Beautiful Bergen

11 02 2011

Well it’s been some time since my last post. Why I hear you say ? There has been lots going on, but nothing really worth blogging about. I feel like I have neglected my WordPress, kind of like an old donkey tied up to a fence. You know it’s there, and you should care for it…but always find something better to do !

So, I thought I would write about my latest travels…

We have a number of high-profile customers in Bergen, Norway. Consequently I visit Bergen quite frequently, the most frequent being last week. It is one of the more welcome travel destinations, as Norway is stunningly beautiful. Once you get past the extortionate costs (we’ll come back to that), the lack of daylight in Winter and constant rain…the rawness of the landscape gets under your skin.

As mentioned above, Bergen is generally the Norwegian destination of choice. I have visited many places in Norway, from Oslo in the South all the way North (and about as North as you can go) to Longyearbyen in Svalbard. Interesting side note on Longyearbyen. This is the most northern town in the world, and is frequently visited by Polar Bears. It’s actually law that you carry a firearm once you leave the town limits to defend yourself from the aforementioned bear !

Me next to the only “WARNING POLAR BEARS” sign in the world !

Back to Bergen…

Bergen is exceptionally beautiful. The Fisketorget (Fish Market) area is swathed with pubs and restaurants. One of our regular haunts was “Scruffy Murphy’s”. It’s a welcome break, as you can sit outside bathed in heat lamps whilst wrapped with a Scruffy Murphy’s blanket. It offsets the cool damp air nicely, and is recommended with a £8 Hansa (local brew). Incidentally, doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you will always find an Irish themed pub ! I remember seeing one in Bahrain of all places ! If junk food is your thang, try a £20 Big Mac ?

On the other side of the Fisketorget is the Bryggen area. This is actually listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is well worth a visit. There is a really nice restaurant next to the Bryggeloft. Go upstairs, and get the Bacalao (dried cod) which is a dried cod and spicy tomato sauce. Extremely tasty indeed. You might want to be careful though, as this costs around £25 ! Add to that a beautiful Advocaat ice cream and blackberry dessert (£19) and you have a dinner fit for Bill Gates..as only he could afford it ! Just don’t try the “Lutefisk”. You know that a dish is wrong when it’s only advertised in the local lingo. Lutefisk is cod that’s buried in the ground for several months, and then soaked in caustic soda…mmmm tasty !

 

Image provided from Wikipedia

Do go through the old city towards a mountain behind Bergen called Fløyen. If you have a spare couple of hours, you can walk an easy (if not vertical) path to the top. I performed this last year in July, and it must have looked comical. Picture me, a slightly (careful) overweight Brit puffing and panting up the never-ending paths of Fløyen. I must have looked like “Jerry the Berry” from Phoenix Nights.

To add insult to injury, these stupidly fit Norwegian’s were running up the mountain past me. You could almost smell the contempt in their breath ! The final straw came when a woman ran past me pushing a pram, repleat with baby. Just to confirm, you did read it right…RAN ! Cue two hours later, and several metres of gained elevation and at least five near heart attacks…I was confronted with the following site…

It was truly worth the pain, misery and ECG’s !

So, visit Bergen and visit Norway. It’s a wonderful place with warm and welcoming people. English is shamefully widely spoken.

Just be sure to take a sharp intake of breath every time you pay for something…

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