Prospects for keeping dry in Bergen look good if the weather we awoke to this morning holds for the day.
After a very long day yesterday we managed to lie in this morning to prepare ourselves for a few hours on our feet again when we visit the old town are of Bergen.
Bedding arrangements have come in all types on the BBA V3 and we have added another type here to the list. Single beds in separate rooms! We haven’t slept this far apart from each other in 44 years!
We have another roomy apartment in Bergen with a lounge/dining room and even a little balcony, although we are not sure there is room for the two of us at the same time. It will come in handy this morning for putting the washing out on a mobile clothes hanger and let the water drip to the ground below.
The downtown area of Bergen looks quite compact so we decided that half a day after we had had lunch in town would do us for sightseeing.
So with a very late breakfast and the admin out of the way we readied ourselves for the short
walk down to the light rail tram. The system, which opened only a couple of years ago, has only one line at present but more are planned. And after our experience this is what Auckland really needs to get over its commuter congestion problems.
As we were walking to the station to catch the tram light rain started to fall and before we were half way there it intensified. Bergen unfortunately looked like it was going to live us to its reputation of being the wettest city in Norway with rain falling on average 231 days per year.
We were prepared however and out came the rain jackets.
I carried on the tradition we started yesterday of taking the senior discount where it was offered and I am starting to really enjoy this little bonus. The fare on the tram was halved for me. We later read that senior fares apply to those over 67 years of age as they have a later retirement age in Norway something we guess will have to happen in New Zealand when one of the political parties has the courage and enough lead in Parliament to do it.
sizeable fines for not paying the right fare or the fare at all on the light rail tram. I decided if an inspector got on I would play dumb although that might be interesting as the Norwegians speak and understand English very well.
The light rail takes up only about 10 metres width of space and there is a line in each direction within that. There were 18 stops into the city and it didn’t appear as though too many buildings had to be removed to lay out a path for the tram system. In a couple of places a road has been replaced by the tram lines through shopping areas but then a pedestrian mall had also been created along both sides of the tram lines. The trams do run up the middle of the pedestrian area and they are quiet so you do have to be aware what is around you and watch out for the trams that ran every 9 minutes in each direction.
We rode the tram to the end of the line and found ourselves right where we wanted to be.
A short walk and we were at the information centre where
people from cruise ships in port were either waiting for the shuttle bus to take them back to their ship or were simply sheltering from the now steady rain.
We picked up a map of the city and decided to have lunch first in the hope that the rain might have eased or even stopped by the time we had finished.
Today is my birthday lunch and I am overdue for a hamburger and there were several pubs along the street down to the harbour area where the old town is.
We chose the Harbour Pub and as it was now nearly 1.30pm we thought that it would be quiet with most people finished lunch and we would get reasonably quick service.
It was the sort of place where we could have sat outside under the gas heaters to keep warm as the rain had had the effect of dropping the air temperature to winter conditions we would experience back home, around 11C.
However we chose indoors and waited and waited and waited. We were almost ready to go somewhere else and the waitress noticed us and we ordered up a local Hansa beer each
plus a Texas Burger for me and a BLT for Gretchen.
The meals were very good and tasty and the beer wasn’t half bad either but the price, well that is a different matter.
Eating out is not a cheap option in Norway. Mind you everything is so much more expensive here than in other countries in Europe.
This was the first burger I have ever had that cost just under NZ$30! The 400ml beers were just under NZ$9 each!
Never mind we knew it wasn’t going to be cheap to visit Norway and it does pay you back in many other respects especially the scenery and we have probably the best yet to come.
We had been watching the rain outside while we were having lunch and using an open gutter pipe that flowed outside the window near us as a guide as to whether the rain had eased.
The water was flowing less as we readied ourselves to leave the pub and sure enough after about 10 minutes out on the street walking to the old town area the rain did actually stop.
It was fortunate that the rain did stop
or we might have given away our walking tour of Bergen. As it was we didn’t get that far before the rain returned again.
We did have enough time to take a look at the restored buildings from the Hanseatic times. Bergen was founded in 1070 and in those days it was a German influence that dominated the commercial trade.
The area has had UNESCO status since 1979 as a World Cultural Heritage site.
The area is certainly a feature of the harbour area and creates an old world look to what is also a modern city with its more recent constructions.
With the rain still holding off we took the funicular up to what is a not to missed lookout high above the city.
Thankfully many of the cruise ship passengers had either already taken the ride or were of doing something else as the car we rode up in had only a few people aboard.
It was a bit different at the top where there were some cruise group passengers but the area to take advantage of the various views was large so there was plenty of room to get the pictures
and video we wanted to before the rain came back again.
The top terminal is 300 metres above sea level so the views are expansive and we were able to watch the rain slowly spread in from the fjord and knew that we would have to seek shelter a few minutes before the rain arrived.
With the rain falling steadily by the time we took the funicular back down the mountain we decided that we were wet enough to give up on any other plans we might have had to walk any further. This was a shame but for once on the BBA V3 the rain had got the better of us.
On the way home on the tram we got off at a stop 3 from our home stop as we had spotted a supermarket right alongside the light rail tramline.
Shopping done we got on the next tram coming through and continued our journey home. We had worked out that your ticket is good for an hour’s travel and so we took it that getting off and back on again within that time was perfectly OK without paying another fare. I did however pay
the full fare on the way home just in case an inspector got on to check eligibility.
We were having dinner of pizza and watching some YouTube programmes when our host Kari knocked on the door to say hello and check we had everything we needed.
She didn’t want to disturb our dinner but wouldn’t come inside for a chat. Instead we chatted away with her at the doorway for an hour!!She was a lovely person who was really interesting and interested in where we were from and our travels and time just slipped by without even realising where it had gone. Needless to say the pizza was cold by the time she left but then cold pizza is just as good as hot pizza. The wine was still cold from the fridge!
Tomorrow we have a short drive to our next accommodation so we will probably have a bit of a lie in so we are prepared for some one nighters and long days ahead over the next 4 days.
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