There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
Being in Norway the first time was great fun but going back and being able to explore without time constraints was something Cathy and I looked forward to. Our plan was to fly from Germany to Bergen, Norway for a few days, complete the “Norway in a Nutshell” trip, and spend a few final days in Oslo. This would be the end point of our Scandinavian Adventure.
After working our way through the delays of cruise departure and late flights, we arrived in Bergen, Norway. Checking in to the conveniently located, though not terribly friendly, Radisson Blu hotel, we drop our bags, or rather, Cathy shlepps our bags to the room while I hobble behind. Cathy throws our bags in the room and we work our way downstairs to try and get some food and a drink before the bar closes. The desk said we could get sandwiches or something light to eat as long as we got to the bar before 10pm. We were there at 9:40 pm. Plenty of time.
Downstairs, it takes a few minutes to interrupt the discussion of the two people chatting and ask for the food menu, wine and cocktail list. It doesn’t go really well —
Can you make a mojito? No. Can you make a margarita? No. Can you make any cocktail? Not really. I mutter to myself, ‘I bet I could get back there and make a margarita’ but don’t expect I’d be allowed, so we end up getting a glass of wine that tasted like something I’d rather not drink again.
Can we get food? No. No? It’s too late, kitchen is closed. Closed? Really, before 10pm? Yes, we closed due to no customers. (Hint: I think I know why they don’t have any customers).
Okay, okay…… we are tired, hungry and after the ship and airline debacle combined with no food/drinks, we are getting progressively annoyed – so we ask the next logical question …..
Is there somewhere nearby that would still be open that we could get something to eat? Yes, if you walk about ½ a mile down the road you will find the 24 hours McDonalds.
Huh? McDonalds? 24 hours? Nooooo….. that’s just not right!
I ate the crappy stale peanuts, swished down by the foul-tasting wine and went up to the room to go to bed. It’s not the best start for Bergen, but tomorrow is a new day and it’s going to be ….
After a good night’s sleep, we and our rumbly tummies go downstairs to the breakfast buffet. There we are greeted by a much friendlier staff and, while I sit down, Cathy begins her day by finding food for both of us. She’s become very adept at assisting the disabled and she even does it with a smile when she’s not getting pushed and shoved by tourists!
On a beautiful Bergen day, the sun is shining, and the cherry trees are blooming.
Flowers are everywhere and breathtakingly planted in ways that cause you to want to sit and relax and take in the beautiful views.
We wander through the historical area of Bryggen which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bergen was founded about 1070, in the middle ages and while most of the original buildings are now circa 1702, the enjoyment is plentiful. The old leaning rickety buildings reminded me of the Mother Goose fairy tale of the old Crooked man.
The crooked paths, doorways, windows, and buildings add to the fun of exploring. We find buildings propped up by slate slabs, and an old wooden sea monster in a courtyard waiting to scare those who come through.
Along the way, we found some other monsters, one of whom had antlers.
The small cafés with outdoor seating lured us in for mussels in white wine sauce, delicious frites and a tasty mojito, my painkiller of choice!
After lunch, we ventured into the Bryggens Museum adjacent to our hotel. It is built over the remains of the first settlement of Bryggen with the oldest buildings dating to the 12th century.
The young lady at the desk apologized that there was no elevator for the handicapped one with the crutches and cast. Taking my time to go up the steep ramps, we found the museum to be delightful and informative.
While walking to the funicular, we found a cute school with bicycles for the exterior decor, as well as trees wrapped in colorful cloth.
The Fløibanen funicular takes you to the top of Mt. Floyen and is open from early morning until 11p.m daily. It is nearly 1050 feet from sea level, taking 5-8 minutes. Goats live at the top and are popular with the tourists.
Once we were at the top, we wandered along the trails near the cliff. Later, we took a break in the restaurant for tea and apple pie and then spent our time enjoying the view of all of Bergen.
Descending the funicular, we walked back into Bryggen to find dinner. We decided to try Bruggeloftet & Stuene, which dates back to 1910, and found it to be quite delicious. Cathy and I always enjoy in historical restaurants as well as trying the local cuisines. Cathy being more adventurous tried the reindeer and I went for freshly steamed halibut with cream sauce.
The following morning, we wandered through Bryggen again, enjoying the historical district. Housed in a building from 1704, the Hanseatic Museum was also of interest. Now under restoration until 2024, I’m glad we were able to see the building! The Schotstuene complex has assembly rooms and cookhouses which provide insight into the Hanseatic daily life.
St. Mary’s Church was locked up tight so we could only admire it from the outside. It is one of the few remaining churches built in Bergen during the reign of Olav Kyrre, around 1130s.
Back at the hotel, we prepare for the next day, Norway in a Nutshell!