Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bergen

Our first weekend getaway was off to a rough start thanks to some car trouble.  For now, just picture Jeff and I side by side in the most enormous tow truck barreling down the small roads of Stavanger.  To make the drive better, we tried to engage our driver in conversation.  Silence followed a particularly graphic story of an overturned sheep trailer...

We shook off the experience with some Thai food (it's excellent in Stavanger, by the way, almost everywhere - our favorite is Manee Thai in the Sentrum) and woke up Saturday morning ready for our first real road trip to Bergen!


We decided to drive because we brought Pistol along. This meant riding on our first ferry - two in fact.  It's actually pretty easy to get to Bergen by just following E39 north until you can't go any further and have to take a ferry.  I'm not the best at just "winging it" so of course I did a little bit of research.  Both of the ferries we used were run by Fjord1 and they have a decent website.  Each of the ferries leaves every thirty minutes so even though we missed one, there was another on its way!


Didn't quite catch this one but it made for a good picture!


It's about a 4.5 hour drive to Bergen and we made it into town around 1:30PM.  Very few hotels have attached parking so we found a public garage and went out on the town.  There's a pretty area around a lake (currently frozen) that leads into downtown and the tip of the harbor.  And we actually found someone that would take a picture of all of us!


We weren't very specific on the type of hotel - just that it needed to be dog friendly.  We settled on P Hotel since it is smallish and only has locations in Norway.  
  • Pros: the location was perfect - near the shops, restaurants, and sites.  
  • Cons: a little noisy and the "inclusive breakfast" consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich in a pre-packaged container delivered left hanging on our door.  At least it came with a juice box :)


You can see our hotel on the right and a beautiful church in the background.

We enjoyed walking around the cobbled streets and drinking hot chocolate and didn't really have an agenda.  We eventually made our way to the harbor and walked along the quay.  The historic Hansa homes are on the Unesco World Heritage List, so naturally we took a picture.  It's hard to imagine that no heating was allowed when these were in use by the German merchants in the 1600s but was a necessary precaution due to the fires that often devastated this wooden city.  One word - burrr!

See the red Hansa houses on the left side?

We began our evening at the Scotsman to catch some of the Six Nations Rugby Tournament - a big deal to most of our UK expat friends.  I don't understand how the game is played.  Jeff doesn't even really understand it which means I'm really lost.  We had fun trying to guess at what was going on and made a spectacle of gasping every time a collision occurred on the pitch (so every 5 seconds - rugby is brutal!).

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short by a snow storm that started on Sunday morning.  This meant we weren't able to ride the funicular up the hillside to view Bergen from above - bummer, too, since this is a major attraction of the city.  This just means we have to go back... when it is warmer!

Checking my map :)

Our next few weekends will hopefully be busy with settling into our new house!  

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