Saturday, July 29, 2006



Bergen was founded in 1070, when King Olav III Haraldsson Kyrre, nicknamed Olav the Quiet or Olav the Peaceful, sailed into the harbour. The city grew up around its harbour to become Norway's first capital and the seat of royalty, its most international town, and a melting-pot of cultures. In the 13th century, it was the largest of all the towns in the Nordic countries, and the German Hansas opened one of their four European offices on the wharf called Bryggen. When we disembarked the Oslo-Bergen train, we realized that there was a huge difference between Oslo and Bergen. In 1981, Oslo looked a real rustic town, while Bergen was much more cosmopolitan. The airports showed the difference. After Norway became hugely rich with the oil production, things seem to have completely changed...

"BRYGGEN - The old Bryggen Hanseatic wharf is architecturally unique - a maze of wooden buildings with pointed gables facing onto the harbour. Bryggen stays the same as it was in the medieval age, and was included in the Unesco's World Heritage List in 1980"

"BRYGGEN - The wooden houses of Bryggen have been devastated by many fires, the last in 1955. However, there are still 58 buildings remaining, most of which are used as artists' studios"

"OLD TOWN - FREEZING - Bergen is the only town in the whole of Scandinavia, which has followed a classical European pattern of development. When we got there, on St. Anthony's day (June 13th, 1981) the temperature was +4º centigrade. In Lisbon, home town of the named Saint, it was recorded, for the first time since records exist, +43º Celsius.
Amazingly, today - JANUARY 29, 2006, BETWEEN 3:15 and 3:30 p.m., LISBON TIME, we had some SNOW falling IN LISBON, and melting on the ground!!! It seems to be the first time since 1953..."

"TORVALMENINGEN - A central place in Bergen. By 5:00 p. m., it seems everybody was having dinner. It was freezing outside, and we tried to enter a restaurant on the first floor of a nearby house. Crowded, no way to even enter the site. Fortunately, a nice Norwegian couple, habitués to the place, who were coming in while we were leaving, managed to get us into the restaurant and find a seat. We had a delightful meal in a fabulous atmosphere. Unfortunately, the name of the restaurant did not resist the time..."

"TORVALMENINGEN - Statues of ancient sailors"

"OLE BULL'S PLACE - Bergen is also an important cultural centre. Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), the greatest Norwegian composer, was born in Bergen. Henrik Ibsen, his greatest dramatist, entered the world of theatre in Bergen. Bergen houses also a unique collection of works of the greatest Norwegian painter - Edvard Munch"


Clarence said...

Argh Bergen is supposed to be so beautiful, with all its fjords... I want to take a cruise and capture some pictures from the picturesque fjords!

RuneE said...

Very nice of you. You must come back and see how much things have changed - or not.

Trotter said...

You lucky guy, saw Bergen and a great part of Europe before heading to Singapore!

Thanks. I'll go back, because I haven't given up the trip to North Cape...