Monday 31 July 2023

Norway Day 11 - Monday 31st July - A day in Bergen


We started the day with breakfast on the balcony taking advantage of the view of the fjord and watching a couple of cruise ships  sailing up under the Askoy bridge  in preparation for a day in Bergen.

After a quick visit to the Rema supermarket we then drove to the centre of Bergen. The road is tolled and drivers are billed automatically, in my case by using my a Skyttlepass account. The charge is a mystery as the cost depends on time of day and the automatic tolling cameras appeared to be randomly located. We were only changed for the morning journey and the the cost was just over 27 NOK (£2).  

When we looked at staying in Bergen we had considered going on a fjord cruise. However, that would have taken most of the day and we would not have had time to explore the city. The roads into Bergen from our apartment were too busy to cycle so we drove, parking in the central City Park parking garage. We were charged 306 NOK (£22.59)  for the days parking with your length of stay being calculated by the automatic number plate recognition cameras. If we had selected a car park further out from the centre the cost would have been less.

From the car park it was a short walk to the Fishmarket. The market was a popular tourist destination located by the fjord in the heart of the city . In addition to stalls selling fish there were also  stalls selling  local farm food and vegetables and  several restaurants serving a large selection of seafood. It was busy and a popular designation for the cruise ship passengers. The food stalls also sold a variety of Norwegian hot dishes. The traditional Norwegian Paella stall that was doing a good trade.

From the market it was a short walk to the other side of the wharf to Bryggen .A mediaeval wharf in the historic harbour district known for its colourful, wooden-clad boat houses. We walked along the front before exploring the alleys between the houses.

To use the toilets in the town you had to pay using  a credit card. The first one we tried the card was not accepted so we walked further down the wharf to one that was not as busy and tried again. Some other tourists also had the  same problem. We eventually found a cubicle where the door was not locked so we could open the door without using a card.

We then took  Floibanen funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen. It is possible to walk to the view point in around an hour from the centre if you want to save the 160 NOK (£12) return fare . The funicular took under 6 minutes to climb the 320 metres to the upper station and viewpoint. The area immediately outside the upper station was busy but the terraced view point offered good views for everyone .

You only needed to walk a short distance away from the terrace for the crowds to thin out. Rather than descending to the centre for lunch we walked on the graveled path to a  small lake, Skomakerdiket. It was possible to push the wheelchair most of the way but a couple of the short accents were a struggle. At the lake it was possible to hire a canoe but the lake's small size meant this was aimed more at children than serious paddlers. We found a small cafe on the far side and bought a coffee and had to be content with a cake as they did not have anything savory. We should have purchased some lunch in the centre to bring with us before getting the funicular. We then walked round the lake before returning to the funicular station for the trip back to the centre.

We did not have time to visit any of Bergen's many museums and art galleries but walked towards the railway station stopping in Festplassen piazza overlooking Bergen's central lake and fountain for Lyn to ring her mum. We return to the car via the Musikkpaviljongen . A  cast-iron Music Pavilion with Moorish details was gifted to the city in 1888. The website says the pavilion also contains a lifesize bronze statue by Ingebrigt Vik of Edvard Grieg. This native of Bergen was a successful classical piano composer during the late 19th century but we missed it and checking our photos the statue appears to no longer be there.

We returned to the apartment for a tea of Salmon with fennel and fresh vegetables using the remains of last night's bean sprouts and then spent the evening updating diaries and planning the route for next day's drive.

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