With my mind firmly decided that I really need to investigate how I can go about living part of the year in Norway, we sailed into a city that I could comfortably call 'home'--Bergen.
Bergen is the hometown of my "foreign exchange student" daughter, Ann-Mari, as well as the city that former Serenity Chief Officer BIG calls home. And the city is as charming as they both are (must be something in the water!)
We started off our tour with a stroll through a lovely garden, where a little nephew looked up to a big king
Then it was off to visit Haakon's Hall- built in 1261.
The morning light really intrigued me....
Some of the more vertically challenged of us got help....
And then it was off to Bryggen, the restored wharf area that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
(yeap, it's cloudy and rainy and STILL wonderfully charming. I am besotted. Totally.) *
How could you NOT go nuts over a place that has this kind of character?
If you look closely, you might be able to see why I was so interested in this shop...we came back later...
You know I'm a sucker for any kind of handwork...this stuff was EXQUISITE...
My family is never one to pass up a train ride under any circumstances, so we rode the funicular
Up to the top of Mt. Flöyen, where the view was...in a word...breathtaking.
Hmmmmmmm--somewhere out there is BIG and Bente's house...I wonder which direction!
Obligatory "I was here" photos are snapped by all
Even our lovely lady looks happy in port!
This little model shows everyone where the funicular car is on the track at any given moment--how clever is that!
I mean, come ON--even the McDonald's is charming!!!!
Back to the ship for a quick snack, and we were back toward Bryggen. I had some Starbucks coffee to mail to the Captain, as our schedules didn't mesh (shucks...guess this means I'll have to go BACK to Norway...darn it all.....)..and let me tell you...the USPS could learn a few things about the Norwegian postal system....sending a parcel could not be easier! I was there and gone before I thought to take a photo!
Some restaurants struck me as....well....not really Norwegian...
but this one in particular caused all us native Louisianians to take note...
(There was much rolling of eyes, I assure you, until we looked at the menu, and--honestly--it looked pretty much spot on for Creole and Cajun cuisine. At least the descriptions were appropriate!!!)
Then off for a little shopping...you know I have a "thing" for flowers
and what's a wharf without a fish market.
Yum! But I was looking for something special...
Everyone else chickened out, so Grumpy Guy and I set out on a quest..
What's this, you say???
It was as good as my friend Svein assured me it would be--lean, tender and very much like a good beef steak! Yummy, yummy, yummy!!!!! All I can say to the rest of the gang is--"nah-na-nah...na-NAH-naaaaaahhhhhh!"
More charming bits were discovered...
and WAAAYYY too soon, it was time to hear Louis Armstrong sing "Wonderful World" one more time as we sailed away for Stockholm....
It seemed the seagulls didn't want us to go..or they wanted to come with us..
(we later found out some bozo was tossing bread off his/her veranda--certainly a Crystal no-no...
At one point, we felt like we were auditioning for a remake of Hitchcock's "The Birds".)
Some of us were happy to be seated in the Crystal Dining Room
but for me, I left part of my heart in Bergen...I can't wait to go back and discover more wonderful things about this beautiful, old, historic, charming, magical city!!!!!!
* note to the Captain.....see the white building on the far left??? That's the empty storefront that is just BEGGING for a coffee place.................just a little suggestion........hint hint