September 4, 2007
The trip to Bergen from Southampton was a rough one. We hit some heavy seas and a lot of people were seasick in the morning. For us, we didn't get a lot of sleep. Our cabin was located just outside of the elevator entrance. During the night the pitching of the ship caused the sea door separating the corridor from the elevator lobby to partially open. When it opened it triggered an alarm that woke us up. This kept up until about 3:30am at which time we saw someone who was working on fixing the door. Lynn was ready to stuff towels into the jamb of the door to keep it intact. As we look back on it now, we can laugh. However, at the time, it really wasn't very funny. It was a long day and night at sea.
Bergen, the “Fjord Capital” of Norway, was founded in 1070 by King Olav the Peaceful. The city sits in a harbor between the mountains and the seas and the surrounding coves from where the Vikings would set sail for Europe, Iceland and England.
Once Norway’s capital, bustling with Dutch, English, Scottish and German traders, shippers and fishermen, today Bergen is the country’s second largest city and cultural capital. Its economy is still dominated by shipping oil. Its physical beauty is enhanced by the city’s wonderful blend of old and new architectural styles and 18th century charm.
Over 200,000 people live in Bergen and it rains 300 days of the year. We were fortunate to have arrived on a clear day. It allowed us to take some spectacular photos of the city from atop the mountain that we rode to the top on a funicular (cable drawn coach).
We begin our entrance into the harbor to Bergen. Along the way we pass a number of beautiful homes on the hillsides.
The bridge that join both sides of the fjord reminds us of the Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan with its towering stanchions and sleek lines.
Tour of the City
We found this bench with an armrest to be interesting. The city streets are paved with brick.
As we traveled Lynn noticed something strange ahead. It was a man riding his motorized wheelchair on the street. If you look at the left photo you can see him as a speck alongside the stone wall ahead. The streets are quite narrow and he hugged the wall as the bus passed.
We complete the bus ride to the base of the mountain. Here we board a cable car (funicular) to ride to the top of the mountain.
Two cars are used, one blue and one red, and use the same track. The transition occurs halfway down at a transfer station where the tracks split to allow one car the pass the other without having to stop.
The view is spectacular and the city looks very modern and well planned.
At the left upper quadrant of the photo above you can see our ship in the harbor. We sailed up the fjord shown on the right. The bridge that we passed under is hidden by the hills.
The exit and entrance of the cable car is at the left of the above photo. The building is where one buys souvenirs and we couldn't resist checking them out. No, we didn't buy any. Norwegians have quite an affinity for trolls. Behind the souvenir shop there is a park with a troll welcoming visitors in.
The trolls were delightful but the problems of transporting them home was a deterrent to us for purchasing.
It was time for us to leave the mountain and return to our ship for our next journey to Hellesylt & Geiranger toward the north of Norway.
Next stop Hellesylt & Geiranger
Return to Arctic Circle
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