Bergen, Norway

Bergen was founded in 1070 and was the largest and most important port in medieval Norway as well as being the capital in the 12th and 13th centuries. Bergen was a central port for the Hanseatic league and the town’s own tradesmen were ousted by this league.  German Hansas had their own community and laws in Bergen.  Old 16th and 17th century wooden warehouses which are the remnants of this community can be seen along the waterfront in the Bryggen area and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Bergen is Norway’s second largest city and its rainiest but the weather was beautiful today.  On the sail in I saw many large oil tanks (photo) which are the evidence of what makes Norway a very wealthy country. I booked a hop-on hop-off tour for this port.  The bus stopped right by the port and I took it about 3/4 of the way around the city and got off at the Bryggen area to have a look at the old wooden houses.  They are only used as shops and offices as it is not deemed safe to live in them as they are a fire hazard. Many are undergoing renovations and there are signs up explaining how this is being done.  One house was completely dismantled and taken to another town to be reconstructed and it will then be moved back. I proceeded from there to the funicular to Mount Floien to have a look at the spectacular views (photos).  The Edvard Greig Concert Hall with its representation of a piano on its roof, can be seen from Mount Floien (photo).  My next stop was the Bergen Art Museum which is actually in three building side by side.  One is dedicated to old Norwegian masters and Eduard Munch.  Most of the Munch paintings are portraits and landscapes done before 1900. They do not at all resemble the technique used in his most famous work, “The Scream”.  Another larger building has notable Danish painters from all eras including Munch but he is shown together with a group labelled International Modernists which includes many Picassos, some Klees, and other modern painters. There was also some interesting Danish modern and avant garde work in this gallery. The third building was dedicated strictly to contemporary art. It contained mixed media, much of it video, most of which was sexually explicit!  After that I finished the bus tour which ended up at the ship.  After lunch, I set out again for the harbour area to look at the Fishmarket (photo).  Walking back to the ship, I explored the Bergenhus Castle (photo), dating from the 13th century. The Rosenkrantz tower is a 15th century addition which incorporates older structures, one from the 1290s (photo).  I can’t leave Norway without a picture of a troll.  Our next port is Amsterdam.

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2 Responses to Bergen, Norway

  1. daviddapaget says:

    Enjoyed your account and pix of Bergen, Leslie. Glad for your sake the weather finally turned fine…I have vivid memories of my visit there decades ago, arriving – also in fine summer weather – on an overnight ferry from Newcastle. BTW, some of your readers may be confused by the references to the Danish influence (e.g. re. art), but I have a recollection of Denmark being the occupying power in Norway for centuries.

    • Leslie Holland says:

      Thank you David. the Danish reference is a mistake which I have corrected. I am not sure where my head was at that time. Leslie

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