Bergen: The Gateway to the Fjords

As part of my two week vacation in February, I had a chance to visit Norway for the first time. I’ve always wanted to see the Norwegian fjords and the release of God of War last year reignited my interest in Norse mythology. So, when I was deciding on where to go after London, I figured Norway would be a good option.

My Norwegian adventure started in Bergen, on the western side of the country. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and is known for being situated right in the mountains near the fjords. Since my entire reason for going to Norway was to check out the fjords, it makes sense for me to start there.

Downtown Bergen on a rainy day.

Bergen is a pretty quaint little city situated by the water and surrounded by mountains. It was really neat because the mountains are pretty close to the city and they have a bunch of houses and other buildings on them. The day I arrived was somewhat rainy and foggy as well so it just made the city feel really dramatic.

The downtown core of the city is really walkable so I spent a lot of time just walking around the main harbour area. They have a UNESCO Heritage Site called Bryggen which is pretty neat. They’re a bunch of old wooden buildings that look pretty cute from afar but when you get closer you start to wonder when they’re gonna collapse since they’re all at like random angles and slanted.

Bryggen, a collection of old wooden buildings.

That’s probably the most unique non-natural sight in Bergen. Despite being the second largest city in Norway, it’s still honestly a tiny city since Norway’s population is so tiny. I mean, Canada has one of the lowest population densities in the world but the GTA has a larger population than all of Norway.

But, being a small city is actually super ok. The reason is because the natural sights of Bergen are awesome and to be completely honest, it would just be tainted if there were more people living nearby.

Bergen has a bunch of parks within the city that are nice to walk around. Even small and random parks are so scenic and relaxing to walk through. I spent like a solid day just walking around the city and checking out the random ponds, parks, and green areas.

A pond in Nygårdsparken.

They also have this funicular called Fløibanen which brings you to the top of one of the mountains overlooking the city. I went up there around sunset and it was beautiful. The city was bathed in this golden light and the sky was this awesome combination of pastel colours and it was such a treat to see.

I ended up walking around the mountain a tiny bit to kill time while the sun actually set and the night view of the city was just as beautiful. One thing I love about European cities is that they still use a lot of incandescent lights so it just gives off a warmer and more comfy feeling.

It was super windy that day and I got pretty cold while waiting for the sun to set but it was totally worth it.

Bergen after the sun sets.

Another thing that was totally worth it is are the fjord tours outside of the city. There’s a lot of parks, fjords, and mountains nearby Bergen so you can definitely spend a lot of time exploring them. I didn’t have that much time though so I ended up only doing one small excursion out, a fjord tour through Osterfjord.

That was my first fjord tour of the trip and I essentially just got on this boat and it brought us through one of the fjords there. It was again, a super windy day, especially when you’re on a boat in the water, but it was an awesome experience.

A boat in the Osterfjorden.

It’s pretty much everything I expected the fjords to be like, some tall mountains flanking a thin body of water. And it was so epic. At the end of the tour we saw this giant waterfall next to this small village and it was also so cool.

The plan is to write another more detailed post about the fjords next time, so stay tuned!

A giant waterfall.

Back in the city, they have a fish market nearby Bryggen. Apparently in the summer the market is larger and open-air but since I went in February it was indoors and a bit more limited. I was just walking around the fish market when I looked at the menus and realized they served whale.

Now, I love whales. I think they’re awesome animals and I generally don’t really approve of the way they get hunted.

However, I’m also a very curious person and wanted to try it. So I did. I felt kinda bad but at the same time I can now say that I’ve tried whale and my curiosity is sated.

A burger with a minke whale patty.

It’s an interesting piece of meat. A lot of similarities with beef but texture-wise it’s a bit softer and flavour-wise it has a much more metallic taste to it. It could be a higher iron count in the blood or maybe it’s the mercury poisoning. Who knows?

Nearby the fish market was this hot dog stand that served reindeer hot dogs too, so I also tried that. In a span of like two days I managed to check off two more animals on my list of animals to eat, which was kinda cool. Reindeer doesn’t really taste like anything special though, just tastes like meat.

Overall, Bergen was awesome. I went to Oslo later on in my trip but I would definitely recommend Bergen over Oslo. It’s just so much nicer of a city and there’s so much cool nature surrounding it. I would love to go back sometime in the summer and check out some of the other places I didn’t have the chance to check out this trip.

Author: Gary

Explorer, Creator, Gamer. #IDKAIST MSc and #UOITGameDev Alumni.

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