Friday, August 24, 2018

Viking Homelands Bergen Arrival (8/23-24/2018)

Thursday, August 23, 2018
We are taking our first Viking Ocean Cruise, although it will minimally be on an ocean. We have planned for over a year to take the Viking Homelands cruise on the Baltic Sea with Fernando and Josefina F.
Waiting at the Shaker Heights Onaway Station
for the Cleveland Rapid train
We typically travel with a total of two carry-on suitcases and two backpacks. As it turned out, so do Fernando and Josefina, yet they would be traveling for a total of four weeks, twice our two weeks!
The Rapid Green Line train
The Rapid Red Line train that took us to the airport
Fortunately, there were no problems with our flights from Cleveland to Atlanta, then overnight from Atlanta to Amsterdam.

Friday, August 24, 2018
We received complimentary meals (dinner and breakfast) on the Atlanta to Amsterdam flight, and lunch on the one-hour 40-minute flight from Amsterdam to Bergen. Fernando and Josefina flew on Icelandair the next day from Cleveland to Reykjavik, then to Bergen. Although more direct, they did not receive any complimentary food!
Arrived in Bergen, Norway where it was cloudy with a light rain, reinforcing the fact that it is the "rainiest city in Europe!"
Restroom markings in the Bergen (Flesland) airport
Art installation (2017, by Ragnar Kjartansson) where the
question mark "contains an infinitude of possibilities"
We took the local light rail train from the airport 12 miles into the city of Bergen.
The larger light rail stations had art installations,
while many stations are simple shelters
We noticed that each station had its own musical sound tone, which along with a digital readout in each car alerted you to the next stop.
After a four-and-a-half block walk in drizzling rain, we reached the Magic Hotel Korskirchen. The doorway to the building brings you into a grocery store, but just to the right is the entrance to the hotel.
The Magic Hotel Korskirchen
Our hotel room with a curvy lamp
We are in Scandinavia-design country!
The hotel room bathroom!
View from our window, with the YMCA to the far left
We put on our rain gear and headed out.
Hollendergaten in the former Dutch Quarter
Discreet McDonald's in 1710 former bakery
Det Hanseatiske Museum og Schøtstuene/
Hanseatic Museum housed in Finnegård (1704), a merchant
house that was also his warehouse and accounting office
Also fish-drying rooms
From 1360-1754, the Germans established a foreign trade center in Bergen, for the import of grain, flour, malt, beer and fishing equipment, and the export of stockfish, fish oil and hides. The area was known for its mass quantities of stockfish/dried cod and the Germans had the monopoly. Although the Germans were governed by the Hanseatic League, Bergen was never a member.
Cupboard beds and water containers
No fires were allowed in the merchant houses, in order to protect the traded goods. Despite precautions, the area has burned down several times, and most of the buildings today date from after the fire in 1702.
Painted trunk with something like 19 locks (KSS)
Accounting "offices" always had windows
A [fire] hydrant
Part of the Hanseatic Museum is the Schøtstuene or assembly halls
The Schøtstuene were built apart from the merchant buildings and were surrounded by stone walls. It was here that fires were allowed and kitchens prepared hot meals for the German traders.
One of three reconstructed assembly halls
Basically a large beer hall also used for meetings,
learning, entertainment, and keeping warm in winter
Schøtstuene kitchen
Memorial (1956, by Sofus Madsen) to the
Buekorps/Bow Corps members who gave their
lives for the motherland 1939-1945
Statue (1948, by Gustav Vigeland) of Snorri Sturlasen,
Icelandic scribe and scholar who in the 13C
wrote (down?) Norse myths and poetry
Stopped for the famous skillingsbolle/cinnamon bun
from Baker Brun, where in the 1890s Ferdinand Brun developed
the pastry to sell for a skilling/schilling
Today the Baker Brun cinnamon bun is large (American-sized) while typically cinnamon buns throughout Scandinavia are smaller, and most importantly, have no icing!
Bryggen, the wharf with the narrow fronts of commercial buildings
that stretch back along long alleys, once used by Hanseatic merchants
(I was in Bergen in 1982 on a Scandinavian Eurail trip.)
Bryggen (7/15/1982)
The anatomically endowed unicorn at the
Enhjørningen Sjøboden/Unicorn Warehouse,
now a restaurant
We wandered the alleys of tourist trap shops, where we heard clerks speaking multiple languages, including Japanese.
There were several fur shops, and
examples of huge burls
We saw reindeer pelts, seal skins, and furs from wolves, and fox.
Bredsgården alley
Bredsgården alley (7/15/1982)
Hand-knit woolen items (sweaters over $300)
Small building may have been a shop even
during the Hanseatic days
Giant wood carving of Tørrfisk/dried cod
Kjøttbasarent/Meat Market (1877), built to keep meat separate from fish
Now the only tenant at the Meat Market is Starbucks
Shetland's Larsen War Memorial
After the German Nazis occupied Norway in 1940, fishing vessels began carrying refugees to the Shetland Islands of the United Kingdom. Later, boat skippers were asked by the Norwegian Navy to ferry agents and supplies back and forth from Bergen to Shetland. The operation became known as the Shetland Bus, and in 1943 the United States Navy provided three submarine chasers to replace the fishing boats. The skippers became an official part of the Norwegian Navy.
Nordstjernen/North Star (2004, by Laila Kongevold) memorial
to 513 seamen who gave their lives 1939-1945
Statue (1995, by Knut Steen) of Leif Larsen,
born in Bergen, who was perhaps the best
known of the Shetland bus operatives
Looking across the Vågen/harbor bay toward the New Fish Market
(2012, by Eder Biesel Arkitekter)
We passed through the stalls of the original Fisketorget/fish market in the Torget/main square. While fishing vessels may no longer sell directly off their boats, the market is full of vendors who can both sell you seafood, or cook it up for you.
Ready to cook seafood
Tank of Norwegian King Crabs
Gaping mouth of a Lophius piscatorius/monkfish
We stopped at the iconic Sostrene Hagelin, a fiskekaker/fish cake shop founded by the Hagelin sisters in 1929. Sort of like a fish food deli with a couple tables. Most of the business was take-out. They claim their fish cakes are 80% fish.
Top left is the Fiskesuppe/fish soup that was
more like a buttery fish chowder, and top right
was blackberry juice, plus four types of fish cakes
Surprisingly thick and firm fish cakes, where the fish
has been processed so much that you barely taste any fish
I think we had a plain, a cheese, and a couple herb-y fish cakes, and all ingredients had been finely ground!
As we ate, many groups of young people marched by, dressed according
to different themes (in the background is a group all in white);
we later learned this is how university students celebrate returning to school!
Statue (1884, by Johan Borjeson) of Ludvig Holberg,
born in Bergen, who was a writer and historian,
considered to be the founder of modern
Danish and Norwegian literature
The former Børsen/Stock Exchange (1862, by Frantz Wilhelm Schiertz)
Inside the former Stock Exchange are murals (1918-1923, by
Axel Revold) depicting Bergen's fishing heritage
Saw these Ostehorn/cheese horns at the Rema 1000 grocery store
Next: Troldhaugen.

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