Bergen, Norway

I’ve been obsessing over Bergen for a few years now. Like many of the things I can’t get off my mind, I’m not really sure when I started to think about it, or how I even heard about it, but its been nagging at the back of my mind for quite some time.When our initial New Year’s plan to take a van around Scotland starting looking less and less likely (I didn’t want another Iceland adventure, but in sub-zero temperatures), I cast out for other options. London on New Year’s Eve would be expensive, and probably cause a four day hangover that I’m just too old to handle gracefully.

Bergen popped in to my mind.

Would it be cold?
Probably.
Dark early?
Definitely.

But it would be the ideal place to hunker down for a relaxing, cozy new year.

Bryggen

 

 

Bergen is surrounded by mountains, and right on the seaside. Because of its location, it is insulated from the worst of the cold Norwegian weather.

 

 

Our first full day, we awoke to a candelit breakfast at an amazing breakfast buffet at the Scandic, and took a taxi around 10am (still in the dawn) to our Airbnb.
Since daylight was against us, we quickly got out on the town.

 

 

Just needing to orient ourselves, we walked through the center, toward Bryggen, the historic waterfront part of the city- and the oldest.

 

 

Being that time between Christmas and New Year, the city was still decked out for Christmas. I really like the way Norwegians do Christmas decorations. Having just come from the land of big, inflatable Santas, multi-colored Christmas lights and synthetic 20-foot trees, the understated decorations that really just reflect the natural beauty of Norway was refreshing.

 

Behind the shops in Bryggen is a maze of wooden shops that must be at least 300 years old. It was fun to walk through them, although they look precariously old and are definitely leaning at obtuse and somewhat precarious angles.

 

Something we learned about Norway: between Christmas and New Year, not much is open. In a way, I liked that. First, we weren’t tempted to spend much, and second, the city was quieter, making it easier to get in to that cozy mood I really wanted on the trip.

 

 

 

 

By sunset, about 3pm, we were back in our Airbnb, which was at the top of one of the city’s many mountains. We had a great view.

 

The next morning we had to get up very, very early for a trip with Fjord Tours. We had to hop on a train from Bergen to Myrdal, and then a bus to Gudvangen Fjord. From there, a boat was to take us to Flam, and then we were going to take the historic Flam railway all the way back to Bergen. All in all, it was an eight hour trip.

 

 

 

The train ride was pretty dark, but by the time the bus trip started, it was light and we were treated to amazing views of the fjords and mountains.
By the time we got to Gudvangen, I was pretty excited. The views were enticing, to say the least.

 

Sadly, the boat portion of the tour was for not. Fjord Tours oversold the trip, which left about 30 of us stranded; the boat was too small to accommodate all the people who had purchased tickets. We took a quick bus ride to Flam, and had to wait about two hours whilst the rest of the group lucky (ahem…pushy) enough to be the first ones in line took their tour and met us on the either side of the fjord.

 

 

 

Being off season, pretty much everything in Flam was closed. Making the best of a bad situation, we took a hike around Flam and got in some pretty amazing views.

 

Fjord Tours ended up giving us a full refund, which made the whole day seem just magical- all those beautiful sights, and seeing so much of Norway, for free.
And we weren’t done yet. We had the train ride ahead of us. And we didn’t know it until we boarded, but apparently its one of the world’s most beautiful railways.

 

 

Being used to English and American railway cars, I can say they made a strong first impression. I felt like I was on the Polar Express!

 

As we climbed from sea level to 2000km about sea level, I couldn’t help but be floored by the amazing scenery. Norway is truly beautiful. Although, I have to say, I wonder where all the people who live out in these parts get their clothes?

 

 

Ice waterfall

 

Snowy sunset

The next day, New Year’s Eve, was rainy and very, very windy, so we mostly stayed in and prepared for the evening. I don’t typically post pictures of my food anymore, but I was really proud of what we put together.

As I mentioned, most things were closed in Bergen for New Year, and the places that were open were a little too rowdy for the likes of oldies like us. So, we’d planned well, bringing two bottles of prosecco with us from London (alcohol prices in Norway are extreme) and planning a delicious dinner ahead of time.

I made these!

 

He made these- always showing me up in the culinary department.

We ended up making our favorite Scandi dish, mackerel with scrambled eggs, Danish bread and asparagus. We made it before in Copenhagen, and it was just as good as I remembered.

The highlight of our trip was definitely New Year’s Eve. Sipping slowly on our prosecco, we realized there was a reason we saw fireworks stands everywhere when we were going around Norway on the fjord tour.
It seems like its a tradition for most people to put off fireworks in their front yards.
Being on the top of a mountain, we were privy to at least 100 different fireworks show. They ramped up around 10pm and didn’t stop until after 1am. It. was. magical.

 

On New Year’s Day, we were up early to get back to the city center. Having gotten our bearings the last few days, we knew exactly where we wanted to go: up Floyen for the best views in the city.

 

 

 

We decided to walk in to the city center from our Airbnb; I thought the trains weren’t running but, about 20 minutes in to the 45-minute walk, we saw them. Oh well. It was great to get to see a bit more of the city.

 

 

We took the funicular, which was on at least a 45-degree angle, to the top of the mountain. Its probably a tourist mecca in the summertime- there’s a restaurant, playground and tons of hiking trials- but even on New Year’s Day, it was pretty busy.
Looking at the view, you can see why.

 

 

After that, we got an early night because our flight left at 7am. Ouch. There were even threats of self immolation after our 3am wake up call from S- and he’s usually pretty cheery.
But even though it was an early, early start, it didn’t diminish the magic of Norway a bit. Cold? A bit. Windy? Oh yes. Dark early? Definitely. But a great way to spend a cozy, low key new year with amazing views of 100 fireworks shows.
We’ll be back for another new year in the future, Bergen!

 

Comments

  • Boxer

    May 14, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    Very nice article, just what I was looking for since I’m looking for tips to travel Norway.

  • Devon Lindeman

    May 19, 2016 - 9:42 am

    You hit all the great spots in Bergen. Definitely try to go back in the summer when its warmer and lighter, though!

  • Melanie R. Wemba

    May 26, 2016 - 8:46 am

    Will you email me about including a little of this post to my website?

  • Stevie Willhite

    May 26, 2016 - 1:39 pm

    Now I want to go to Bergen. What a great NYE it looks like you had.

  • Hilke

    May 27, 2016 - 6:57 pm

    I wish for to subscribe for you to email me the most recent updates, so where can i do it please help? I would have love travel tips when I went to Bergen, maybe can have more future?

    • carefulfeetme

      June 1, 2016 - 3:43 pm

      Hi, Hilke, good suggestion. Will work on getting something up on the site that gives you the ability to get email updates whenever I post! 🙂

  • Christiana

    May 28, 2016 - 11:59 pm

    Bergen looks beautiful- but cold! xx

    http://www.whitecottonpeoniesblog.co.uk

  • Christian

    May 31, 2016 - 11:19 pm

    Looks so lovely, chica!

  • Max

    June 2, 2016 - 12:40 am

    What a beautiful trip! xx

  • Hannah

    June 2, 2016 - 1:36 am

    Klezell, this just seems so lovely. I hope you had fun!

  • Celine

    June 4, 2016 - 9:38 am

    You write so well. Did you ever take writing classes? And who takes your photos?

  • Christiana

    June 17, 2016 - 11:06 am

    Looks amazing! x

    blog.christiana.sk/

  • Nicole

    June 17, 2016 - 11:06 am

    Love these photos, especially the frozen waterfall. Even if you didn’t get on the boat, it looks like the train tour made up for it!

    guidetostyle.blogspot.com/

  • Darren Millen

    June 20, 2016 - 9:35 am

    It looks cold, but beautiful. You always take the best trips, and have such lovely pictures. xx

  • Lori

    June 22, 2016 - 1:38 am

    Love this post but even more so your template. Which one do you use?

    http://empurple.eu/

  • Katie

    June 24, 2016 - 12:44 pm

    Love the photos, and your writing style is witty, too. Do stop by my blog if you have a moment! xx

    http://katies-rose-garden.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Jeannie C

    July 19, 2016 - 7:48 am

    I don’t love winter and cold weahter, but this post almost has me convinced to pay Bergen a visit…

  • Nikki

    October 8, 2016 - 8:56 am

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