30 Apr 2010

Bergen – the gateway to fjords

Bergen is the kingdom’s second largest city and just after Oslo is the most important, with over 250 000 inhabitants only! Bergen is situated at the west coast of Norway where the Norwegian Sea meets the North Sea. The year of the foundation is estimated to be 1070 and it is a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO. What is characteristic for Bergen? Rain! Almost 220 days in a year it is raining here. Once, I heard, it was raining continually from February to May. That's why in this city one set first in the world the umbrellas’ machine.

I have visited Bergen with my beloved fiancé in May and it strikes me more than Oslo. First of all, Bergen is full of history and tradition of an international city with charming and small town atmosphere. Heritages such as Bryggen (Norwegian for the Wharf) or Bergen Fish Market and the possibility of trip to the fjords attract tourist, especially from Spain. I don’t know why, but I met many Spaniards there and there are many Spanish clerks in souvenirs shops. Furthermore, in Bergen nature blends with culture and city life is thrilling – every evening parties in the seaport lasting till morning. In May, there was light even at midnight, so the climate is specific, as it would be evening all the time. During the day, it is worth to see Bryggen, which is also displayed in the top of my blog, it is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the fjord.Bryggen was built thanks to the merchants from the Hanseatic League, who arrived here around 1360 and developed the town into an import ant trading centre. These warehouses were filled with foods such as fish from Norway and wheat from Europe (including Poland). Apart from Bryggen, I also recommend to do unusual shopping in the Torget i Bergen (Fishmarket In Bergen), where you can fresh seafood and seafish every morning. Furthermore, numerous wooden houses all-around the city from the 18th century and many amazing museums are the must-sees. Amongst many of the museums, the Old Bergen Museum is a place with more than 40 wooden buildings constructed in the style of the architecture of Bergen from the 18th and 19th century. Moreover, in this museum a beautiful guide will tell you interesting stories about the past inhabitants of these colourful houses. The latest attraction, we visited, is the Bergen Science Centre Vilvite. Vilvite is a centre of science and technology for tourists, where you can embark on a journey with almost 100 different instruments, perform experiments, to feel the force of gravity while riding in a large circle, to make a rig for oil, to stand behind the stairs of the ship or submarine or see yourself jumping very slowly as below.

As I mentioned in the title of this post, Bergen is truly a gateway to fjords. From here you can choose amongst many tours offers a unique experience both for those who have time only for short visit, and those who want to know precisely the region. We have chosen a short 4-hours trip to the closest fjord by MS White Lady and the views were breathtaking. If you want to see more spectacular landscapes from Norway I personally recommend a journey from Bergen to Oslo by train. In various rankings railway lines from Oslo to Bergen are considered the most beautiful and exciting route in the world. The American journalist-explorer Gary Warner writing for a newspaper The Chicago Tribune put in on his list of favourites rail routes. I have added as well! As a tittle-tattle I can tell you that it is possible to see snow on this route even in May, because its highest point is in the Finse peak 1222 meters above sea level. The whole journey takes approximately 7 hours, but it is absolutely pleasure to deal with it.

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