Bergen, the “western capital” of Norway. Founded by Olav Kyrre (1050 – 1093) in 1070, and at that point the name was Bjørgvin. Bjørgvin is from Norse and means “the green field among the mountains”. Olav Kyrre was the son of Harald Hardråde (Hardrada in English). He was in his father’s army when he went to England, but didn’t participate in the battle at Stamford bridge in 1066. When Olav came back to Norway he was instated as a king together with his elder brother by two years, Magnus. Magnus died already in 1069 and Olav became the only king. Probably at this time he got his name “Kyrre” which means “the peaceful”. Under Olav’s ruling the kingdom of Norway had a peaceful time, so his name fits him well.
Bergen is the “rainy capital” of Norway as well sporting an yearly average precipitation of 2 250 mm. It’s not the wettest place in Norway, but it is the best known town for it’s rainy days. And I guess we managed to hit a couple of those rainy days on our trip to Bergen.
Driving from our home to Bergen takes about 7 hours over through valleys and over mountain passes around 380km of Norwgian curvy roads. It makes for slow going and some great views. Mountains, fjords, waterfalls and… long tunnels. Rather boring those tunnels. We went to Bergen from the 10th to the 12th of April 2015
We wanted to go to the top of the mountain Ulriken, the tallest of the 7 mountains surrounding Bergen with an altitude of 642m. It it was rather windy, and rainy day and the aerial tramway to the top didn’t go. We figuered out we rather go for a hike with the dogs part of the way to the top. We wouldn’t see much from the top anyway. But at least we got some exercise going uphill and then downhill.
After this exercise food was on the program. We parked our car at Bystasjonen, a meeting point for busses, the train to Bergen and with good parking space for cars. The walk from Bygarasjen to down town Bergen meant we walked by Lille lungegårdsvann, one of the sites to see in Bergen. Today “Smålungeren” as the people from Bergen call it, looks like an artificial pond. However it was originally a part of one of the fjords surrounding Bergen called Puddefjorden.
We went for walk down Bryggen with Bergen’s most iconic houses (see top photo). Wooden buildings from 1702. They are on the UNESCO world heritage site list.
Then, finally food! Nothing too fancy, a pizza from Peppe’s – one of the pizza chains in Norway. And the one at least I like the best. Being out of the rain and able to dry up a bit as well as getting warm wasn’t too bad either.
The following morning we were met by this: Hail! Lots of it!
This day we also visited the Aquarium in Bergen. More about that visit in another blogpost.
Then it was time to turn our noses around and go back home. We started out in rain. Went up the hills and curvy roads and met up with heavy snow and wind accross the highest mountain pass. Not the best driving weather. Getting on “the right side of the mountains”. Which means east of the mountains were we live, the weather changed character completly and it was both warmer and a late afternoon sun. This is quite typical of Norway’s weather. Most of the winds and rain comes accross the Atlantic and hit the west coast of Norway. The mountains reaching more than 1000 metres above sea level stoppes the rainfilled clouds and winds passing to the east. Making for a dryer weather in the eastern parts of Norway.