When visiting Norway, many people stop at the capital Oslo, but the second largest city of Bergen is often overlooked. One reason for this is it is clear across the country, an add-on for which there is seldom enough time.
Not visiting the coastal town of Bergen, when you are in Norway, is a mistake. It has more history than most other parts of the country. Bergen is surrounded by seven hills and lies in a valley with direct access to the ocean. The fiords of this section of the west coast are spectacular, especially if you have a camera in hand or simply appreciate nature's wild beauty.
The city was developed in the mid sixteen hundreds by German merchants who realized that trading with Norway could be very lucrative. These Hanseatic Merchants, as they were known, immediately set up shop and began building stores and warehouses in western European styles of the day.
Today, the old city of Bergen is a haven for tourists. Dozens of shops line the canal and are all housed in original structures, all dating back to the seventeenth century. In order to keep the traditions alive the town council has initiated laws which insist that any renovations are done in the old traditions, using the original materials. It is not uncommon to see a modern door on a shop with an outside face of 400 year old wood.
Among the many stores are an excellent variety of traditional restaurants, featuring boiled potatoes, hearty vegetables and pot roast or sausages. One of my favourite restaurants is Bryggeloftet & Stuene. The concept is a bit different from