Thursday, October 1, 2009

Great Day for Ducks in Bergen, Norway--Sept. 8

Oops! Forgot to put the Norway flag in the Stavanger blog, so here it is...


Let’s start this blog by saying that Bergen, Norway gets 300 days of rain a year…and this was a dilly! Most of the next pictures were taken from a rainy window on the bus. It was either that or no pictures…

Bergen was the capital of Norway until 1299 when Oslo replaced it, and it remained the largest city until the mid 19th century. Like Stavanger, it has enjoyed immense wealth due to the discovery of oil in the North Sea. Norway is extremely expensive, but they also have high wages and many benefits including royalties from the oil business. Every man, woman and child is given 500,000 Krones, which would work out to about $80,000 US!

The city is perfectly located for trade with anyone along the shores of the North Sea, or even the Atlantic.


We had planned a city tour and a funicular ride to the top of one of the mountains. Rain or shine, the tour goes! This is the city square with a monument to those who died in the war. Bergen suffered quite a bit of damage in WWII.


Once again as in Stavanger, they have a group of typical Norwegian timber homes which have been restored and preserved.


This is one of the marinas (although it looks like parking lot!). There is no lack of money for buying boats.


Norwegian people are extremely proud of their country. Stavanger and Bergen are both extremely clean cities. Many homes fly a flag which isn’t the national flag, but one which indicates that they are home and you are welcome to come for coffee. Like a "Do Not Disturb" sign in reverse!


Look at how hard it was raining! This restaurant might be inviting on a sunny day…


This is one of the many ferries that are used to transport people around the country. Norway is very long (about 1100 miles), and while car travel can take many hours on their small roads, distances across the water can be travelled in a short time.


The only Catholic church in Bergen... Most Norwegians are Lutheran and this church would be mainly for immigrants.


Bergen’s theatre…the statue is of Henrik Ibsen who was a famous Norwegian playright.


I am not sure what this word means (something to do with administration), but I was continually amazed at the length of words in Norwegian. They must be good spellers!


After driving around the city for over an hour, we finally headed to the funicular to take us to the top of Mount Floyen which is about 1050 ft. above sea level. Here we are heading up in the funicular for some panoramic views of the city.


The wind at the top was really strong. The lady taking our picture had her legs planted against the wind. The gusts actually got a little scary sometimes!


There is a nice restaurant at the top and, of course, a busy souvenir shop.


At last! It finally stops pouring…you can see our ship near the top of the picture. Beautiful city…


These children must have been on a school outing. Notice how they are holding on to each other’s backpacks. Some of the gusts of wind would have been enough to carry them away!


Funicular heading down the mountain…


After an hour stay at the top, we headed back down…



By the time we got back to the ship, it was pouring again. Our tour guide was excellent and she made the comment that Bergen people are born with webbed feet and umbrellas, while the rest of Norwegians are born on skis. We believe her!!

We decided to stop for a yummy mocha latte at the coffee bar on the ship before heading back to the room. We were sitting around when suddenly one of the ship’s alarms went off. This isn’t totally unusual as the crew does a lot of training on port days when passengers are not on the ship. However, in a second the captain came over the intercom saying “This is not an exercise.” What?!! What the heck could be going on? I wasn’t too worried because we were in port and wouldn’t have far to get off the ship. The crew members started running…



All crew must immediately go to their muster stations. So 1300 crew members are flying from everywhere with the life jackets. The captain makes an announcement telling the passengers to just “carry on.” You can hear people laughing as it was sort of funny...

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During this time, the crew have all left their jobs. The bars are completely open, but no one made a move for free drinks! And then it was all over. Someone was welding and had started a fire. I’m glad we were in port!

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In the middle of the fire alarm, this couple was performing in the atrium. She is amazing. Look at her on stilts in high heels holding him!


So this poor couple after being interrupted by the fire alarm, gets back to the act. They just get settled and an announcement comes on about the night’s entertainment. Good thing they aren’t nervous. The crowd appreciated them continuing to perform in difficult circumstances!


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To end an eventful day, the seas are too rough for us to leave, so unfortunately we won’t be getting to the Shetland Islands tomorrow. We are staying in Bergen overnight and then trying to head for the Faroe Islands. Weather has been a bit of a factor on this cruise!!


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