When talking about Norway, what will pop up in your mind? To me, it would be the snow, the landscape, the oil field, and the welfare state etc. I’ve been to Norway three times. The first time was a short day trip from the Finnish Lapland to Northern Norway. This was the second time. When I was working in Copenhagen, my friend Sarah visited me, and we decided to make this short trip happen.
Our first stop was Bergen, the second-largest city on the west coast of Norway. Given the high cost of living, we were pretty lucky to find a place to stay that wasn’t so pricey. Although it was not so spacious, still enough for two people. I can’t remember where it was located, but it wasn’t far from the city centre.
Bergen is situated by the byfjorden and surrounded by seven mountains such as Ulriken, Floyen to name a few. Before we went to Bergen, we had already heard about the weather there. Due to its unique geography, Bergen is considered one of the rainiest cities in Europe. According to Life in Norway (2020), Bergen rains on an average of 239 days out of 365 days. So my top tip is to get your raincoat and rain boots ready if you plan to go there! I talked so much about the rain. Probably, you may think how lucky we were to encounter a sunny day. I have to be honest that we only had the chance to enjoy this lovely weather briefly in the morning of our last day. For the two times I visited Bergen, it was always the case, as if this was how the city was telling me ‘welcome back again, next time the sun will be out for sure’ haha.
With no doubt, the next day was a typical rainy day. Our trip was very relaxed and joyous. We didn’t plan ahead for what we wanted to see. Sometimes it’s more exciting to just be spontaneous as you won’t know what you will encounter next. We walked around the city, had a couple of photos taken. When it comes to rainy days, I’m more of an indoor person. We went to a cafe and sat by the window and watched the passersby. Sarah and I don’t always get to see each other. However, we can chitchat for hours without getting tired every time we meet.
Outdoor Fish Market
We had our lunch at the famous fish market in the heart of the city. This must-visit place has its indoor market open all year round, and the outdoor market runs from May 1st until summer ends. I enjoy travelling very much! This time, I learnt about the history of the fish market. Back in the 1200s, it used to be a place for merchants and fishermen to meet for trading activities. Nowadays, you can find the catch of the day, an assortment of fresh seafood and even the locally produced sausage specialities made with moose, reindeer or whale meat. Visiting the fish market was such an eye-opening experience.
We stopped at a stall and ordered a plate of delectable pan-fried seafood and Norwegian beer. I wish the weather could be nicer so we can actually sit outside and enjoy the view of the surroundings.
If you look up pictures of Bergen on the internet, you may see some photos of medieval-styled buildings. That’s Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Now, they are used for commercial purposes. You will see a museum, hotels, restaurants and shops there. I love these cute, colourful buildings as they quickly light up my mood just by looking at them. Once, a friend from Scandinavia told me that the buildings painted in different warm colours can help relieve depression in winter.
After lunch, Sarah and I strolled along the street and enjoyed the drizzly afternoon. It was a little bit cold, but the air was so refreshing. There is a shop I really like which sells a variety of adorable Scandinavian and imported products. I like those positive quotes printed on the products, and the yellow hat reminds me of Paddington, the bear!
Indoor Fish Market
The indoor fish market also sells a wide selection of fresh fish and seafood and has a few restaurants. We had dinner in a restaurant called Fjellskål. We ordered a caviar tasting dish called Caviar Symphony, which consisted of four types of Norwegian caviar served with toasted bread, sour cream, finely chopped red onion and lemon wedges. In the chilly evening, having a bowl of fish soup couldn’t be better.
The creamy fish soup was made with a selection of white fish, redfish, carrots, leek and topped with leaf-parsley and chervil oil. It had a rich taste and was very nutritious. A few spoons of the soup can soon warm you up and relieve the tiredness from travelling. If you don’t know what fish to eat, I recommend you go for a dish called Symphony of fish. This dish allows you to choose 2-3 kinds of fish from the menu. If you find some fish at the fish counter that are not displayed on the menu, you may ask the waiter if they can prepare it for you. How great is that! Sarah and I were dazed by the wide range of fish. To be safe, we ordered salmon. If I remember correctly, one of the other two fish was either marinated and oven-baked monkfish or wolffish (I still remember Sarah and I were joking about their names). The third fish we ordered might be the baked halibut with garlic and chilli oil.
Having dinner while enjoying the charming port view was such a fantastic dining experience. I can’t recall how long we stayed in that restaurant, but it was wonderful to see the city lights twinkling in the dark from afar. This surprisingly quiet environment was different from the major cities I’ve lived. I enjoyed it a lot because it really calmed me down and let me enjoy this peaceful moment.
The next day, we took a ferry to Flåm. Wonder what happened there? I’ll tell you about it at a later date. Stay tuned!
Till Next Time!
Photo credit: Sarah Liu | Ins: hang.photo