Norway - The Beautiful Fjords of Bergen
Early in the morning, we catch a plane from Copenhagen to Bergen, and arrive to a rather quiet airport. We are staying at the Magic Hotel in Solheimsviken, and the hotels are actually designed by Karim Rashid. I'm not a huge fan of Karim Rashid's work myself, his designs tend to be very loud and made of plastics, whereas I have a preference for the exact opposite aesthetic - more natural materials such as wood, and more sophisticated and muted colour palettes.
Nevertheless, I thought it would be interesting to stay in one of his hotels and check it out, and it sure lives up to his reputation. Our room had a neon blue light lighting up one wall which I forgot to take a photo of but it was pretty... um... interesting?
We arrived in Bergen on a Sunday, and little did we know, everything is closed on Sunday. Catching the light rail in the city was like walking through a ghost town. There's next to no one in the central area.
We wander through the streets for a bit and the weather is starting to get a little foggy and wet. Unfortunately, it's the shoulder season and much of the city is undergoing renovations and construction before the influx of tourists arrive in Summer, so there isn't a whole lot to see.
I was planning to head up to Mount Ulriken, the highest of the Seven Mountains that surround Bergen, but the fog is obscuring everything so we take a chance and catch the Fløibanen (funicular or cable car) up to Mount Fløyen instead.
We manage to get a few snaps of the view from above of Bergen before the cloud and fog roll over, less than 10 minutes after we arrive at the top. The weather sure does move quickly there.
We try to go for a hike through the forest but end up turning back as the snow/ice combo is too slippery and dangerous for us to attempt. I hope to return to Bergen in summer next time to take full advantage of the beautiful scenery and do some more of the hikes.
By the time we get back to the Fløibanen, it's starting to rain a bit so we walk down to see the famous wood buildings along the Bryggen wharf, which has been on the UNESCO World Heritage site list for many decade now.
You might notice that some of the buildings in the photo of Bryggen below actually have plastic protective coverings with a picture of the building facade on front. This is because they are undergoing maintenance and they have done their best to maintain the aesthetic.
The next day brings even worse weather... taking our chances, we decide to do a fjord cruise from Bergen to Mostrauman. The ship has an open top deck that we can access to get better views and take photos. It feels like being thrown in a wind funnel up there but it's worth it for the shots.
Cruising up Osterfjorden in the Hordaland province, we pass many small settlements along the way. I love the charming style of the houses along these fjords, and there is still plenty of snow dusting the cliff sides. This, along with the drifting fog, gives the surroundings a very ethereal and mysterious feel.
We stop for a short bit at Modalen, a small settlement of about 390 people set in a picturesque backdrop of snowy mountains and forest. I'd love to spend some time living in such a small village - it would be an amazing spot to get away for a weekend.
After the cruise, we attempt the Fløibanen again hoping that the fog has cleared, but no such luck, it's worse than the day before. It does however have a nice effect on the forest.
On the way home, I look out the window and see quite a nice view of the mountainside so we jump out of the train at Florida (yes it was called Florida) and stop for a few photos. It's a shame the fog covered some of the hills as it looked beautiful all lit up - coastal towns with hills always look so magical. It almost reminds me a bit of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, another place on my bucket list to visit. It was a nice end to our stay in Bergen, and next time I'm coming back in better weather!