Destination: Bergen, Norway

February 2020

Hello! If you are reading this, then you probably want to learn more about my trip to Bergen, Norway! In this post, I will have details about our daily adventures, personal tips I learned the hard way, as well as my opinions of some of the places we went to! If this is something that interests you, keep reading! If not, sorry, but I hope you have a good day!

Day 1

Arrival

Bergen was the second trip on my 'European Tour' as they call it here. Flying into Bergen on Norwegian Air, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was cloudy the entire flight. Then, suddenly, out of the fog, mountains, water, and a long city that almost appeared to be connected by islands.

Once through the airport, which is incredibly quick, my travel partner, Isaac, and I headed to the Bergen Light Rail. This is a tram that runs the length of the city. Public transport is standard in Europe rather than everyone owning their own vehicle or taking an Uber. The Light Rail is located directly outside of the airport. Now, the machines are kind of confusing. Even the English version of screens explain nothing. But we just went with it, and our tickets were never checked.

Once hopping off the light rail at Nonneseter, it was only a few blocks to our first hostel, Marken Gjestehaus. That being said, the roads are cobblestone, so if you're traveling with a suitcase, like me, it's not super fun.

Hostel Life

At Marken Gjestehaus, you check in and are given sheets for your bed. In my room, which was a 10-person, female-only dormitory, you randomly pick an open bed. For me, I had to pick an upper bunk in the corner. The idea of a top bunk was too novel to resist. The room also had lockers, a bathroom, and a shower, though there were also restrooms and extra showers located around the hostel. Marken Gjestehaus was also equipped with common areas, such as a lounge and kitchen, and free Wi-Fi. One thing that is not added in, which I didn't expect, is an additional cost to rent a towel. It only took about 30-seconds for a French girl to come wandering around naked here, so be warned: strangers in hostels are not shy!


The first night in the hostels is always the hardest. New sounds and a new environment! My best tip is to bring earplugs. The lights coming on and off didn't really bother me, personally, but the sounds of snoring, sleep talking, and the beds squeaking kept me up. By day two, you pretty much get used to it, though.

Adventuring

Later that night, Isaac and I explored a bit of the town, being joined by his friend, Stine, who he met while attending Colorado State. We walked all the way from our hostel to the edge of the city. At the side of the water, an old naval base, as well as one of the oldest stone buildings in Norway, is located.


Day 2

On this morning, Isaac and I woke up bright and early, ready to explore the part of the city near town. The second we walked out of our hostel, we were surrounded by the morning life of Norway. We stopped over at a market, the Coop Prix, which we stopped by every morning for an eple, pære, bringerbær, and banan smoothie. If you're like me and have food allergies, I highly recommend getting the Google Translate app. It uses your camera to live translate, which helped me to avoid jordbær successfully.

Down the street from the market, we passed the most picturesque bakeries getting ready for the morning. We walked down to a local park with a lake in the middle. Here, we found a Spanish man feeding pigeons, casually swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels at 8:30 in the morning. Don't ask.

Mountain

We then met up with Stine and headed to Fløyfjellet. Fløyfjellet is a mountain that overlooks much of the city of Bergen. Bergen actually continues to wrap around the mountains, so it is

much larger than I even know. Although there is a railcar you can take up this mountain, we opted to hike instead. From the top of the mountain, you can see everything! It really put into perspective just how much of the city we'd walked the night before in the dark.


Another interesting thing you will find is a troll village. You'll see trolls all throughout your journey to Norway. We also found kind ladies dressed as hearts handing out candies to celebrate Valentine's day.

Once done at the mountain, the only obvious way to get down was to sled down the mountain. Because while sledding with camera gear and one's laptop, nothing can do wrong, right? Although I was terrified of breaking my gear, everything worked out just fine! Well mostly. By the end, my foot had bled through my shoes from poor sock choice.

Royal Castle

We headed over to Gamlehaugen, the royal house of Norway, which was given by the prime minister as a gift to the Norwegian family, although they never go to it. This castle is located on substantial public lands. I went the wrong time of year, but even with snow, you could tell these gardens are stunning in warm weather. The property also has water access and is covered in hills. I decided not to photograph this location, as it was going through maintenance construction when we went. Surrounding the castle was more hills, so obviously, more sledding was on the agenda.

Evening Shenanigans

After warming up and drying off at the hostel, Isaac and I headed out with our new friend, Atin, from Canada. It was pouring rain and as windy as possible as we ventured out to find a place to eat. Most places were full, as it was Valentine's Day, but finally, we found a spot at Theatro. After a delicious meal and a bottle of wine, we went in search of some nightlife activities.

We ended up seeing this weird door in an alleyway under a restaurant, and without hesitation, decided to head in. A Brit, an Indian-Canadian, and an American walk into a Norwegian bar… There's a punchline somewhere. This was a genuinely Norwegian bar. It was a blast. Even the bartender commented that this wasn't a location where tourists wandered into. It was locals only, and we loved it! Spending the evening debating life philosophies with other world travelers was one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. The bar is called Hectors Hybel. Highly recommend, especially for college aged people.


Day 3

This morning was even more laid back. We took the opportunity to wander into downtown Bergen to look at the famous wooden buildings along the pier. The city was much more alive that morning. We continued to walk up into the more residential, less touristy areas. We attempted to go to the famous fish markets but we were unable to locate them. There was recently flooding where the market is generally found, so I'm assuming this contributed to the lack of fish market.

Viking Church

Later, we headed up to Fantoft Stave Church, a church from the time of the Vikings. This church was originally located in Fortun in Sogn in 1150, but was later disassembled and put back together here in Bergen. Hiking up, this church is very unassuming. You're wandering down a path in the woods, then suddenly you can see the top of the church. It is incredibly beautiful! I recommend visiting it in warmer weather. In the winter, it is closed, but in the summer, you can enter the church.

Dinner Hosts

In the evening, we were welcomed into Stine's home for dinner. Her family lives in a beautiful house on the hillside that overlooks much of the city. She and her parents prepared an incredible meal of salmon and trout. Fish is very common in Norway, but the way it was prepared and the company made it extra enjoyable. For dessert, Stine even made apple cake (which is literally apple slices baked inside of a cake) and ice cream. Their ice cream looks like it's a loaf of bread, and you slice it rather than scooping it out of a tub. This may have been the highlight of Bergen for me. It was incredibly humbling to be welcomed into these stranger's home. After we watched some cross country skiing, which Norway is incredibly skilled at.


Day 4 & Day 5 Departure

For our last real day in Bergen, I wish I could say we did a lot, but we didn't. In Bergen, pretty much everything's closed on Sundays. That means we had to go grocery shopping the night before and take advantage of the hostel's amenities. With everything closed, we took this day as a homework and editing day.


In the morning, we got our usual smoothie, then headed over to a local bakery, Godt Brød. This bakery honestly has some of the most delicious breaks, meats, and cheeses I have ever had. It is a must. After a short light rail ride back to the airport, we were ready to depart to Denmark.


I must say, the airport. is a little odd as an American. I had absolutely zero human interaction from start to finish, which is actually normal in Europe. It is a small airport, so things move quickly.

 

Overall, I loved my time in Bergen. If you are. Planning on staying here, be warned that Norway is generally more expensive than the states. Also, it rains here well over 300 days a year, so plan accordingly. I look forward to returning here one day and experiencing other parts of the country, especially the Lofoten Islands. I also hope to be able to see the Fjords of Norway, but with so much traveling, I've had to budget. One day. For now, I am off to another country Stay tuned to hear about Copenhagen, Denmark!

Thanks for reading! I would love to read below about your experiences in Norway or anywhere you think I should go next! Like, share, subscribe, or don't! Til next time!


Happy Trails,

Katherine

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