One of the most ethereal places that I have been to is Bergen in Norway. This is the gateway to the fjords and most people spend just a day here. But I would recommend at least three days soaking in its charm .
A spectacular setting of blue ocean, towering mountains and the rugged fjords, Bergen is a city that grew around its harbour. Bryggen is the historical centre of this maritime city- a picturesque Unesco-listed area of reconstructed medieval homes and warehouses converted in to shops and cafes.
We visited the Hanseatic Museum, an erstwhile office of a Hanseatic trader re- created with meticulous details. The house with creaking floorboards has dark, cramped rooms which used to be home to merchants and their apprentices. They resembled the cabins of a ship with space saving furniture and beds that were tucked away neatly behind cupboards.
I always try to get a bird’s eye view of a place that I am visiting...The quaint Floibanen Funicular hauled us 1050 feet in a flat seven minutes for a spectacular view of the city- the sea and sky in a stellar combination, the tiny houses like Legoland and the harbor.
We drove through the area called Klosteret with its ‘chimney houses’ which posed a great fire hazard. Since there was a law passed in the 1800s that all buildings should be built using stone or brick, many people added cement and stucco facades to wooden buildings.
Sandviken was a hillside area of steep streets with higgledy piggeldy clapboard houses in odd angles perched precariously. Some of these pastel coloured homes were more than two hundred years old!
The waterfront was home to a raucous fish market , the Torget, filled with tightly packed tents with benches and stalls with fish mongers in bright orange suits vending pearly pink slivers of marinated salmon.
Loved the beautiful tourist office which occupied the remarkable Fresco Hall at Vagsallmenningen, a historic building decorated by murals telling the story of Bergen.
Saw these adorable school children at the local Aquarium.
This city bills itself as: "A city with its feet in the sea, its head in the skies and its heart in the right place." I could not agree more!
TIP:If you go to Bergen, don't forget to pack a sturdy umbrella. And your raincoat. For this place has 270 days of rain in a year!