Sunday, February 8, 2015

Visiting Norway's west coast -- Bergen

Bergen is located on Norway's west coast and is nestled in the valley between and up the sides of seven mountains (though which seven of many in the region is still argued about). As a result, many homes are built on the hillside, making for good natural exercise experience and a particular charm.  The apartment where we stayed is close to Mt. Fløyen, to the north.  This mountain has a funicular  one can ride to reach the summit which has a beautiful panoramic view of the ocean, the city,  and the surrounding mountains. Here are a couple of street photos taken near where we stayed.

The day Sten was in meetings, I chose to revisit places in the downtown harbor area. I passed by the ubiquitous McDonald's, Bergen style.

One of the most iconic sites in Bergen is pictured below -- the old wooden buildings of Bryggen, along the side of the harbor. These were originally Hanseatic commercial buildings, but now they're mostly shops, galleries, and a museum.

Here's the view of the harbor on the other side of the street.

Bergen, being on the west coast, gets a lot of rain, though not a lot of snow. I've heard for years that it's the Gulf Stream that keeps it warmer than one would assume these northern latitudes to be. However, interestingly, it's not the Gulf stream itself, but that combined with the chaos of the sea waters that provides this warmth. (For an interesting report of studies that found this, see

It would seem that this day, the "chaos" causes rain that was coming down pretty steadily and winds that were very strong.  I found myself wanting to spend more time inside than out. I thought I'd explore behind the street front which faces the harbor.

Wandering behind these bryggen buildings,  I stepped into this gallery.  I like how they've adapted to the nooks and crannies of the old building's interior.

One of the Bryggen buildings houses a Christmas shop; another, a knitware shop.  I had to check them out too. Tempting, but pricey.

The next morning, we took the funicular up Mount Fløyen.  Though there was no snow in Bergen proper, there was a light layer on the mountain. Here's what you see from up there.  The second photo shows the tracks for the funicular.

Mount Ullriken to the east can be reached by cable car or hiking.  In the past we've hiked from there to Mount Fløyen -- a 4-5 hour hike.

The compulsory photo with the resident troll.

Since we had the time, we decided to hike down from the mountain rather than take the funicular again. During our hike we experienced snow, hail, rain, and, finally, sunshine.  Bergen is like that -- always something new to experience.

We had some hail, and you can see the rain in the West.

Minutes later, there's a rainbow and the sun is shining.

Soon we're down to where the houses begin again.  Time to head back to the apartment to meet our friend for the next leg of our adventure,  visiting the small island of Fedje -- Norway's most western independent community.


  1. Beautiful. Hard to believe I visited there over 40 years ago on a famous Ogden tour.

    1. I'm sure it's grown since then, but the basic look is still the same. We went there on our honeymoon to Scandinavia.