One of the lessons that’s hard for me to learn when traveling is to pace myself. As one loyal blog reader pointed out, I may have set a record for museum visits, and yet all I can think about is the museums I didn’t have time for.
Bergen has some museums that are highly recommended in the guidebooks. I’m happy to say, however, that I haven’t visited a single one.
- The weather has been so beautiful that I just wanted to be outdoors as much as possible.
- Bergen is such a delightful city to walk around, I didn’t feel the need or desire to enter a museum.
- As I near the end of my three-week adventure, I realized I need some downtime, and I was happy to get that by sitting on park benches and just watching the living museum that is Bergen happen before my eyes.
I started the day yesterday with a walk. My original intention was to ride the Fløibanen, the funicular that goes up to the top of the mountain called Fløyen, first thing, but the morning fog (when I went out, I couldn’t even see the top of Fløyen) made me reconsider, so I wandered around the city for an hour until the fog started to lift. When I finally went up there, at 9:00, fog was still hovering, mostly over the water, but it was breaking up quickly. The view was impressive and added to my appreciation of what a charming city this is.
The name of the mountain, I read somewhere, may derive from the word for weather vane or weather cock. That’s probably not true, but I like it, so I included it in my blog title.
The Fløibanen was opened in 1918. There’s an excellent viewing area that was built in 2002. When I got up there, maybe a dozen people were enjoying the view. I went for a short hike to a nearby lake, and when I got back to the viewing area 45 minutes later, there were probably well over 100 people. The fog hadn’t lifted entirely, as is evident from the photo, but it didn’t fail to impress me or anyone else.
I couldn’t wait for the fog to lift entirely, because at 11:00 I was catching a bus to Troldhaugen, the house where Edvard Grieg lived and worked. The bus ride was about 25 minutes and included a bit of a guided tour through downtown Bergen on the way.
Grieg was born in Bergen, studied in Germany and lived in Copenhagen for a while, but ultimately returned here and built the house at Troldhaugen, which means “troll hill.” It’s a small and simple but lovely house on a hill overlooking a lake. The story goes that the farmer who sold Grieg and his wife, Nina, the land told then that the little valley was called the troll valley, so Nina pointed to the hill and said, “Then that must be the troll hill.” The visit included a tour of the house, most of which is still furnished exactly as it was when Edvard and Nina lived there. There’s also a small museum nearby (okay, so I exaggerated — I did go in to this one museum for about ten minutes), and the grave of Edvard and Nina are there as well, in a cave on the side of a cliff overlooking the lake. There’s also a tiny hut at the side of the lake where Grieg worked. And they have built a small concert space, with seating for maybe a few hundred people, where we were treated to a short concert of Grieg’s music by a Norwegian pianist named Joachim Kwetzinsky. He concluded with Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, one of Grieg’s most popular small piano pieces, written after a big party held there to celebrate his and Nina’s anniversary.
Mike and Sue, the couple from Balestrand (actually they’re from Salt Lake City) were on the tour as well. Afterwards we went to the fish market for a late lunch before we went our separate ways. I did a lot more walking for the rest of the afternoon and then got some groceries and ate at home before collapsing.
This morning I have a few hours to wander about some more before I have to pack up and head to the airport. My flight to Trondheim isn’t until 15:45, but I need to be out of the apartment by noon, so I figure I’ll go to the airport early and get lunch there.
I guess I have time to visit a museum or two before I leave Bergen, but will I?
See you in Trondheim!