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June 3, 2013

Hanseatic QuarterOur next port was the city of Bergen, Norway. This is the second largest city in Norway with 250,000 people. It competes with Oslo to be the main center for trade, maritime activities and culture. We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day to explore Bergen as it usually gets only 60 days of sunshine a year and 80 inches of rain. If someone complains about the weather, the native Bergens say that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!

Bergen was Norway's capital in the 12th and 13th century. It became rich due to its membership in the medieval trading club of merchants called the Hanseatic League. German merchants arrived in 1370 and controlled Bergen's trade until 1754. Norwegian cod fisherman in the north shipped their dried cod to Bergen where the Hanseatic merchants marketed it to Europe. The wharf area or Bryggen still contains some of the old wooden Hanseatic warehouse buildings and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Life-size Statue of Edvard GriegWe took a short bus ride from Bergen to Troldhaugen (Troll Hill), the home of Edvard Grieg. Grieg was Norway's greatest composer and we toured the home and grounds where he lived. He spent 22 summers from 1885-1907 in Troldhaugen, soaking up the beauty of the area and composing many of his greatest works.

Stave churchNext stop was a visit to one of the few remaining Stave Churches in Norway. The Fantoft Stave Church is an exact replica of a 12th century wooden church which burned down in 1992 (arson). Once built, stave churches were slathered in black tar to protect them from the elements. The Vikings ornamented the churches with war-like, dragon gargoyles to keep away the evil spirits. Inside a stave church, the structure is that of an overturned ship.

View of BergenWe then took the funicular up to the top of Mt. Floyen, one of the seven hills surrounding Bergen. We admired the view of the city with its protected harbor before heading off on a nature walk.





To view more photos from Bergen, please go to Bergen Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Olden.


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