Bergen, Norway

I chose Bergen as my second stop in Norway because of the proximity to Fjord Tours and its purported charming beauty. It didn't disappoint. I rented an Airbnb in the University district of town, walked up a nice steep hill with my pack, met my host and then set off for a day of walking.

The walk from the University area to the center of town was about  10 minutes at most. Before long I was walking down Torgallmenningen, a pedestrian street with shops and restaurants in the center of town. (That day there was some sort of children's fair going on.) I walked through this area until I hit the water and the road turns into Torget. There is a so called famous Fish Market when you get to the marina but honestly it was nothing to speak of. It was a mere few stalls.  It also seemed to be there for tourists. I didn't see many people selling much of anything. (This is included in a lot of people's must see/Top 5 lists but it shouldn't be. This is a less than 10 minute walk-by)

Bergen Fist Market

Less than a block from the fish market the road splits at Starbucks and Restaurant 1877 (yes Starbucks). Take a left to walk along the marina and towards the UNESCO old wharf area called Bryggen, more on that later. I took a right and started up a little hill towards Mount Fløyen and the Fløibanen funicular. I had a general idea of where it was using was and wasn't using a map so I just headed in the general direction of the hill. A three minute walk up the hill brought me to the entrance of the funicular. While I was deciding to walk up or not, I popped into a sandwich shop right at the crest of the hill. It was cute, made a good sandwich and was an excellent vantage point for watching the comings and goings. It turned out that there had been a survival type race at the top earlier in the day.  People started walking by with medals on, similar t-shirts and mud, lots of people covered in mud. I later looked it up, it was the equivalent of a Spartan Race but Norwegian style. The race was for people of all ages too, so there were some much older people and some children who had participated as well. It looked like a great Saturday outing.

Fløibanen funicular

I decided in the interest of time and daylight to take the funicular up and down. (They say it is a 30 - 45min walk up, it looked longer to me).It was a reasonable NOK 90,- for round trip (approx. $11.00 USD). Considering the pricing of some things in Norway, this was a steal. They really pack you in the car both on the way up and down. It is a quick ride, less than ten minutes and then voila you are at the top and step out to breathtaking views.

There is a restaurant/cafe and a few shops at the top but the real gem is the forest. There are numerous walking and hiking trails all over the top of  Mount Fløyen. They were well sign posted and easy to follow. I never felt lost. In the summer months there are guided hikes. The distance of each route is listed on the signs, so you won't end up doing a really long hike accidentally. In the winter, apparently some of these trails are open for sledding! I took a nice easy couple of kms walk, went to a little lake and circled back through the forest and ended up back at the funicular. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, especially if you like trees.

Tree with eyes. 

Someone has a sense of humor. 

Funicular on the way down. 

Once back at the bottom, the crowds were going left so I took an immediate right turn onto

Øvregaten . This brought me through a few closed shops, and eventually to the back side of the Bryggen UNESCO site. I figured I would enter through the front so I wound down by a church, Mariakirken (it was closed) and passed Kroken street which was very photogenic.
I wandered to the Fort which was mostly under construction and general "skip it" for me, although it did give a good view of the harbor, shipyard and the cruise ships if you walked all the way through the gardens.

I walked back towards the harbor and eventually to Bryggen. It was late in the day so I skipped the museum and just walked through the old wooden houses and shops,it looked and felt like a movie set. It was a beautiful day, so the restaurants and patio seating was full. People were even lounging on the tops of their boats in the harbor having what can only be described as a very public happy hour. If you own a boat, flaunt it kind of thing. I felt like I was looking into and walking by people's living rooms.

The famous wooden houses of the wharf. 
En route back to my Airbnb, I stopped off at a Japanese restaurant, Sumo Restaurant, got some outdoor seating and had one of the best salmon meals of my life. The dainty sauce was flavorful but not overpowering and I wanted to ask the chef for the recipe. I know, not very Norwegian but it was on the way to my bed and with a early rise the next day it was the right choice. Sometimes you just need something that is on the way.

Smartest allergy  key I've seen. So easy. 

Definitely not local.