Posted: 6/2/2008


    There are some cities around the world where I would love to live-if I could afford it- and Bergen is one of them, but you know how expensive Norway is.

     Well, I arrived on the 8 hour overnight train from Oslo Sentral and what an experience when you arrive early in the morning. Its an overnight express, but by 2.00am its light as you glide past snow covered mountains and a glacier and frozen lakes-mid summer. The line is one of the great engineering feats and you can read more at 8/6/2006 Norway in a Nutshell, and then blogs before and after, when I took the journey -and much more-in the day time.

    Bergen was founded in 1070 AD  by Olav Katre,son of Harald and for 600 years was capital and major city of Norway until 1830, and one of the Hanseatic ports around the Baltic, that traded with each other under a strict monopoly, such as Hamburg, Bremen, Riga, Kiel, Visby, Lubeck, Turku etc. It's the gateway to the Fjords, and now the centre of the oil industry, though it made its former fortune on dried cod.

    Its so fresh and neatly scrubbed, with lakes, fountains, museums, and houses higgledy-piggedly up the steep mountains close by. Even the drunks were friendly and one drinking diet Coke. It's interesting at an early hour to see the traders setting up their stalls by the historic Fish Market on the quayside. Besides dozens selling fish of all kind we had flower sellers, fruit stalls, woollen clothes with that distinctiive SAMI style(politically correct for eskimos) and lots selling Trolls and other souvenirs. I felt the pelts of reindeer, arctic fox, seals, wolf, white reindeer, and tasted all the bounty of the seas as the stall holders sliced off small pieces for me, of whale, salmon, king crab, mackerel, cod, shrimp, herring,lobster, langoustini, eel and famous Bergen fish soup, along with various bread and crackers. plus various caviars.

   As an added bonus it was also the day of the monthly Farmer's(Bowden's) Market by the BRYGGEN, an historic series of medieval wooded building on another quay side. Here I really was in heaven. From the surrounding fjords and farms they had brought a delightful harvest. I tried samples from jam stalls and butter stalls, and berry stalls, and honey mixed with cloudberry, heather, apple, cherries, strawberries. pear and cider butters, cheeses from goats, sheep, Norwegian marmalades.  Cakes and tarts and flans from various berries, plums, apricots, cherries, pears,apples. There was a Hardanger Fjord, type of pastry which was delicious,with fruit fillings, and then I came to THE BEST stall of all. 

    A man who said he had an unpronouncable name was selling home made natural ice cream and making hand made cones on a little machine while we waited. He said they were made from the milk and butter from his own pet cow, on his farm. His stall was ISROSA (Ice Rose)okologist is (ice cream)  I had kiwi, banana, vanilla, plum and sjohanberry. Simply the best!!.  Still time to taste the samples at the sausage stall, from reindeer, moose,  and more.  No need to bother stopping by McDonalds or Dolly Dimple's for more modern food at the traffic free main street Torgallmeningene.  So, I hopped on a bus with some visiting fans from FK Molde, 6 hours drive up the coast,to go to BRANN STADION in the southern suburbs. When at home Molde play in a beautiful stadium, right on the Atlantic Ocean and were visiting for top division 9th Round action TIPPELIGA.

     I joined the 'prawn sandwich brigade' and enjoyed a salmon dinner with all the trimmings in the guest lounge prior to kick-off with Bran Bergen 4th from the top and Molde 4th from the bottom of the 14 club league. The stadium was packed with 18,000 and what a match it turned out to be, with the visitors, at one time 3-1 behind  eventually winning 4-3 and sending their small contingent of 600 supporters home in a great mood.. Brann weren't bad and had Eric Bakke, formerly of Leeds United in midfield while the visitors had Brian Waltrip, formerly of Univ of South Florida, via way of Tampere, Deportivo Olivias, Sandefjord and more, on the wing.