During the Viking Age from the 9th century to 11th century, Vikings from Norway expanded the power, sailing from Greenland to Caspian Sea aboard on the longships as raiders, traders, explorers and settlers. By the middle of the 11th century, Norway was unified and the Norwegian kingdom was established. The Black Death arrived in Norway in 1350 and killed about a half the population. Norway entered the political union with Denmark through royal intermarriage in 1380. Between 1396 and 1536 Norway was a part of the Kalmar Union with both Denmark and Sweden, in which Denmark was dominant. From 1536 to 1814 Norway was effectually a tributary to Denmark, named as the personal union Denmark-Norway. The tie between Norway and Denmark was broken in 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic War, in which Denmark-Norway was in alliance with Napoleon. Norway was ceded to Sweden and the two counties formed a loose union. The union was dissolved in 1905 following the referendum voted in favor to dissolve the union. Sweden accepted the decision and Norway finally achieve its full independence as a constitutional monarchy. Norway remained neutral during World War I and World War II. Norway was, though, invaded by Nazi Germany and occupied from 1940 to 1945. Norway became a charter member of the United Nations and joined NATO in 1949. Norway maintains a Scandinavian welfare model with universal health-care, subsidized higher education, and a comprehensive social security system. Norway was ranked highest of all countries in human development from 2001 to 2007, and in 2009. It was also rated the most peaceful country in the world in a 2007 survey by Global Peace Index.
Blessed with good weather, I arrived at the port of Bergen ahead of schedule at 7 p.m. on 9th June. There was still sunlight at 7 p.m. so I went to the city for a walk without wasting time.
About 5-minute walk from the port, I arrived at Bryggen. The townscape was just the same as the one I saw on a sightseeing brochure. There were still a lot of tourists in the area. To start with, I bought soft cream. I had heard that Norway was an expensive place, and actually, one soft cream cost as much as 3.5 euros.
*DMC-ZS10/TZ20 records images in max.14-megapixel and DMC-ZS7/TZ10 in max.12-megapixel.
Next morning, after dropping in the fish market to buy sandwiches, I headed to Mt. Ulriken. According to the guide, it was about 2km away from the city. Thinking it was easy to walk 2km, I started walking to the mountain. I walked on and on, and it seemed to take forever to reach the ropeway station. Then the road gradually got steeper, and it was when I came to think to go back the way I had come that the station appeared. At last, I managed to get the ticket and I could climb to the top of the mountain.
The scenery from the observation deck at the top of the mountain was so beautiful! On the mountain top, there was no high tree, only grass and moss grew. Mt. Ulriken seemed to be a rock mountain having little soil. Also it would be part of the reason that the mountain was covered with snow in winter.
As I had much time, I tried to walk the mountain trail for a while just for a fun.
It seemed a bit hard trail for hiking. At another side of the mountain top, I found a few houses. Did anyone live there? Or were they cabins for climbers to rest? The air felt so good! It was really quiet with no noise! A good weather made me feel somewhat hot under the sunlight, and the cool wind was so comfortable! What a shame I could not tell you in a nice way how wonderful it was! It was so nice that I wanted to start singing loudly!
After returning to the city, I visited Bergen Art Museum. (I took picture of it yesterday when I walked by.) Bergen Art Museum is the largest art museum in the Northern Europe. It holds many works of famous painters such as Monet and Picasso. Especially, it exhibits a lot of works of Munch including famous paintings. Everything was expensive in Bergen, but the admission fee for the Museum was 60 NOK (about 8 euros). Considering that you could enter all three buildings of the Museum for 60 NOK and that it had a lot of exhibits, it was not expensive at all. Bergen Art Museum was very good for art lovers.
The last destination today was Mt. Fløyen. I took funicular railway to the top of the mountain. At first, I thought this cable car was for tourists but it stopped at four to five stations on the way to the top of the mountain to transport the citizens living in the mountainside.
The observatory deck overlooked the cityscape of Bergen. For me, the view from Mt. Ulriken was better than here, but it was also very nice.
I enjoyed Bergen very much today. It would be nicer if things were not expensive. Today, half of my expenses were the costs for meals and drinks.