After leaving Grimstad I was back to traveling solo and headed to the west coast city of Bergen. This port town was founded in the 1000s and has always been an important center of trade for Norway. You can still see the old wharf houses, known as Bryggen, stand along the harbor painted in yellows, reds and whites, which are now a World Heritage site.
On my first evening I walked to the harbor from my hostel. I found an indoor market that sold mainly seafood and settled in right by the big windows overlooking the water for dinner. I had a salmon sandwich with lemon and aioli. It was super simple, but probably my favorite meal in Bergen. So fresh and so tasty.
The next day I visited the Bergenhus Fortress which stands at the entrance to the harbor. This was the location of the historical royal complex as well as military fortifications to protect the city. Bergen was once the capital of Norway and thus the seat of the king. I was able to enter Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, and used by the monarch for large gatherings. The wooden ceiling and roof have been reconstructed after the structure was damaged by a ship explosion in the harbor during World War II. I had the whole Hall all to myself for a time and it was incredible. What a powerful presence the space had, it was easy to imagine the feasts of Norwegian nobility taking place on the stones I stood on.
I also visited the Fortress Museum, which is entirely about the military history of Bergen and Norway as a whole. There was an incredible exhibit there about the underground resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II. Bergen was the heart of the resistance movement during the time, probably due to it's historically close ties to the UK through shipping routes. I spent a long time reading about the people who risked and sometimes gave their lives. There was a group who worked with the British Secret Intelligence Service forming a radio chain along the coast to pass along information of German construction, weapons and troop movements. Up until the D-Day invasion in France, Hitler had thought that an invasion via Norway was most likely and the German presence along the coast was continually built up and heavily fortified.
After the museums I slowly made my way through the twisting hillside streets of the city, taking in the architecture and street art of which the city has a really amazing collection of. For golden hour I rode the Fløibanen Funicular, a steep one track train, up to the top of the Fløyen Mountain overlooking the city. The view was stunning, as was the walk down.
Finally, I had dinner along the Bryggen at the restaurant Stuene. The fish was fresh and the atmosphere was cozy. Then I headed to bed to get ready for my day trip into the mountains the next day.
kaitlin k walsh
Adventurer armed with a camera.