Bergen!

12 09 2011

This last week, I took a fabulous trip to Bergen! So be prepared for a blog all about all of it (with pictures)! 🙂

A friend and I left Oslo Thursday morning at 6:30AM by train. The train ride took about 8 1/2 hours, but went by so much faster than that! The whole ride was gorgeous! The Norwegian scenery  is nothing like the flat plains of North Dakota. I don’t think I have ever seen such amazing landscapes. We tried to take pictures along the way, but of course they don’t do any justice. We arrived in Bergen Thursday afternoon and we went straight to our hostel.  We checked in, dropped off our luggage, and were off to explore!

Our hostel was perfectly located for us tourists. We were only a block from the Tourist Information Center and a few minutes walk from Bryggen (the row of old wooden buildings that you will see on just about any Bergen postcard or travel guide), which is where we headed first. We walked down to Bryggen and spent awhile browsing the numerous tourist shops and taking all the necessary touristy pictures. After the day of traveling and afternoon of exploring, we were a bit tired and definitely hungry. We had decided ahead of time that we wanted to “splurge” on some quality fish while in Bergen. To make up for it in our budget we each brought along some fruit, chips, bread, peanut butter, and jelly; thanks to the food that we brought, we only had to pay to eat supper each day. The first evening, as we walked around Bryggen and the harbor, we would stop at all the restaurants checking out the menus posted outside of the buildings. We eventually found a pub that offered a couple fish dishes at a price that fit our budget. I ordered deep fried cod and it was delicious!

The next morning we woke up to get straight to the sightseeing. The previous day we had stopped at the Tourist Information Center and asked for their suggestions on what to see. They suggested the Rosenkrantz tower, so we wen there first. The admission was only about $5 for students and was WELL worth it! We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we really enjoyed it. We were pleasantly surprised while giving ourselves a self-guided tour, when we opened a door and realized we were at the top and could walk around the top of the tower. The views were great!

After the Rosenkrantz tower, we made our way to the Fløibanen. The Fløibanen is a cable car that takes you up to the top of one of the mountains surrounding Bergen. The ride itself was neat in that the angle to get to the top of the mountain is so steep – at one point the incline is 26°. The Fløibanen ride itself offered some pretty cool views and the views from the top were even better! While at the top of the mountain we had lunch and enjoyed some of the nature before it started to rain again. (It rains a lot, off and on, in Bergen.)

That afternoon, after we came down from the mountain, we went to an old church near our hostel before grabbing some coffee. That evening for supper we went to a part of town that the Tourist Information Center suggested. There were a couple restaurants in the area so we, once again, looked over the menus before deciding. We decided on eating at the Opera Cafe, which is right across from the Opera. This time I ordered grilled salmon and it was just as delicious as the meal the night before.

Saturday morning we got up and headed straight towards the Natural History Museum. This museum was suggested to us and is conveniently free for students. 🙂 We had a limited amount of time to spend at the museum, because we had an afternoon filled with other adventures. After the museum, we headed to the light rail that would take us outside the city to a couple different sights.

First up was the Fantoft Stave Church. We hopped off the light rail and had to walk a little ways and then trek up a steep walkway to the church. The church itself is tucked away up in part of the woods. This stave church had been burned, but was rebuilt so it was technically a replica. Even though it was a replica, the detail was still amazing. We also ate our sack lunches that we brought with us outside the stave church on a stone bench.

Once we were done at the stave church, we made our way back to the light rail and took it to the next stop, where we got off and had to walk to Troldhaugen. Troldhaugen was the composer, Edvard Grieg’s home. The walk took about 20 minutes, but was well worth it! We first went through the Edvard Grieg Museum and then explored the area as well as the composer’s house. The area that it is located is right on the water and has great nature surrounding it!

After taking the light rail back to Bergen, we grabbed a bite to eat in at the fish market – classic fish and chips! That night we walked around Bergen a little bit more before having to leave early the next morning. Sunday, we took a boat from Bergen to the small town of Flåm. The boat took us up along the coast and through the Sognefjord – Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. Although the weather was not perfect on this end of the trip, the fjord tour was definitely a highlight of the trip! We were on the boat for about 5 1/2 hours and it seemed like every time it stopped raining we were outside snapping pictures. (none of which, again, do the fjord any justice.) We had about 2 1/2 hours to spend in Flåm – population about 450. Surprisingly, our time was well spent and passed too quickly. We had lunch at one of the cafes; the daily special was soup and bread for about $10 (great deal in Norway!) and hit the spot! After lunch, we looked through some more tourist shops, took pictures, and checked out the Flåm Railway Museum. We then took the historic Flåmsbanen to Myrdal and from Myrdal took another train back to Oslo.

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We were pretty beat by the time we made it home, but I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything! We accomplished all of the things on “to-do list” and more, all while being pretty thrifty. One of my favorite parts about being abroad is how easy it is to take a short trip of a lifetime for a few days and still being able to make it back in time for the next week’s classes and having some food money left for the week. 😉

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