Bergen Brings All the Weather and Yummy Fish Soup

Day 113, Grand World Voyage

Wednesday, April 26, 2023; Bergen, Norway.

Heavy clouds… snow… freezing rain… sleet… peek of blue sky… hail. Repeat.

Such was today’s weather in Bergen, Norway. Still, it didn’t keep us from have a great day exploring this second-largest Norwegian city. Or at least the tourist center of it.

Tiny hail pellets — not quite rain, not quite sleet

Fortunately, the precipitation tended to be light and brief. And the sun really did peek through. In fact, the day started with blue skies.

By dressing appropriately and carrying an umbrella (which usually scares off the heavy rain), I enjoyed walking the streets, browsing the tourist shops and feasting on fish soup and freshly grilled bread. The Norwegian beer helped, too.

The Zuiderdam didn’t dock in the preferred spot, the International Cruise Port just a short walk from the Bryggen Wharf with its distinctive old wooden buildings. Instead, we were at the Jekteviken dock in the commercial port. Most cruise guides indicate there will be shuttle buses from the commercial dock, but we didn’t have any. It was a short walk (2-3 times the length of the ship I would estimate) to a parking lot.

Jekteviken dock

That’s where we lucked out. I knew I couldn’t walk the distance to the fish market (the center of town for tourists), so we ordered an Uber. And 30 seconds later it appeared, having just dropped off another passenger! He dropped us off at the convenient Starbucks, where Eloise, Elaine and our friend Yolanda walked a short distance to the funicular. I settled in for a latte before heading down the Bryggen Wharf, where the buildings under renovation are covered with screens of their original designs.

Despite the cold, outdoor seating was ready for customers, complete with furs at every seat. Even the McDonalds fits into the local ambiance.

My original plan had been to shop for a heavier all-weather jacket, as mine isn’t lined. But none of the shops carried petite sizes, so the sleeves were way too long. And I decided that I can get by fine for now with what I have. My last port in July is Portland, Maine, just down the road from Freeport and the LL Bean headquarters store. I’ll look there.

One of my nephews wants t-shirts that aren’t printed in English, and you would think they would be easy to find. But I haven’t seen any on this trip. They always say Norway, not Norge, for example. At least it gives me something to look for while browsing. I stopped in the little gallery where I bought some pretty prints when I was here in 2019, but the artist Katrine Lund wasn’t in today. I remember enjoying talking with her then.

My knee is doing very well, with no pain and much less swelling. My biggest complaint is that the brace continually slips down. I can live with it by reminding myself that I’ll only be using it for another week or so. I can’t believe how fortunate I have been with a quick recovery. And I do limit my walking, although according to my watch I took about 9,000 steps today.

The rest of the group lucked out at the top of the funicular with a break in the clouds so they could see the whole city, including the Zuiderdam.

View of Bergen from Fløyen, about 1,000 above sea level. Note Zuiderdam to left

When they returned, we ran into Ian and Megan – Elaine always comments that “we go halfway around the world and see people we know!”

We went to lunch at Bryggeriet, a microbrewery next to the fish market. The fish soup with freshly grilled bread was delicious and just right for a chilly, wet day. Of course, the local beers (IPAs, lager and cider) helped, as did the big window view.

I had considered visiting the Bergen Maritime Museum, which would offer a good refuge from rain if the conditions worsened. But our weather luck for this voyage held. Still, I decided I had walked enough and would save that visit for my return to Bergen this summer. I did find my Pocket Earth app came up with a bizarre route from the ship to the museum, represented by the green and red dots below.

This is the best route from the green dot to the red dot?

Back on the ship after the sixth port day in a row, we are all anticipating tomorrow’s sea day as we leave Norway and head to Scotland.