Bergen and Bryggen

Today we are resting, doing laundry, getting over the never-ending journey we did yesterday. All night I kept having dreams about driving on a side of a very high fjord and almost falling in the water at every turn. I think I didn’t keep my eyes closed enough on that bus ride yesterday.

At night we finally ventured out to have dinner at the Fish Market. The Fish Market history goes way back many centuries and it has always been an important place of trade for this corner of the world. There is a really cool photo that I stole from another blog (chromolithograph, to be exact), taken in the late 1800s.

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But, honestly, not my favorite. The place is a tourist trap with overinflated prices and mediocre food. The new modern building that was added for year-round weather protection just doesn’t seem to fit there. The tourist information center on the second floor cheapens it even more. But it was nice to sit outside on the water, enjoy the sunshine and the view and realize that people were doing exact same thing 800 years ago. On that exact same spot.

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After dinner we went to see Bryggen, which is Norwegian for the Wharf, is a row of houses that face the water on the side of the fjord entering Bergen. The houses were built 300 years ago and they are a part of this area’s Hanseatic history. The famous facades are lining up the wharf and are pictured on every postcard of Bergen.

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They are old and beautifully imperfect, with walls seemingly leaning on each other, windows that are not on the same level, many shades of paint and exposed old wood mixed together in one adorable melange.

But inside is even more charming. If you slip through the narrow passageway in between, you can see small courtyards full of interesting craft shops, potters, jewelers and artists in their own little community.There is a cute restaurant that has a nice outdoor patio and the wooden fish. There is a tradition to make a wish on that fish, or so we heard. We didn’t make any wishes, but kids enjoyed climbing on it for a few minutes. I’m sure they wished for all kinds of things while they were climbing, that’s probably good enough.

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We are so shocked to see the beautiful sunny weather outside. Bergen gets on average 7 feet of rain every year and it’s surprising it’s not pouring buckets on us. It’s still only about 55 degrees, so we are wearing sweaters and long pants, but there is a shocking amount of youth walking around in shorts and t-shirts. Apparently, the party season was right in it’s peak and there were huge groups of kids lining up at the bars and nightclubs. We guessed that they were college students, getting ready to start new school year.

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We ended up watching sunset on the wharf and then wandering through old town for a few hours, getting lost in the narrow little streets, lined up with neat old houses, just soaking in the history and the beauty.