8 August 2013. Our last port of call on the Fjordland Wonders cruise is Bergen.
The ship berths close to the city centre and it is an easy walk from the port into the heart of things. We walk past the castle and come to the Bryggen Harbour.
Facing the harbour is a row of timber-built shops and amongst them are tiny alleyways leading towards the rear. This is the old part of town and is known as The Bryggen. The castle can be seen on the left of the photo in the background.
The Bryggen is a delight. The buildings are very close together. It's a wonder they survived, as a fire would spread easily - and did... The city was founded in the 11th century and the merchant guilds of the Hanseatic League established a presence here after 1350. Of several fires, that of 1702 destroyed everything and the oldest of the buildings date from the rebuilding after that. About three quarters of them are not that old, a third of buildings being destroyed in another fire more recently in 1955. Thankfully though, they were generally reconstructed according to traditional age-old plans, so the area still reflects what it may have looked like 900 years ago.
Today this is a UNESCO World Heritage site and visited by over 800 thousand people a year. The shops are a mixture, but hand crafts, art and souvenir shops predominate.
Scary fish sculpture! We came across this in the Bryggen - a huge fish or eel (it's very long!) with a ferocious set of gnashers! It looks like it could do with a good coat of Cuprinol... (other wood preservatives are available...)
Another fun item was this moose head (or whatever the elk it was...) People were sitting on the chair to have their photos taken with it. One chap stood up from the chair and banged his head on its chin... His friends thought this hilarious!
We spent quite a bit of time in the Bryggen as there is plenty to see and lots of shops and artists' galleries to go round. But now it's time to have a look at what else Bergen has to offer. Join us again for the next instalment!