Tag Archives: Bergen

4 July 2019:
Bergen, Norway:
The Hut of the Hall of the Mountain King

Bergen, the second city of Norway, is a gem that has managed to hold on to much of its character even as it becomes more and more popular with cruise ships and overland visitors.

It is one of our favorite places to walk: from the cruise terminal to town, from town up one of the seven hills, into the university district, and into corners and neighborhoods off the tourist track.

Grieg’s Troldhaugen

On this trip, I went with guests to Troldhaugen, the former home of the great composer Edvard Grieg, best known for “The Hall of the Mountain King”, “Peer Gynt”, and other masterworks.

It was a beautiful day, a beautiful trip, a beautiful conclusion to this cruise. In addition to touring his home, we also enjoyed a concert of works by Grieg, performed by a young Japanese pianist who won Bergen’s Grieg competition in 2018.

Here is some of what we saw today at Troldhaugen:

Grieg’s house, Troldhaugen
Grieg’s composing hut, down by the water. The diminutive Grieg would often sit on a thick volume of music by Brahms to reach the piano he had here.

The Beauty of Bergen

We’ve been in Bergen winter, spring, summer, and fall. Here are some of the city sights:

The Bryggen district, former home of the Hansa merchants in Bergen.
The Bergen train station
Winter in Bergen, on a previous trip

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

2 June 2019:
Bergen, Norway:
Fire and Ice

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Bergen is a modern city set in an ancient town, the one-time capital of Norway and a place with a broken link to England.

The beautiful horseshoe harbor, framed by a handsome bowl of seven hills, has a bustling commercial center, an active fishery with a great public fish market, and a laid-back Scandinavian culture that meets up with a lively university and student culture.

Across its history, thought, Bergen has had its tough times. Plague and war, fire and ice.

Skies today began gray and threatening, with no fire or ice expected. Sun broke through at midday…forestalling a return to gray.

All photos copyright 2019 Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Bergen is said to have been founded by Olav Kyrre, also known as Olaf III. Olaf, the King of Norway from 1067 to 1093, was present at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in England.

That battle is considered the end of the Viking Age, or at least the beginning of the end. It pitted an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada against an Anglo-Saxon army led by King Harold Godwinson.

King Hardrada and most of the other Norwegians were killed in a bloody battle. Olaf—the son of King Hardrada—survived and returned to Norway, where he founded the city of Bergen in 1070.

There are many intriguing alternate endings to that story:

London as a Viking capital?

Bergen as home of the occupiers of England?

Bangers and mash as the national dish of Norway?

Lutefisk in the pubs of Camden Town?

We’ll never know.

Bergen served as the capital of Norway in the 13th century, and late in that century it was a Kontor, a trading post, of the Hanseatic League. Some of the homes and warehouses of the traders, Bryggen, still stand along one side of the harbor.

In truth, what we see in Bryggen has been rebuilt numerous times. Many fires and a disastrous explosion in the harbor during German occupation of Bergen during World War II destroyed much of what was original. But the Norwegians mostly rebuilt, as built.

Dried fish at the market
A fresh monkfish…hoping to hide in plain sight. He may have seen a cousin on the menu aboard ship last night.
Inside Bryggen, the old Hansa merchant district

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

30 July 2018:
Bergen, Norway:
Last Call

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Bergen: an ancient city, a modern town.

A beautiful harbor, a handsome bowl of seven hills.

A bustling commercial center, an active fishery and a great public fish market, a laid-back Scandinavian culture, and a quirky freewheeling university city-state.

Bergen is very Norwegian but very different from the remote small settlements of the country’s west coast and its top.

Our long run of blue sky and warm temperatures gave way to more typical Norwegian weather. Overnight the North Sea was bumpy and this morning we arrived to gray skies and drizzle.

It has though been an exceptionally glorious visit to Norway, which is high praise indeed.

This afternoon we head back out to sea, our destination a passage through the London Tower Bridge early Wednesday morning.

Chef David Bilsland led an informal trek to the Bergen Fish market, introducing guests to some of the oceanic treasures of Norway.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

26 June 2017:
Bergen, Norway:
Mood Swings

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Bergen is the last major port call on this cruise, a charming and sometimes moody place in the southern part of Norway.

Why moody? Well, the people here are almost always unfailingly pleasant and accommodating.

The weather: not so much.

Bergen is a place where you can experience all four seasons. All in one day, that is.

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4718

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4722

Moody weather in Bergen. Photos by Corey Sandler

In the morning I walked with Silversea chef David Bilsland and a group of guests from our ship to the Bergen Fish Market on an educational and shopping tour.

Below, Rudolph the Red-nosed Hot Dog

BRYGGEN

Bryggen, on the north side of the bay, was used as a dock and warehouse area by the Hansa between 1350 and 1750.

Here are some photos from today:

Photos by Corey Sandler

AN ANTIQUE MUSEUM

I am a big fan of the Natural History Museum at the University of Bergen. Alas, it is under renovation until 2019. I look forward to returning…but i hope they don’t overdo the renewal.

It was a very old-fashioned museum—think wooden cabinets with specimens pinned in place, stuffed animals of all sort, and huge whale and other skeletons hanging overhead.

Some of the creatures—and the design of the museum—are extinct.

Bergen6 Univ

Bergen5 Univ

Bergen Natural History Museum. Photos by Corey Sandler

ABOUT BERGEN

Bergen is home to about 268,000 people in the city itself and 394,000 in the surrounding area.

It is thus the second-largest city in Norway, behind only Oslo, although the capital city is much more populous: 1.4 million.

Oh, and a whole bunch of fish.

Bergen4

Bergen3

Bergen2

Bergen1

FISH MARKET

The great fish market occupies the center of the horseshoe-shaped harbor; in modern times the market has been extended from outdoor stalls to a handsome indoor building.

The fish is about as fresh and tasty as you’ll find anywhere, and all you need to do is look hungry to be offered a sample of smoked salmon or boiled crab or fish chowder.

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4701

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4714

King Crab at the Bergen Fish Market

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4706

This guy looks quite surprised at the situation he has found himself in. It’s an Ure fish, which means red fish, similar to red snapper.

MY GUILTY SNACK

One other point worth noting: Norway is one of the few countries that still hunts whales for meat. (The others include Iceland, Japan, and a few tiny island nations.)

Norway catches a few hundred Minke whales, mostly in waters at the northern end of the nation.

Minke whales are not considered an endangered species, although their numbers—like all other varieties of whales—are greatly reduced.

My wife and I live on Nantucket Island, which for a period of time in the 19th century was the whaling capital of the world. It was the Saudi Arabia of whale oil.

But the whalers who left from our island on voyages of as much as three or four years did not eat the whale meat. All they wanted was the oil as well as baleen and whale bone.

And today, although Nantucket celebrates its heritage as a whaling port (including the fine Nantucket Whaling Museum), it is at the forefront of a nearly-universal boycott against the harvesting of whale for meat today.

Although I have been to Norway, Iceland, Japan, and Arctic Canada many times, until a few years ago I had never tried whale meat.

Reason 1: Political correctness.

Reason 2: Have you ever seen whale meat? It is enough to make you seriously consider vegetarianism.

But on a tour of the fish market, we were offered samples of king crab and gravlax and codfish caviar and fish chowder.

And then, a platter of small pieces of smoked whale.

I hesitated…and then took a bite.

It tasted a bit like beef or caribou. Not bad.

But I felt guilty about it. And I promise never to do it again.

There are other foods to explore without the worry of losing my credentials in the upright citizens brigade.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

You can help support this site by making purchases from AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

2 July 2014
 Bergen, Norway

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our last port of call on this cruise is the lovely Norwegian coastal city of Bergen, always a surprise even to those of us who have been here many times. It is one of those cities where the people seem to seek to enjoy every moment of every day.[whohit]-Bergen 2Jul-[/whohit]

Bergen is an ancient city and a modern town.

A bustling commercial center, an active fishery and a great public fish market, a laid-back Scandinavian culture, and a quirky freewheeling university city-state.

It was gray and drizzly for most of the day, but Bergen’s charms shone through. Here are some photos from 2 July:

BLOG Bergen 2July2014_DSC7607 BLOG Bergen 2July2014_DSC7622 BLOG Bergen 2July2014_DSC7618 BLOG Bergen 2July2014_DSC7614 BLOG Bergen 2July2014_DSC7610

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

And here’s a photo album of some of my favorite spots in Bergen from many visits.

BERGEN5 Bryggen

BERGEN3 Harbor

Bryggen, the ancient trading district along the harbor, and a fishing boat nearby. Photo by Corey Sandler

BERGEN4 Floibanen BERGEN1 Harbor BERGEN2 Harbor

A funicular runs from just above downtown to a hill overlooking the city. Photos by Corey Sandler

BERGEN6 Bergen University Museum

The University district is a city within the city, including a fine old-school museum filled with skeletons, stuffed animals, and missing most of the crowds in town. Photo by Corey Sandler

Bergen is said to have been founded by Olav Kyrre, also known as Olaf III.

Olaf was King of Norway from 1067 to 1093. He was present at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in England.

That battle, considered the end of the Viking Age, or at least the beginning of the end, took place between an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada and an Anglo-Saxon army led by King Harold Godwinson.

King Hardrada (Olaf III’s father) and most of the other Norwegians were killed in a bloody battle.

Olaf survived and returned to Norway, where he founded the city of Bergen in 1070.

If he had won in England, London might well be a Viking capital. Salt cod in the pubs of Camden Town. Bangers and mash as the national dish of Norway.

The background music of Bergen is Peer Gynt by composer Edvard Grieg, who spent much of his life in Bergen.

Peer Gynt is the leading character of a favorite Norwegian folk tale about a poorly behaving boy who falls in love with a beautiful girl but is denied her hand.

He heads out to the country—meets up with nasty trolls at the Hall of the Mountain King and then to remote Mongolia, all the while still smitten by the girl back home.

I don’t mean to spoil it for you, but in the end, he gets the girl. Or she gets him.

The great Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen wrote a five-act play in verse about Peer Gynt.

And when it premiered in 1876 in Oslo, it was accompanied by incidental music written by Edvard Grieg.

Modern Norway is a constitutional monarchy.

From the time of Harald Fairhair until the present day, Norway has had more than 60 named sovereigns. The current King belongs to the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, which has ruled Norway since 1905.

King Harald V, age 77, is well-connected.

He is first cousin once removed of King Philippe of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg; second cousin of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, and the second cousin once removed of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

And in waiting: 40-year-old Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

Speaking of princesses, last year, Norway received a huge gift to its tourism business when Disney released its film, “Frozen.”

Yet another Disney princess, this time Anna of Arendelle.

We proceed tonight for a day at sea and then the end of this cruise, at Copenhagen.

All text and photos copyright 2014 by Corey Sandler. If you would like to purchase a photo, please contact me.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order a copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer  (Kindle Edition)

21 June 2013 Bergen, Norway. Mood swings and guilt trips

COREY SANDLER, Destination Consultant, Silversea Silver Cloud

We’re embarked on an extraordinary journey, from Copenhagen in the Baltic Sea through the Kattegat and into the North Sea.

Silversea Silver Cloud is headed up the coast of Norway with stops at some impressive harbors and spectacular fjords, then above Lapland to an historically important but still-relatively hidden corner of ancient, then Czarist, and then Soviet Russia.

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4718 Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4722

Moody weather in Bergen

MOODY BERGEN

Our first port of call on this latest voyage on Silversea Silver Cloud is Moody Bergen.

Why moody? Well, the people here are almost always unfailingly pleasant and accommodating.

The weather: not so much.

I told our guests in my lecture about Bergen that this is a place where you can experience all of the seasons. All in one day, that is.

Right on schedule, we arrived at our parking spot very close to the heart of town…and it began raining. It changed from a drizzle to steadier rain and then a peek of bright sky before moving toward a hint of winter.

BRYGGEN

Bryggen, on the north side of the bay, was used as a dock and warehouse area by the Hansa between 1350 and 1750.

Bergen5

Bryggen

AN ANTIQUE MUSEUM

I am a big fan of the Natural History Museum at the University of Bergen.

It is a very old-fashioned museum—think wooden cabinets with specimens pinned in place, stuffed animals of all sort, and huge whale and other skeletons hanging overhead.

Some of the creatures—and the design of the museum—are extinct.

Bergen6 Univ Bergen5 Univ

Bergen Natural History Museum

ABOUT BERGEN

Bergen is home to about 268,000 people in the city itself and 394,000 in the surrounding area.

It is thus the second-largest city in Norway, behind only Oslo, although the capital city is much more populous: 1.4 million.

Oh, and a whole bunch of fish.

Bergen4 Bergen3 Bergen2 Bergen1 Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4725 Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4724

Scenes about town, including back alleys of Bryggen and an extraordinary vessel that is part of the service fleet for the North Sea oil fields

FISH MARKET

The great fish market occupies the center of the horseshoe-shaped harbor; the market has recently been extended from outdoor stalls to a handsome indoor building.

The fish is about as fresh and tasty as you’ll find anywhere, and all you need to do is look hungry to be offered a sample of smoked salmon or boiled crab or fish chowder.

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4701 Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4714

King Crab at the Bergen Fish Market

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4706

This guy looks quite surprised at the situation he has found himself in. It’s an Ure fish, which means red fish, similar to red snapper.

MY GUILTY SNACK

One other point worth noting: Norway is one of the few countries that still hunts whales for meat.

(The others include Iceland, Japan, and a few tiny island nations.)

Norways catches a few hundred Minke whales, mostly in waters at the northern end of the nation.

Minke whales are not considered an endangered species, although their numbers—like all other varieties of whales—are greatly reduced.

My wife and I live on Nantucket Island, which for a period of time in the 19th century was the whaling capital of the world.

It way the Saudi Arabia of whale oil.

But the whalers who left from our island on voyages of as much as three or four years did not eat the whale meat. All they wanted was the oil as well as baleen and whale bone.

And today, although Nantucket celebrates its heritage as a whaling port (including the fine Nantucket Whaling Museum), it is at the forefront of a nearly-universal boycott against the harvesting of whale for meat today.

Although I have been to Norway and Japan and Arctic Canada many times, I had never tried whale meat.

Reason 1: Political correctness.

Reason 2: Have you ever seen whale meat? It is enough to make you seriously consider vegetarianism.

Well, today, I have a confession.

I went on a market tour with David Bilsland, the leader of the Ecole des Chefs of Silversea.

And we were offered samples of king crab (wonderful…and only about $50 per pound and that includes the shells.

Also, gravlax and codfish caviar and fish chowder.

And then, a platter of small pieces of smoked whale.

I hesitated…and then took a bite.

It tasted a bit like beef or caribou. Not bad.

But I felt guilty about it. And I promise never to do it again.

There are other foods to explore without the worry of losing my credentials in the upright citizens brigade.

All photos Copyright 2013, Corey Sandler. To obtain copies, please visit the Order a Photo tab on this blog.