BERGEN?? Part Two!

“Take the flute to the third stop and turn right,” said our Airbnb host via text message when we got back from the fjord cruise. We figured something had been mistranslated, and decided to simply walk up the hill rather than try to figure out what “the flute” was. We later learned that “Fløibanen,” sometimes called “Fløyen,” is the name of the funicular that would have saved us about 45 minutes of hill climbing. I had actually taken a picture of the track earlier in the day, not knowing what it was.

A view up the hill from downtown Bergen, with the top of Fløibanen visible between the trees.

The following morning we walked down the hill into the city center, this time finding some of the shortcuts, alleyways, slides, and staircases that made the walk easier. The houses seemed to be jammed into the hillside wherever they would fit, with narrow roads and alleyways winding back and forth wherever a somewhat reasonable path existed.

One of the winding, narrow roads that leads up the hill from the city center.
Helpful signs pointed the way for lost tourists.

One of the more famous tourist destinations in Bergen is Bryggen, a row of converted warehouse buildings that now houses shops and restaurants. Between the warehouses leads a network of connected wooden alleyways leading to more shops and galleries. We picked up a few gifts for friends and browsed some of the galleries on a relatively quiet morning.

Bryggen i Bergen!
We came back on a sunnier Sunday morning and got some pictures of the nearly empty alleyways between the buildings in Bryggen.

There seemed to be a lot of artists living in Bergen. Our Airbnb host even had a couple paintings he had done hanging in the rental apartment. There were galleries all over the city, and lots of interesting street art too. Two of my favorites are below.

We also visited Fjåk, a coffee and chocolate shop with delicious dark chocolate bars, and had some amazing cookies. We also saw the National Aquarium, which was a bit depressing on the outside partly due to the concrete structure and the gloomy weather, but much better on the inside. At the end of the day we stopped by Gimmikk, an arcade and pinball bar with some hilarious decorations, where we played a few games before heading back up the hill for the night and preparing ourselves for an day-long hike the following day.

Read Part One to learn about our fjord cruise!



Micha and I took a long weekend trip to the city of Bergen in western Norway back in May. We had an amazing time exploring the city, taking a cruise through the fjords, and hiking the hills surrounding the town.

Our view of Bergen as we walked down from our Airbnb every morning.

We landed in Bergen early in the morning on May 18th, the day after Norway’s constitution day, and the town seemed appropriately sleepy and hung over. As we walked around, the town slowly seemed to come to life around us, as people began to go about their days.

In the afternoon, we took a fjord cruise that left from the harbor downtown and headed north through a narrow fjord to the town of Mo. We stayed on the deck, in awe of the scenery, hardly aware of the chilly wind.

The approximate route of our out-and-back fjord cruise, marked in red.

I was especially struck by how calm the water was. The fjord is narrow enough to feel like a river, but it’s not flowing anywhere. Waves from the ocean are blocked by the hills all around. The result is a nearly perfectly reflective surface, disturbed only by the wake of the boat and the splashing of waterfalls coming off the cliff faces.

The water was so still that it almost perfectly mirrored the hills and cliffs.

It’s hard to describe how large the cliffs were, how small I felt, and how remote our surroundings became as we slid further into the fjord. The air grew colder as snow-capped peaks appeared in the distance. The boat had to go slowly and make a couple impressive maneuvers to slip between the edges of the fjord without hitting anything.

Wilderness as far as I could see.

After about an hour and a half we reached the end of the fjord and a town called Mo nestled in the valley. The captain did a nifty three-point turn with the boat, including coming within inches of a cliff face with a waterfall running down it!

The town of Mo.
The railing you see in the bottom of the picture is the edge of our boat. The people in front were surely getting wet!

After Mo, the ship turned around and continued back the way it came. At that point, we were happy to go inside and warm up a bit! After the ship returned to the harbor, we made our way up the hill to check into our Airbnb and planned out our next two days: wandering Bergen’s neighborhoods, and taking a hike along the hilltops surrounding the city.

Read Part Two to learn about our day in the city!