruten docked away from the main cruise ship terminal; it was a bit of a walk to town, so the four of us took a cab to the bus station, where we planned to store our luggage. That was a smart move, because the cost of the cab for the four of us was less than the cost of a transfer for only two people, if we had booked through Hurtigruten.

I won’t go into the traumatic details of what it took to get change for the locker storage. It was a nightmare, and best forgotten. But we succeeded (and spent our last kroner at the airport on a drink to forget the trouble).

We spent the next hour just walking through the town. The streets were very crowded, it being a lovely Sunday afternoon … and there was a cruise ship docked at the main port. (There was also a very strange yacht docked there, too: it was the color of a navy ship; the conning tower and such looked like a navy ship; but the stern had a wide, high room, with floor-to-ceiling windows, which one would certainly not have on a navy ship. We need to look this up on Yachtspotter to learn more.) We started our walk at the bus terminal, which is near a small, central lake, with fountain. The main museums seem to be lined up along this lake. There is also a very ugly building at the end of the lake, which we wonder is another example of Brutalist architecture. In any case, it spoiled the cityscape.

We then walked along the very busy waterfront, to the bryggen. Maybe because so many tourists were out, and there was a fake trolley in front … but I found the bryggen at Bergen less attractive than that at Trondheim. Neither are used for their purposes built, but the ones at Bergen just felt like they were trying too hard. On the other hand, the view from the cafes near there, with the bryggen on one side, the yachts straight ahead, and the modern hotels on the other side, was very attractive. We were also so lucky to be there on one of the few days it doesn’t rain in Bergen.

The old Rosenkrnatz (Guildersten is not to be seen) was nearby, so we walked through the grounds, which weren’t much. By then, it was time to head back to the bus station, to catch our flight to London. We walked back a slightly different way, down the narrow alleys of the shopping district. It was a bit less crowded, though there were still people everywhere.

No difficulties recovering our luggage or getting a cab to the airport; no difficulties at all with check in or bag drop (though we did wait around to make sure all five bags received a tag). We went upstairs to the international waiting lounge and had a drink, then went in search for a bottle of Aquavit for one of Paul’s friends; could only find a miniature bottle. Flight was delayed about 20 minutes, so we were late arriving in London.

We had hoped to have dinner with the kids in London, but, by the time we walked the three miles from the gate to Immigration, went through Immigration (there was a line, but it wasn’t horrendous), got our bags (which were waiting for us), bought our tickets on the Gatwick Express to London, caught a cab to the kids hotel (with a stop to get cash to pay the cab driver), checked them into their hotel … it was 10:30pm and all the restaurants in the area were closed. It was also getting late, and Paul and I wanted to get out to Heathrow and to our hotel. So we said good-bye to the kids (they could order room service), and we walked with our bags to Paddington Station. We just missed the Heathrow Express, but it was probably a good thing as a hamburger stand at the train station was open, so we could get a meal, while everything at Heathrow was closed. We ate on the train and arrived at the hotel around midnight. Showered, then went to bed … but both of us had trouble sleeping. Guess we’re used to the sound of the diesel engines.

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