16th May 2018 - 20th May 2018
4 Days in Bergen
We got off our cruise ship in Bergen and checked into a very small room in a very smelly and quite noisy hotel. It was central but that’s about all it had going for it. Going out for something to eat we realised just how expensive Bergen was!! This was going to be an expensive 4 days, a cup of coffee and a cake to share cost us $33. We walked about the town it is lovely. The guy at the information centre was very helpful but all the Bergen passes were of little use to us as it was Norway’s National day, so we wanted to see the parade not use a three-day pass on that day. Dinner was great we found that Bergen is a caviar centre and caviar was about the cheapest meal. I can live with this.
A trip up the funicular railway took us into the countryside with a great view across the city. We took a walk to the lake and sat watching the people and the scenery. I felt it was a nice rest after the busy cruise. We saw lots of school children dress in red outfits their story is they must wear the outfit for the last two weeks before leaving school for university. They are supposed to not take them off during that time. They also do dares to get tokens which they add to their hats. Things like sleeping in their teachers front yard for the weekend, this was very hard according to the young man I spoke to, he did not say why. I think crawling from the centre of town to the harbour would also be very difficult. All good fun.
The next day we awoke early and watched all the people in National costume pour into town. The National costumes are all similar but the colours denote the town they come from. We got into it finding a great spot to watch the parade there was already a lot of people waiting and we had a couple of hours to go. I of course got chatting and a lovely couple from Stavanger (we have been there!!!) told me all about the costumes. The first costume is usually made by the family so the embroidery is all slightly different. Another family explained this was one of the best days of the year as it was shared with friends. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all times to get together and eat special foods including a porridge that is made at this time of year with fish naturally. As time passed our sunshine became shade and I realised that I was going to be cold. There was no going back for a thick coat now we were surrounded by people and we were at the front.
The parade was huge I have never seen any parade with so many people in it. All the services were represented, Fire brigade, police navy army etc then all the towns and villages around. The politicians of course and charities so many of them, then there was the clubs - dancing, bikes, motorbikes, cars of every description and every other club you can think of. At the same time a second parade was taking place with all the school children from little to colleges. The parades were split up by bands of every description the most popular was a local pop band, who had everyone singing along in Norwegian of course so we could not join in. Everyone had a great time and the town was full of fun. We went to the park, after getting warm coats.
In the park was the usual gift tents and food tents an entertainment along with three greasy poles. Young men were having great fun trying to climb them to get bags that were hanging from the top, we did see one person succeed. As we were hungry we opted for hotdogs, but guess what our cards would not work for some reason. We did find a stall that would take euros, 2 small hot dogs and a cake for 10 euros seemed a bit expensive. The day finished with fireworks which as we did not know about we watched from our hotel room.
Our last day and we walked around the older parts of Bergen an area called Bryggen has the most marvellous old houses some of which stand at an angle like old drunks. They have signs above the doors which was how people knew them before reading and writing. “Go to dolphin house and get…” etc very clever.
We leave Bergen and have a very tough trip to Norfolk where out car is stored. Mainly because we got into London very late so got to Norfolk a bit after 12:00 midnight. An early start and a long drive got us to Wales.