Hello everyone! November is already coming to a close and I have less than a month left in Norway! I can’t believe how fast time has gone. Soon I’ll be back home in the states celebrating Christmas with my family. But! my time here isn’t over just yet and I have a few more adventures to tell you about. This post is about my trip to Bergen with my brother Colten.
I got up very early on a Friday morning to catch the train to Oslo at 7:15am. I was meeting Colten at Oslo Central Station and from there we were getting back on the train to travel to Bergen. I arrived in Oslo around 9:15am, got some breakfast and waited for Colten. He decided to come early to hang out with me, even though our train didn’t leave until 12:00pm. What a great big brother! Once got there, we sat, ate, and chatted to kill time.
We found our seats on the train and bunkered down for a seven hour journey. Thankfully the view from Oslo to Bergen is beautiful so it was a fairly painless endeavor (besides the minor butt pain from all the sitting). The scenery morphed from the cityscape to snowy towns and open bodies of water.
We finally arrived in Bergen at 7pm. We were excited to be there, but cold and starving. With our luggage rolling loudly, we hurriedly wandered around the night streets to find our hotel. After around 10 minutes we found it, Citybox Bergen. This hotel was so cool because it was very modern and check in was through a machine, not a person. We quick;y found our room, threw our stuff down and braved the streets again in search of dinner. We ended up at a McDonald’s because it was the least crowded option on a Friday night. We weren’t complaining though. McDonald’s is great for two hungry Americans. Satisfied with our meal, we then went to the Kiwi grocery store near our hotel to buy bananas and baked goods for our breakfasts, since the hotel didn’t offer it. Once back in the room we took turns getting ready for bed and fell fast asleep. First night in Bergen complete!
The next morning we got up at 8am and decided to leave the room by 11am. Saturday was our day to explore the streets and shops. This was a great choice, as the weather was rainy and chilly. Popping into shops one after the other kept us warm and dry.
After bumbling around Bergen’s streets at night in the dark, we were excited to see what it looked like in daylight. Even on a grey and rainy day, Bergen was beautiful. There were mountains and water enclosing the many buildings like a fairytale village, only we were in a bustling city. It felt old and new all at the same time, a feeling that Norway is very good at conveying.
We headed to the iconic colored buildings. That area is called Bryggen. We were specifically looking for Christmas presents for our family and little souvenirs for ourselves. We had a very successful shopping day! We probably went into five or six shops total, but we went into Julehuset three times that day just because of how cozy and festive it was. That shop was by far my favorite. My family are definitely getting some presents from there 😉
After hours of vigorous tourist shopping, we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner at Peppes Pizza. I gotta say though, pizza in Norway just isn’t the same as pizza back home. That might be the food that I miss the most. All of the pizzas that I’ve had here don’t hold a candle to Papa John’s, Papa Pete’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, even Costco pizza. I don’t know what it is, but it just isn’t as satisfying! Nonetheless, we had a fulfilling meal and recovered from the cold.
With full tummies, we explored the streets a bit more before heading back to the hotel for the night. I was incredibly tired but Colten wanted to show me this movie he liked called King Arthur but I just wasn’t in the mood to keep up with a fast paced movie such as that one (even if Jude Law was in it). We headed to bed, resting up for our second and last full day in Bergen.
The next morning, our goal was again to be out of the hotel room by 11am. Sunday was our day of checking out the museums and seeing anything else that interested us. We managed to get in a decent amount of sights. Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures of the places that we went to. However, Colten took a lot of videos and posted them on Facebook so there is proof that we were there if anyone wishes to see them.
The first museum we headed to was The Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene. We made our way there with the sun shining on us and the water twinkling. The Hanseatic Museum was all about the history of ship trading since Bergen is a sea town. Inside, it replicated what the inside of a ship was like during that time period. Schøtstuene showed examples of assembly rooms and farm rooms, and under one of the farm rooms was a medieval ruin.
The next museum that we went to was the Bergen City Museum. In all honesty, the exhibits of this one were all in Norwegian, so even though I’ve studied the language for two and a half years, I don’t really know what it was about. There were a lot of artworks and replications of what Bergen and its people used to look like.
The third and fourth places we visited were definitely my favorites. They were kind of museums but more like tourist/historical locations. I’m talking about Håkon’s Hall and The Rosenkrantz Tower. Man oh man, were these fun to explore! The insides of both were like setting foot on a medieval movie set. Colten has really good videos of these on his Facebook so I would recommend checking them out.
Håkon’s Hall was a building from the 1200’s full of, you guessed it, halls where people in medieval times lived. It was built for, you guessed again, King Håkon. All the halls were for something else; there was one for discussion, for eating, for relaxing, etc. I felt like I was on the set of the TV show Merlin and Uther was going to strut by me. In other words, it was very cool.
The second place, Rosenkrantz Tower was even better! The tower was built by Erik Rosenkrantz in the 1560’s at the command of King Frederik II. We started at the base of the tower and wound our way through tiny, slightly claustrophobic stone staircases into different rooms. There were bedrooms, guard barracks, a chapel, a dungeon, and others. Then at the very top of the tower you could step outside and look across the city and water. I felt kinda queasy being up so high, so I didn’t stay out there for too long. Long enough to take some pictures though!
After that, Colten and I were feeling pretty tired and hungry from all the walking, having had only a banana and muffin for breakfast to fuel us. I wanted to go to one last place though. Bergen’s art museum, KODE. There are four different buildings of KODE, each one showcasing different arts. Since we were lacking energy and didn’t have much of the day left, we decided to only go into one. I chose KODE 3 because it included the art of Edvard Munch and Theodor Kittelsen. Theodor Kittelsen is probably my favorite Norwegian artist, as I grew up reading this little book about trolls at my Grandparent’s house that he had illustrated. His folkloric illustrations are a part of my childhood, and Colten’s too.
As we quietly wandered through, I took pictures of some of my favorite pieces but forgot to write down the names of the paintings and painters. The last two of the slideshow are Theodor Kittelsen but that’s all I remember. It was a lovely art experience though. I wish we could have gone to all four.
Finally after hours and hours of being tourists on the streets, it was time to be tourists in a restaurant and EAT. We went to a retro diner themed restaurant called Roll and Rock (suggested by two fellow Americans that I take classes with in Bø). Colten and I were not disappointed!
We ate burgers, onion rings, fries, and milkshakes. Now that’s my kind of meal when you haven’t eaten all day! Both of us would definitely recommend Roll and Rock to anyone who finds themself in Bergen.
After the best and most filling meal, we retired to our hotel room. As a sibling tradition we watched Over the Garden Wall. We always watch the show during November. It’s the perfect seasonal show to transition from Autumn to Winter and Halloween/Thanksgiving to Christmas. Then we got ready for bed and had our final sleep in Bergen.
The next morning, being Monday, we gathered all our stuff together and headed out for breakfast at 10:30am because our train back to Oslo departed at 12pm. We went to McDonald’s again thinking they would serve breakfast but we were mistaken! I guess Norway doesn’t do McDonald’s breakfasts, or maybe it was just that specific one. We then settled on Deli De Luca and had sandwiches and Pringles and bought some snacks for the train ride. We ate and chatted until 11:30am and then headed to the station.
The ride back to Oslo was just as beautiful as the ride before. The combination of water, mountains, trees, and snow is just an unbeatable view from a train window.
Being worn out from our weekend of walking, we didn’t mind having to sit for seven hours. I have to say that I did listen to Christmas music on the way back, despite my goal of waiting until December. Seeing the snow on the train ride and walking through the Christmas shop in Bergen really extinguished my willpower. Norway doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving though so it’s perfectly acceptable to start getting hyped now (at least I tell myself that). Even when we arrived at the station and ate dinner at Espresso House, Christmas music was playing and twinkling lights were up everywhere.
Colten could’ve just headed home after we ate since he lives in Oslo but he decided to wait with me for a little bit. Again, what a bro! My train wasn’t arriving until 10:25pm so I had a lot of waiting to do. We walked through the shops in the station before they were closing to kill some time. They had all kinds of Christmas goodies! I even bought some adorable Christmas cards that I don’t regret buying one bit.
After that I sat myself in the waiting area to wait for another hour, and Colten and I said our goodbyes. I didn’t get back to Bø until after 12am but I was so happy with our trip that I didn’t mind. We had such a great time.
So that was my Bergen trip! I have another trip to tell you about as well, my trip to Rauland, but that can wait for now. I’m also planning on visiting Colten in Oslo for a few days so he can show me the sights since I really haven’t explored there much. I’m a bit behind on my blog posts but they’ll be written before my time in Norway is done, mark my words.
Thanks for reading, and happy Thanksgiving!