2019.08 - Bergen
04 July 2019 | Pictre: Egret at Bergen
Yachts can raft up against the walls of the old harbour, known as Vågen, right at the heart of the city. We managed to find a tight space alongside a short pier, which was well fendered with tyres. We paid for our berth at a meter, entered a code printed on it at the electricity pedestal, but had to visit the tourist office to obtain the code for the ablutions. We were away from the main thoroughfare of traffic and pedestrians, but rather too close to a bar which featured a live band on its terrace every evening. It was a Friday, and large numbers of power-boats were arriving to party over the weekend. Unfortunately, the guy immediately astern of us was joined by insalubrious looking friends arriving by motor-bike, and later we presumed by "ladies of the night". Loud music and shouting went on throughout two consecutive nights. When we got up, bleary eyed, in the morning, the owner would be sitting zonked out at the wheel, with the music still playing.
We enjoyed three full days worth of sightseeing. First off was a walk across the town and over the river to Damsgård, a delightful wooden Rococo mansion from the 18th century and its small baroque garden. On the way back we called at the maritime museum, with exhibits ranging from parts of Viking ships through a 1924 Morgan Giles designed mahogany motor launch to a model of one of the Hurtigruten ships which ply up and down the coast daily. Finally that day we took the funicular railway up to the Flørbaren viewpoint overlooking the city, and walked back down through woodland and past houses clinging to the slopes. We took a bus to Troldhaugen, a 19th century villa situated in an idyllic position beside a lake, once the summer home of Edvard Grieg. A modern concert hall has been built in the grounds, where we listened to a piano recital of his music. We explored Bryggen, the area of around sixty closely spaced timber warehouses beside Vågen, first established for Hanseatic trade in the 13th century, but rebuilt over the years after a succession of fires. Also from that time is King Håkon's banqueting hall, the first stone building of its kind built in Norway. Further out of town is Gamle Bergen, a re-assembly of old buildings saved from other parts of the town, complete with actors to re-enact life in times gone by.
The noisy motor-boat finally departed, and we invited Lars and his daughter Eda of the Swedish yacht Trusty for drinks, and in return received lots of advice about anchorages on our way south, as well as diagnosing a fault in our engine starting switch. Jan and Ellie, the OCC port officers for Bergen, also came on board, and they invited us to visit their home at Grimstad, a few miles to the south. We moved to their jetty opposite Jenny, their stunning Hoek designed timber yacht fitted out by Jan from a bare hull, and enjoyed a delicious dinner with them in their home overlooking the water. We spent next morning with Jan, helping him remove the outboard from the launch in his boathouse and taking advantage of a ride in his car to call at a Volvo Penta dealer for spares. As a parting gift, he presented us with us a pack of herring that he had caught from his jetty, pickled and frozen the previous winter.