My first day was a fantastic start. The flight was quicker than expected with amazing views of the fjords on descent, and before I knew it, I was stood in the fish market of Bergen after a very hot coach ride from the airport (the air con was broken in 28C heat!). The appetising smell was very welcoming and as I did a 360 degree turn, the greenery was stunning.
After checking in and swiftly changing into more appropriate clothes for summer, I ticked the first thing off the list for Norway; eating some reindeer. It tasted very similar to deer, unsurprisingly, and acted as good fuel for the exploring to come.
One of the main attractions in Bergen is of course taking the furnicular up Mount Floyen for the incredible panoramic views which I mused about as one of my top things to do during the trip. After no queues and a quick five minute hop up the side of the mountain, it was a real treat. A sharp turn right and you’re presented with an awe inspiring view that I’m not ashamed to say, took my breath away. In silence, a small crowd were gazing below and I got snap happy trying to capture the moment as best I could. Below, the city was a landscape of lakes, forests and wooden architecture, as well as the harbour filled with expensive boats.
After tearing myself away from the view, I had a coffee and visited the Floyen lake, pretending to fall in for comedy value, and then took the longer trek down the mountain. It was advertised as 45 minutes to an hour, but was more like an hour and a half with ambling, a troll stealing my hat, stopping to go on some swings and enjoying the scenery. One of the highlights was seeing a red squirrel not get run over by a cyclist!
The woodland was dense and the trail steep at times. Along one of the bends, people seem to have taken to constructing little stone sculptures by the stream (seen below to my left).
Back down in the centre and on flat land, it was time to explore the market further and after another swift change into dinner clothes, grab some local Nordic cuisine. The restaurant of choice was Bryggeloftet and Stuene just across the harbour from the hotel, where I tried whale for the first time; it was a bit like beef jerky. Now, whale on the menu may seem controversial, but by researching beforehand I felt OK sampling it as a one-off experience. Norway is one of the few countries permitted to source whales, and ensure they are of the mink variety; the regulations are very strict and the WWF and the International Whaling Commission both agree it isn’t endangering their species.
After a cod main, the evening was still young and at half ten I was strolling around the historical part of Bergen overhearing banter of locals in the inn. Here, I came across an endearing face, so pulled one of my own before strolling to the castle and heading back to my hotel across the water. At 11.08, it was still light outside; sitting in the hotel’s beer garden was a very relaxing end to a rather busy day. I did wonder if sleep would come easy considering it wasn’t dark outside, but there’s a lot to be said for thick curtains and being tired… although it took me quite a while to fall asleep in the end.
Visiting Bergen has been a great opener to my European adventure. The weather was so much better than my phone told me it should be, I was amazed by the perpetual daylight and I hit 16k on my FitBit, despite it seemingly resetting itself as I arrived in Norway. Tomorrow I’m off to the park before a four hour boat journey through the Fjords.