Ever since we returned home from our trip to Scandinavia a few years ago, we knew we needed to go back. And this time, do more. We felt we'd short-changed Norway, and there were other places we wanted to see again and see anew. The real planning began about a year and a half ago. With the help of my travel-agent cousin Emily, we organized what we hoped would be the perfect itinerary.
We flew out of Newark on August 26, using Icelandair. The employees were pleasant and the planes arrived and departed on time. But they were uncomfortable seats. More than other airplanes, we both thought. We had had dinner in Newark since we were leaving at 8:45, and were glad that we had done that because there was only food-to-buy aboard the plane. We landed in Keflavik with two hours lay-over and had delicious salmon omelets before boarding our plane to Bergen.
The wonderfully-named Flybussen took us to our hotel, right down in the Bryggen. The room wasn't large, but it wasn't tiny either, and had a spacious and modern bathroom. Three pair of earplugs had been thoughtfully provided since the room faces right out on a pedestrian walkway near some bars. We settled in, had an hour's nap, and then went out in the rain to walk around. The fish market was wonderful -- gorgeous salmon, caviar, trout, whale -- for purchase to take home or in platters to eat there. We both wanted to do the latter, but I was concerned about shellfish contamination in these little places, so we went to a restaurant on the harbor where we had some very good fish and chips and then walked around the Bryggen for a half-hour or so. Despite the little nap, jet lag was affecting us, so we returned to the hotel for an early night.
On Friday we awoke to more rain, enjoyed the hotel's ample breakfast (somehow the raspberry jam seemed the best we'd ever had -- tasted as though the sun was still in the berries). Then out and about we went! On the agenda was seeing the Bryggen -- all of the little ins and outs -- in daylight. There were pretty many tourists and I noticed there didn't seem to be a convention about keeping to the right when walking. St. Mary's church, just beyond Bryggen was lovely.
A morning highlight was the Floibanen funicular to Mount Floyen. The line was long, but it moved quickly, and once we were at the top, we stayed for quite a while, taking in the gorgeous views, and pausing for a beverage in the restaurant. Joe needed to visit a fort and I needed to do some shopping (moose slippers for a certain new baby among other treasures). We met up for lunch at Una, where I ate salmon for the second time in the day. We spent part of the afternoon at the Hanseatic Museum adjacent to our hotel, and then came home for a much-needed nap.
Dinner across the street at the Fisketorget was a great idea, but it was raining pretty steadily and we decided that an open-air location just wouldn't work. We walked in the rain down to a park we'd wanted to check out and found a busy and interesting square. At the base was a restaurant that our instincts told us would be good, and we were right. It was crowded, but people were pleasant.
We both had the same dinner: herring with a potato-and-beet salad. I couldn't finish mine, delicious though it was. We shared a chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce and then walked home -- the rain had abated once again, so we took our time, noticing various street-corner musicians: guitarists, accordionists, singers. It had been a good day, this last full day in Bergen.
That second night we were happy to have those thoughtfully-provided earplugs. It was a Friday night and young Norwegians were letting loose! The earplugs masked much of the sound, but not all.
In the morning, after breakfast, we went out to see the second half of the Hanseatic Museum, located around the corner and down the street.
Then Joe took the Flybussen down to the airport to pick up our car, leaving me in the Bryggen with a couple of errands before we started on our way to Floro.