The final stop in our very short tour of Norway was a two day visit to Bergen on the west coast.  Bergen is a former Hanseatic city with lots of history much of it centred around the trade of stock fish (generally cod that is dried in the wind).  The town gets its name from the seven mountains in general vicinity as ‘berg’ is the word for mountain in Norwegian (and Swedish).

Us in front of the Bergen's iconic Bryggen (the wharf) row of wooden houses. This is where the Hanseatic (German) merchants lived when they were using the town as a stock fish trading post. The Norwegians were officially not allowed to live there during that time.

Being right on the coast nestled up to the mountains makes for the perfect combination for rain as any Vancouverite will know.  We knew ahead of time that rain was highly likely and packed accordingly, but what caught us a little off guard was the speed at which conditions changed.  I’ve been to a number of places where the locals will joking say something along the lines of ‘if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes’.  In Bergen you can make such a statement in all truthfulness.  I lost count of the number of times we’d put on our gortex and/or run for cover and then five minutes later have to dig out our sunglasses and shed a layer.

View from part way up Mount Fløyen. We got caught in a pretty heavy downpour up there and ended up retreating before making it to the top. Instead we spent a few hours partially drying off at the Hanseatic Museum which was mostly a preserved trading house right on Bryggen. In was interesting to hear the stories of how the merchants lived and worked.
Similar view without the fence.
Fishing is still vital to Norway's economy. Here is a big fishing boat heading out of port. Eating out is extremely expensive in Norway so luckily we had rented an apartment and did most of our own cooking. We purchased a really fresh piece of white fish (sole?) that Catherine cooked up to perfection for dinner on Saturday.
Looking up the street that our apartment was on.
Johanneskirken (St. John's Church)
A gazebo and and art museum. We used this gazebo to get out of a sudden rain shower at one point.
Looking up to one of the mountains surrounding the city.

Ole Bull's Square. Notice the overhangs on the outside - when the rain starts to fall everyone makes a break for one side or the other.
A Pacific Northwest totem pole given by the City of Seattle on the occasion of Bergen's 900th birthday. I wonder if Bergen sent a gift to Seattle or if Seattle has to wait for its 900th birthday.
Fisherman statue - he looks well dressed for the weather.

After one too many downpours we decided to call it a day and made our way to the airport looking like drowned rats where we tried to dry off before our evening flight back to Stockholm.  Even though we packed a lot into four days we only scratched the surface of Norway.  Hopefully one day we’ll get to go back and explore some more and you should too; just don’t forget your rain gear.


  1. I’ve really enjoyed the series on your trip to Norway, I have great memories of having done the same trip although it looked quite different when I did it. My solution to the unpredictable rain showers was easy, I did the trip in February – problem solved! The on/off snow showers made for a wonderful changing landscape without the need to run for cover. Of course the temperature might be a deterrent for some people. 🙂

    Thanks for posting all the pictures!

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures Ed. Hearing your stories of Norway was definitely a contributing factor in our desire to visit there. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

  3. Neat. The wooden buildings definitely seem to be a trademark in Norway. I think in Trondheim the tourism industry is suffering because the wooden buildings keep catching fire and burning down – only a few left now?

    Interesting to hear about life with the Hansa in Bergen. I didn’t realize it was so segregated.

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