I have traveled the most this year, that is a fact. I have also toured Norway´s cities and one city that I just couldn´t wait to visit is Bergen which is famous for many reasons. If you ask me, after my three days visit in Bergen, I will say, Bergen should be the capital city of Norway, unless “Norway wants to remain being the capital of Sweden”.
No hard feelings for Kristiansand, you know what I feel for you. I go everywhere but still I come back and I am happy being in Kristiansand which is the most peaceful city in Norway, oh yes, I think it is. Having settled my case with Kristiansand, now lets talk about Bergen. Together with my four girlfriends, two weeks back on a Thursday we set off to Bergen. Solveig, Tone, Liv, Annet and I, we sat down and planned the execution plan for this road trip. From Kristiansand, we go through Mandal, Flekkefjord then to Stavanger where we hike Preikestolen (600m high) and finally settle at Stavanger for night at the cabin. These are two different stories on their own next time, but as for now lets concentrate on Bergen.
The trip that started with 5 of us, as a birthday treat to Solveig, ended up with just the 3 of us at Bergen. What happened to the other two? Funny! After Stavanger, one had to go back to work. Great, and the other? This one is anti- Bergen.
“Because you all insist that I should join you for this, yes I will, but I am not going to Bergen, that place sucks, there is just simply something wrong with Bergen, everything including the people in Bergen,” said my anti-Bergen friend.
You can be assured we had planned for this trip since the beginning of the year, still by May we couldn´t manage to brainwash her and make her change her perception about Bergen. Then, I definitely get curious, I really want to see this famous Bergen, how is it like and why is there so much said about it.
“Bergen people are so full of themselves, they are so loud and they will always use up all the space in any setting, they are probably the most selfish people in this Norway. They do not even consider themselves as people from Norway. If you meet them on the plane and you ask them where do they come from, instead of saying they come from Norway, they will say- I come from Bergen and they do not even care to explain that Bergen is in Norway.” said another lady, who is also anti-Bergen.
Then this took me back to our FK preparatory course in Halleland Hotel last year, one of our colleagues who is currently in Kenya, stood up and said, “My name is Håvard, I come from Bergen, you know it has the best football team in Norway.” He said amidst huge laughter from the Norwegians. It makes sense to me now.
Bergen is located in the county of Hordaland on the south-western coast of Norway and to be honest the place is beautiful. It was Norway´s capital city in the year 1217, after replacing Troinheim but then it was replaced by Oslo which became the de jure capital in 1299. The houses which most of them look like theater buildings, are painted with various colours making it really beautiful than the boring white, yellow and cream colours. The architectural structure makes Bergen special making it look a bit confusing as compared to Kristiansand which has one very definite structure, you do not get lost in Kristiansand.
´The scenic is just amazing. The people were more friendly, or maybe they were a bit loud with utdrikkningslag (bachelors party) after every 20 minutes walk. Visiting Jorun, who is Solveig´s girfriend, feels proud about Bergen and you can feel it in her voice. “Bergen is just the best place to be. I will tell you so much about Bergen but as you can see, the city speaks for itself. Bergen is surrounded by mountains and water. You cannot get enough of Bergen even after staying here for many years” .
Maybe, this explains why Bergen is ranked among the cities with the greatest number of foreigners. Fish market, was just great experience, we toured the market and saw different types of fish and finally settled to eat roasted Salmon. Then to the Bryggen, which is also very famous for the coloured houses that look really pretty. Window shopping along the shops, was also another major event for the day.
Something I noted, though I stand to be corrected, Bergen people love dogs the most. Everywhere I walked, I just couldn´t stop noticing Norwegians with their dogs. At some point, I actually thought it was some sort of celebrations for the dogs until a given couple explained it to me.
“Today is a Saturday and in most cases, especially in the morning hours we take our dogs out, to give them a chance to socialize with other dogs and even human beings thus making them less violent. We also take them out to show them Norway, most of them have come from other parts of the world and this one of mine is from Africa, Zimbabwe to be precise.” Said the lady.
Then Jorun had a treat for us. “You have to see Bergen from an aerial point of view. We will go by Floibanen.” This is funicular in Bergen which runs up the mountain of Floyen. It is one of Bergen’s major tourist attractions and one of Norway’s most visited attractions. Over 1 million passengers a year have used it over the past few years and I am informed it was officially opened in 1918. This was a spectacular experience and I enjoyed every minute of it, which was climaxed by eating ice cream at the top of the hill.
On our way back, we decided to take a walk through the troll forest. I love the creativity in this forest and having had all stories about Norwegian trolls, at least I had a chance to see the various trolls, including the happy and most ugly trolls.
Excited about my day, I decide to send a text to one of my friends in Oslo who is also anti-Bergen and this is how the conversation goes like. “Oh I love Bergen, too much to see and I just like everything, now I am officially looking for a Norwegian man in Bergen, I don´t mind settling here” message sent.
“Go ahead, after a year you commit suicide because of the constant rain and no seasons, 5 degrees wind and rain all year. You have to be born there to cope with it. I lived there for three months and had only 2 days of sun.” Reply.
I tell my girlfriends about these texts and we all laugh about it. Jorun, confirms that like most Bergen people say, the truth is, most people especially those in Oslo are threatened by Bergen which is surrounded by 7 mountains and apart from the climate issue, they have no argument against Bergen.
Ok, this is getting interesting and I am loving the chit-chat. “ Ha ha, it is not mountains but small hills and they are actually 9 of them and Bergen people can´t agree which ones belongs to the seven. Tryvannshogda in Oslo is taller than most of them and we would never call it a mountain. They claim that the seven or nine hills are mountains because it makes them feel a bit better. And I do agree they need to, it is a bit hard to live with such a climate.” Read the reply.
Ok, so what do Bergen people say? “ Patience, can you feel your Oslo friend threatened by Bergen, no other argument apart from the climate one, and that makes our justification, that most people are threatened by Bergen.
Mmmmm, Interesting! “Threatened? Fat chance. Oslo is full of people who have escaped Bergen, the point is that, most Norwegians living outside Olso have an inferiority complex and we like to make fun of it. Bergen is only good just to visit, living there is a different case altogether.” Read the reply.
We all laugh at this and it confirms the truth that most people are a bit threatened by Bergen. Having bought a touristic DVD about Norway, a third of the DVD had so much about Bergen and still people have an explanation about the same.
“You bought the DVD in Bergen, so what did you expect? Buy another one in Oslo and see the difference, but one thing in common, both of them will have nothing on Kristiansand.”
Hope you had a great Norwegian National day, I did!!