One of the World’s Great Fjord Cruises and visit to a Scandinavian Town
People living in Scandinavia eagerly wait for summer to come. Bergen, a town surrounded by fjords on the west coast of Norway, is a popular destination on our Peace Boat voyages. Its lovely cityscape is quite peculiar to the Scandinavian region. In particular, the Bryggen neighborhood has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its colorful wood constructions, and walking through them will magically take you back in time to the Middle Ages. Additionally, cruising through the Fjords will allow you to feel the magnificence of nature, making this visit one of the main highlights of a Northern Hemisphere voyage.
Scenery that Takes you to Another World
With a total length of 204 kilometers, this is Norway’s longest fjord. Over thousands of years glaciers carved the earth, forming a valley later filled with sea water, deep enough to let ships pass through. These fjords, with their green hills covered partially with mist, provide a spectacular view. As if transported to fantasy world, we can see colorful houses in the mountains and many unnamed waterfalls that carry melting snow water. It is said that this majestic landscape was the model for for the setting of Disney’s Frozen. It is no wonder that people believed that these lands were inhabited by trolls.
The Nærøyfjord is the world narrowest fjord. While cruising it, the steep mountains closing in on you from both sides of the ship are breathtaking. Reflecting on the eternal flow of time that took thousands of years to make this fjord, you can feel how small humanity’s existence is, and be overwhelmed by nature’s impressive power. Once you have enjoyed the fjords from the ship, you should definitely experience them from on shore. The Norwegian Flam Railway is said to be one of the most beautiful railroads in the world, as it offers you magnificent views of the fjords from inside the train. Many tourists go to Flam, located in the deepest part of the fjords, to ride this train and enjoy the beautiful scenery from the window.
Strolling Around a World Heritage Site
The triangular-roofed wooden buildings lined up in the Bryggen district are a historic reminder. These houses, built using traditional wooden construction techniques, retain the atmosphere of city’s prosperity as one of the main cities of the Hanseatic League. The scenery created by these colorful and lovely houses is as if in a postcard. Once you step inside this district’s alleys, you will be transported back to the Middle Ages. The warmth of the wooden architecture will make you feel nostalgic, as if returning home from a long voyage.
Due to its charming scenery and historical value, the Bryggen district was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Merchants once used these colorful houses as their offices, and nowadays they host bustling souvenir shops, restaurants, cafés and art galleries. Norway is the home of trolls. Troll figures are popular as souvenirs and can be found all around the town. Even now, when something goes missing in daily life, people say it was mischief by a troll.
A Picnic in the Fresh Air
Walking through the lively area around the pier, an appetizing aroma wafts from somewhere. Looking for its source we find a market. More precisely, a 730-year-old fish market. The port of Bergen is famous for its fresh seafood, so you can’t miss going here. The market boasts many kinds of fish and fruit, including the famous Norwegian Salmon, and is alway bustling with activity and people. Being able to easily enjoy the local food of each port is one of the great attractions of traveling by boat.
After enjoying some delicious fresh fish, we decide to go to the local relaxation spot: Mount Fløyen. It takes just six minutes by ropeway to reach its top. Looking back from above the ropeway, you can see the Bryggen district and fish market in the distance. You can also enjoy reaching the top via a hiking course instead. From the top of the mountain, you can see the beautiful Scandinavian landscape around you. Looking down upon the majestic fjords, the beautiful old cobblestone streets, and the mountains surrounding the city makes this breathtaking view the most scenic spot in Bergen.
PHOTO: PEACEBOAT, Endo Kazushige, Kawano Momoko, Matsuda Sakika, Mizumoto Shunya