Bergen, Norway has an interesting history. It was part of the Hanseatic League between 1350 and 1750, a German trade organization that linked many ports and had an intricate system for managing trade among them. Along with having an adorable historic port, it also has a large industrial port. Based on comments I overheard on the train in, I think a lot of people didn’t realize how big the city was.
After arriving in the evening, we walked around the city, had dinner at Thai restaurant, and drinks at a brewery that that had just opened (and wasn’t yet brewing beer) that had a deck that overlooked the harbor. Excellent views, it was a lot of fun. (The bad news was that I almost didn’t get in because I didn’t bring my passport for ID and it was in a complex with about 10 other bars)
I would definitely recommend the walking tour from the Bryggens Museum. They are in English every day at 11 and 12, and for 120 NOK, you get the tour and admission to the Bryggens Museum and the Hanseatic Museum, both of which are very worth while. The Bryggens Museum has foundations that remain from the burnt down houses of the port, as well as runes inscribed on pieces of wood, that have been translated and interpreted, many of them are just notes from every day life. The Hanseatic Museum is an authentic merchant’s house from the 1700s, and gives insight into what life was like there. They also had an excellent paper cutting exhibit, the below artwork was made only using scissors and paper!
Despite the overcast weather, we also visited the Fløibanen, a funicular up a mountain that overlooks the city. I’m sure with clear skies the view would be phenomenal, it was worth the reasonable admission to see the city laid out before you.
Walking through the fishmarket was fun, and meandering the shopping districts. A tip: don’t wait until Sunday to buy souvenirs, only the touristy /expensive shops by the cruise port will be open and while they had nice things, it is much more limited than what was open on Saturday evening. Possibly for the best, since we ended up with a Christmas ornament and that was it for souvenirs.
Have you been to Bergen or is it on your list? Tell me about it!