Archive for the 'TRAVEL' Category


Norway: Lovely But Rainy Bergen

Bergen is Norway’s second largest city and the west coast’s largest port.  It is also one of Scandinavia’s busiest stopover for cruise ships. When we chose Bergen as our point of entry to Europe for our family summer trip we did not check much on its weather. Summer to us simply means sunny days and longer daytime.  We were in for a shock as we have just landed in one of the most rain-stricken cities in the world where it rains more or less 250 days a year! Nevertheless, in between downpours, we still enjoyed roaming around the city, visiting its beautiful sights.


Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf

DSC_1224The old Hanseatic Wharf features colorful wooden houses and it was once a center of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire.



DSC_1236It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.



FullSizeRender22Before a huge downpour we were able to get some photos in front of the famed wooden buildings.



DSC_1232The whole stretch is lined up with restaurants and boutique shops.  One just need to be very careful buying stuff here because the prices are really outrageous.  If we did not have the urgent need of buying our daughter’s coat (we wrongly assumed Bergen summer as hot &  humid instead of rainy and cold), we could have bought elsewhere.




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Here are more photos we took in front of the iconic wooden buildings.




FullSizeRender31The other side of the wharf gave us a different view of the colorful wooden buildings.



DSC_0022The buildings appeared more beautiful from afar with the mountain backdrop.



bergen1We needed to patiently wait for the rain to stop and the sun to come out even for just a few minutes to have a good snapshot. It did not continuously rain after all!





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Here are more snapshots of the wharf area and the houses high above Mount Floyen.




DSC_0021Finally, after being disheartened because of the rain, I was all smiles after that fulfilling photo shoot at the other side of the wharf when the sun came out for a short moment.



FullSizeRender32Here are some more photos we took as we were leaving the wharf area.



DSC_1235Indeed the area is dotted with impressive buildings.

Fløyen Mountain

DSC_1220Just a few blocks from the western section of the Hanseatic Wharf is the….



FullSizeRenderw….Floibanen Funicular lower station that takes you to a stunning view-point at Mount Fløyen. Aside from the panoramic views, there are also hiking trails. Although it was not in our original plan, we suddenly decided to go for the funicular ride, one of the most iconic attractions of Norway.



FullSizeRenderq 2Shown here is one of the cars that goes up and down the mountain.  We waited until everyone has disembarked and it was our turn for that thrilling ride to the top of Mount Floyen.



FullSizeRenderu 2The tracks going up the mountain.





There is a tiny building at the top that houses the Fløistuen Shop and Fløistuen Café close to the upper station of Fløibanen funicular. Souvenirs, gifts and useful artifacts are the main attraction of the Fløistuen shop. One can enjoy a hot cup of coffee or cocoa with freshly baked pastry or hot soup.



CSC_0027The views from the mountain top were really breathtaking.  Shown here is the Hanseatic Wharf and the surrounding areas.



DSC_0025Also seen from above is Lake Lille Lungegardsvannet in the city center’s public park.



DSC_0029Our climb to the top was indeed worth it.  The city views were simple amazing.




A climb up Mount Floyen is a must when in Bergen especially in summer.



Market Square

DSC_1238At the southeast end of the city’s beautiful main harbor is Bergen’s Market Square.



FullSizeRender33Its busy quays are where local fishermen land their catches each morning and along with the 700-year old Fish Market, it’s a fascinating spectacle for early risers.




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This is also where the city’s best restaurants purchase their seafood daily; be sure to make note of the catch of the day, so you can sample it at lunch and dinner.



IMG_0982That’s exactly what we did.  We tried a restaurant just around the square and everything was impressive.



CSC_0013First, the high ceiling and cozy atmosphere.



DSC_0001Next was the impeccable interior.



DSC_0006Finally, the sumptuous fusion of Asian and Western food.



DSC_0009We would never miss the Norwegian salmon, saving the best for last!



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Here are more photos that show buildings near Market Square.



Central Train Station & Surrounding Areas

FullSizeRender 2The Bergen train station is 15-20 minutes walk from the Hanseatic Wharf. I took this panoramic photo of the train station facade at around 11p.m.



IMG_0984There are only two platforms so only a maximum of two trains can be in the station at any given time.  The capital city of Oslo can be reached by train from Bergen in 7 hours.




IMG_0790We were staying at a hotel adjacent to the train station so most of the time we would pass through it coming from and going to our hotel.


DSC_1218 2We basically just walked around Bergen all the time we were there.  Above is one of the streets we took going to the wharf.



FullSizeRender 3The train station is spotless and airy.



FullSizeRender5We enjoyed our proximity to the train station where we can people-watch or get the food and drinks we need from the reasonably-priced convenience store inside it.



IMG_0990Adjacent to the train station is the Zander K Hotel, Bergen’s most modern hotel, where we stayed. Above is the hotel lobby and the Foodbar where the buffet breakfast is served.



Dobbelt-romThe rooms were contemporary and minimalist in design.  I definitely liked the rooms and the hotel facilities but I was not impressed with the service though.  We had two bad experiences:  one was the ridiculously long check-in process considering we just came from an overnight transatlantic flight and then we were told the requested crib was already in the room but we arrived inside with no crib.


IMG_0805Here are more photos around the train station area.  Shown here are shops along the railroad and main street as we walked from the train station to the Bryggen.



FullSizeRender1This is the Bergen light rail transit.



Getting In and Out of Bergen

We took an inaugural Norwegian Air flight from T.F Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island (U.S.) to Bergen, Norway. It utilized the Boeing 737-MAX 8 instead of the Dreamliners that are used in other routes like New York JFK to Oslo that we took before. I was not impressed with the ground crew in Providence but the best thing is that it is way less crowded and closer to us than New York JFK or Boston Logan.  Check-in, security & immigration checks were done in less than thirty minutes! Awesome airport experience!



Here is a short clip of our approach to Bergen flying over quaint villages settled between spectacular fjords. Bergen is said to be rainy because it is surrounded by seven mountains.



FullSizeRender 4 2Our return flight was cancelled so we were re-routed to Copenhagen the next day where we took a flight to New York JFK two days after. Meanwhile, we were housed in Clarion Airport Hotel in Bergen for the night.




Dinner and breakfast were great in the hotel’s only dining option, Kitchen & Table.



FullSizeRendere 2The sunset was spectacular.




FullSizeRender(30)The beds were ultra-comfy.

Until we meet again, BERGEN! Probably, when we have the chance to go to Lofoten Islands to experience the Northern Lights, we can drop by Bergen, again!





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