We had been warned that it’s usually raining in Bergen, but it wasn’t when our cruise ship called there. Everything was so crisp and clear it was almost impossible to take bad photographs. After our visits further north, the weather seemed almost tropical … for the first time in days, we could dispense with the thermal layers.
We didn’t book an excursion; we found that our casual stroll around covered a good part of the ground of most of the excursions, anyway.
First and most obvious was the old town of Brygge, with its ancient wooden buildings. It’s listed as a World Heritage Site, so they’ve changed little from the time this was an important port in the Hanseatic League. Some of them now house souvenir shops; the first we saw in Norway with the prices given in pounds, euros and dollars as well. We must be getting back on to the beaten track.
We just had to have a ride on the Floiban funicular railway. If you lived in San Francisco, you’d call it a cable car. It’s popular with visitors and locals alike, and takes you up ‘Mount’ Floien, really, a rather slight hill overlooking the town and the harbour, giving a superb birds’-eye view.
The ride up was rather disappointing. They tout the spectacular views on the way up … then permit standing passengers to block those views. They don’t go quite as far as employing ‘shovers-in’, like they’re reputed to do on Japanese commuter trains, but, unless you can get there early, and grab a nice position, you’re not going to see much for the press of bodies.
But, it’s worth it for, once out of the car, the views from the top were marvellous, and it’s easy to see why ‘Mount’ Floien is so popular with the local people. For many, it’s the start of several marked walking trails through the woods, but we didn’t really have time to try one.
Instead, we contented ourselves with enjoying the view, and indulging ourselves with large, delicious ice creams, dusted with chocolate powder.
On the way down, we were first in the queue, and managed to grab the front seats, which nobody can possibly stand in front of. So, I was able to get some good video footage of the scenic ride.
What we liked about Bergen was that the best bits were within easy walking distance of where the ship was docked. We spent a while browsing around the souvenir shops, to dispose of our Norwegian change before departing the country. Then we returned to the ship through a sort of park, paying a quick visit to the Castle, the Rosenkrantz Tower and the Haakonsall … just to admire the architecture from the outside … on the way. A little bit rushed, but dinner wasn’t going to wait for us; neither was the ship!