Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

A Day in Bergen 9/24

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After eating yogurt for breakfast, Jane, Sue and I started walking through the neighborhood in Bergen.  The first thing I did was to take some photos of the house where we are living and the cobble stone path up to the doorway.

This is just one of the cobble stone streets we had to negotiate last night with our suitcases.

We took a walk and came upon the back of St. Mary’s Church.

Right across the street was the Hanseatic Museum.  We arrived just in time for the english speaking tour.

German merchants, known as Hanseats, came sailing into Vågen in the middle of the 1200’s.  The establishment of these merchants at Bryggen led to the market for Norwegian goods being expanded.  Though the trading culture is gone, its heritage is well preserved here at Bryggen.

The Hanseatic trade network stretched over much of Europe. We saw a map of the trade routes.

The buildings in the area were called the tenements. The hardwood floors made it easier to move trade goods.  In the 1400 the Hanseatic merchants seemed to have taken over the whole area.

The older buildings in Bryggen are not even.  This is due to the sea water and the ground’s instability.

Stockfish (unsalted air-dried fish) which kept really well and was a sought-after food in Europe was what was traded from Bryggen.  Stockfish was easy to transport, kept really well.  The largest and most important fishing grounds were in Northern Norway.  Fish were plentiful in Norway, but it was hard to grow grain.  Exchanging fish for grain worked out to be a good trade.  There was a very large dried stockfish displayed at the museum.

I think she said that the cobblestones were laid in two directions to indicate the path to take.

The figures found above the tenement entrances were used as street addresses because not everyone could read.

The Schøtstuene were the assembly rooms of the Hanseatic merchants.  Here they ate together, held meetings, and decided on common rules for the tenement.

Cabbage was eaten very frequently and they had a display to show us.

This is a garden where they grew the cabbage.

The schøtstuene and the adjoining cookhouses were the only places where open flames were permitted.  In the dark, cold winter months a schøtstuene naturally becamde a well-loved gathering place for the Hanseatic merchants.  The word schøtstuene originates from the old Norse word skytningsstofa.  Skytning in this context means to contribute or to all partake in the expenses.  It is only in Bryggen in Bergen that schøtstuer have been preserved, and in a worldwide context they are unique.

There were only men at the office and the Hanseatic merchants were not allowed to start a family in Bergen.  We learned that if one of the boys/men had contact with a woman, they were punished.  I think they said that they were required to watch the fires all day and night.

This was the cook room,

This is a stove.

Most of the schøtstuene that we saw had brown walls but they think they may have been painted in bright colors like this one.  

I believe this is a storage house.  But it is much newer and not only wood because of the fires.

We walked through the streets of the tenement.

Those merchants who made more money had both trading places and apartments across the way.

Our guide told us that they still haul things like a couches, etc. up to the higher level.

We went to a couple more museums.  One place was Håkon´s Hall.  The King Håkon´s Hall is more than seven hundred and fifty years old, and was built by King Håkon Håkonsson between 1247 and 1261 as a royal residence and feasting hall. At that time Bergen was Norway’s largest and most important city, and Håkonshallen was the site of major national events, including the promulgation of Norway’s first complete set of laws. Within the thick stone walls you can still hear the echoes of the medieval court’s solemn ceremonies and riotous feasts. As a site of national heritage, the King Håkon´s Hall is still in use for royal dinners and other official occasions.

The hall lost its role as the king’s seat when the royal family moved out of the country in the late Middle Ages. It served later as storeroom, and was eventually turned into an ammunition store for the Bergenhus fortress. For a time it was even without a roof. In 1916 the King Håkon´s Hall was restored for the first time, and its interior was decorated. In 1944 the building was, however, dangerously close to a second collapse, when the Dutch ammunition ship the Voorbode exploded while at anchor in the harbour directly below. Only the walls where left standing. In the 1950s the Hall was again restored, resulting in what we see today both concerning interior and exterior. The hall has three floors, with the large festive room located on the top floor.

This wall hanging was impressive.

I really liked the ceiling.

We went back to see the inside of St. Mary’s church but no photos were allowed.

We wandered back out to the streets of Bryggen.  Before we came to Bergen, this is what I imagined.

The unevenness of the original building can be seen in this photo;

On the way to Fløibanen (funicular) we saw this McDonalds.

The Fløibanen is the way to get to Mount Fløyen which is one of the  “city mountains” in Bergen.  Its highest point is 400 m above sea level.  The name originates from Fløystagen or a weather vane that was set up to indicate the direction of the wind for sailing ships.

Riding in the back car gave me the best chance for photos.

We passed the one going down.

We walked around to see the views and had lunch at the top.

The ship in the harbor is a Hurtigruten Ship similar in size to the one we will be boarding on the 26th.


We took a walk partway down the from the top and saw the goats.

The vegetation was similar to Oregon’s.  I just liked this shot.

This is a close up of the Hurtigruten ship.

We had a view of Lille Lungegårdsvannet or Smålungeren.  It is a small 5 acre lake in the center of the city.  The octagonal lake is a natural lake that was historically connected to the nearby Store Lungegårdsvannet Bay via a short strait but the strait was filled in in 1926.

We could look over some views of the city.

Jane and Sue went back to the house to rest and I walked a bit through the city streets.

Some men from India shared a delicious coconut dessert ball with me and we talked about India.

I love the city buildings so I took more photos.

I walked back to the fish market which was near the information center and purchased a package of the dried fish.

Then I walked back to the house.  After a bit we decided to walk to the train station to meet Marty and Ellen to help them walk to the apartment.  I sent a WhatsApp to Marty telling her to wait for us at the station. We asked a lot of people for directions on the way.  We passed the Bergen Domkirke.  I had seen a pamphlet that said there was going to be a concert there tomorrow night.

When we finally arrived at the station, we could not fine Ellen or Marty.  So we walked back to our house. It was about 1 mile each way. On the way back to our house,  we were looking for a place for dinner.  Sue asked a man who was leaving a building near our house.  He told us about a restaurant near the harbor.    It turns out that they took a taxi cab because I had previously sent a WhatsApp letting Marty know about the difficulty we had finding the house and the cobbled streets.

We all went out for a delicious dinner.  Jane and I  had lobster; Marty and Ellen had scallops; Sue had mussels.  For dessert we fresh pavlova and cloud berries which Marty recommended.

Sue and I decided to take a walk along the harbor before going back to our house. I am so glad we did that because the night view of the Berggen was worth the walk.

On our way back we saw many motorcycles.  There were both men and women gathering  I spoke to one of the men and he told me they ride around Bergen every evening when there is good weather.

It was a very full day.  We walked about 7 miles

Author: Nancy Panitch

Traveling has been a passion of Nancy Panitch's life and she loves seeing how people in other cultures live. Her travels have taken her to many places within the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Being around people inspires her and she has much gratitude for the kindred Souls that are joining together with her in body, mind, and heart. She moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon in 1982. It was one of the best decisions of her life. While in Portland she stays very, VERY busy. She volunteers (Inter-Religious Action Network, Human Rights Council, & ushering for various theaters); attends a Unitarian Universalist church; goes hiking with groups (Cascade Prime Timers & Trails Club of Oregon) and also with individual friends. Book groups, movie group, and bridge groups occupy her time as well. Her quiet activities include yoga, knitting, Sudoku, and reading. She enjoys all of these activities, but making time to see her wonderful 4 grandchildren takes priority over it all. She is happy to share this blog and hopes to encourage others to travel.

One thought on “A Day in Bergen 9/24

  1. I have some pictures of Bergen in the rain. We never saw blue sky in Bergen. Lucky you.


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