Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Wednesday 26 July - Bergen

Where’s Bertie? He’s at the motorhome parking at the (disused?) Bergenhalle, a few kilometres outside of the centre of Bergen. (Exact location: 60.35392, 5.35918)

Reckoning that the most likely time to find a slot vacant at the motorhome parking in Bergen was sometime between 9 and 10 am, we arrived at quarter past eight, thinking that we could sit outside and have breakfast, waiting for someone to leave.

It was a promising sign to see a motorhome heading along the road towards us as we approached and our luck was incredible. There was just one slot vacant, and it was one with electricity (the price of 150NOK to park here for 24 hours includes electric, but there are fewer electric points than there are spaces). After 35 days without mains power, that was exciting. Aside from charging all of the things that we can’t charge off 12v (vacuum cleaner, window vac, beard trimmer), it meant that we could finally get the clippers out and have haircuts. People passing by on the pavement outside the parking area, did stare at our alfresco barbers.

The tram into Bergen stops a minute’s walk down the road from the parking, so once we had drunk tea (Footnote 1), had breakfast, drunk coffee, eaten buns, had haircuts, made a packed lunch, faffed etc, off we headed into town.

Bergen is, surely, most well known for its old town (Bryggen), dating from the eleventh century, but actually rebuilt any number of times since, albeit in the same style and using the same construction techniques as the original buildings. I took some particularly badly composed shots of it:

Note that the two middle buildings are currently represented by printed fabric wrappings, as they are currently undergoing a £4m renovation project.

The guide books and the tourist brochures told us we had to wander the alleys through the old town, and we did as we were told…

…although not before we had taken a wander around the fort, where some dress-rehearsals were in progress on an open-air stage. I didn’t take a snap of the performers, but here is part of the fort, with Mick pondering whether to spend £7 on a Cornish pasty from the Pasty Company:

Our trip to the cathedral didn’t come to anything as it is currently closed for major renovations…

More printed wrapping fabric pretending to be the building behind

…but we were able to go to St John’s Church instead, which is (apparently) often mistaken for the cathedral due to its grandness and elevated position:

With hindsight, I wish that we had come here for two days and bought a Bergen Card for the same period. It wouldn’t offer us good value for the 1-day card (240NOK), but with the 2-day version (310NOK) the combination of hitting the museums (Footnote 2) and having inclusive public transport would have made it worthwhile. As I didn’t reach that conclusion until far too late in the day, we made do with just our wandering around, until our enthusiasm for wandering waned and we made our way back to the tram, thence Bertie.

bonus snap

Doing a tiny bit of hand washing on our return (with the benefit of electricity to heat some water and a water tap close to hand), I thought that it would be easier to rinse it by taking the bowl over to a mains-pressure tap. I was surprised indeed to fill the bowl at the outside sink and find the water too hot for my hands. A sink in the car park of an exhibition hall, supplying piping hot water – who would have thought? If the weather was better for drying, and the hour of day earlier, I would have washed much more.


1. I’m so unused to having mains power that I put the kettle on the gas, before remembering that we had electric and switching it over to the electric ring. It had been on there a while before I remembered that we have an electric kettle!

2. I was particularly intrigued by the Leprosy Museum; Mick suspected that visiting it would cost and arm and a leg…

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