THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE YOU'VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF

14:19

After a couple of years in the big smoke I was thoroughly convinced that London is the most expensive city in the world.  I also assumed when it came to the title of prettiest city that Queenstown in New Zealand had it in the bag. Wrong on both points.  Ladies and Gents, I give you... Bergen, Norway. This place is travel porn on a plate. 

Bergen, Norway

Despite knowing NOTHING about the joint, the blonde kiwi did his usual scouting for deals on Google flights (best search tool ever FYI) and found a great price for a weekend there so we thought we'd give it a whirl. I am so glad we did. I think it says a lot about a place when you arrive and the McDonald's looks like this. 


McDonalds Bergen style

I mean come on. Bergen is beyond quaint which makes it perfect for a getaway from London aka the land of zero personal space. It's also somehow the second largest city in Norway even though it feels like an idyllic little port town. The only downside as I've alluded to is the prices. Oh dear lord the prices. 

Although we didn't let it get us down too much... it's a lot easier to train your brain not to do the math when you're travelling on a foreign currency. Besides, when the food looks like this, what are you gonna do?! 


Happy meal at Cafe Bastant

This beautiful creation was from Cafe Bastant which I thoroughly recommend for lunch. We both ordered the 'happy meal' which includes one of their signature soups of the day (they brew two options each day and every day is different) served with an open sandwich of your choice. These are apparently half serves but we were stuffed... although not stuffed enough to say no to the brownie when a local came in asking for the recipe - salted, gooey, chocolatey heaven on a plate.

Salted gooey chocolate brownie

We went to the branch in Bryggen which if you only have short time in Bergen is where you'll probably spend most of your time wandering around as it's a truly adorable and totally unusual UNESCO world heritage site. 


Bryggen alleyway

The old wooden buildings are delightfully higgeldy piggeldy and we had to navigate down a narrow alley of other hidden gems to find the cafe.

Cafe Bastant

As Bergen hasn't quite 'made it' as a tourist destination yet (probs because of the price of beer) you're free to roam around without hassle, marvelling at how these wonky looking structures have stood the test of time. These are super super old by the way... hence the UNESCO and all that.

Bryggen buildings

Another must do in the city is a trip on the funicular (still can't say it right) where you get a birds eye view of the city. Weeee here we go...

The Bergen funicular

I think we nailed it with our timing at the turn of the season. Strolling around town didn't freeze my nips off and it was sunny at times but up the hill we were treated to a Winter wonderland. Serious eye candy.

View of Bergen

Having grown up on the sunny east coast of NZ means that I get super excited when I see snow. It's such a novelty, and in Bergen it felt like the city was wearing it as an accessory. At the top you can stroll around in the thickest snow knowing that minutes ago you were walking around on cobbles with not a hint of it aside from the slight chill in the wind. Amazing.

Ok so we didn't go skiing or exert ourselves too much considering the funicular did all the work but being in the cold gives you an appetite right? Back at sea level we were drawn to a market. I can't say what it was in particular but I have a feeling it had something to do with the GIANT PIKELETS!!!!... Oh and DIY jam. No big deal.

Giant hotcakes

The area we were in is called the 'fish market' area and it's quite a famous attraction for some reason. We popped our heads into the building but it looked to be quite a non event. Maybe we were missing something. Anyway, onto more important business like where to drink!

As you can imagine, the nightlife isn't exactly pumping in Bergen. In fact, we had just about given up hope for a cool bar when we literally stumbled across No Stress. It looked decidedly bogan from the outside but inside it was packed with locals, the cocktail menu was extensive and the bar tenders really gave a shit. Tom went for one of their signatures - the raspberry margarita and it was excellent. Not too sweet and fruity with a hit of spice to finish.

Raspberry margarita

I get overwhelmed by big menus and am always skeptical of 'creations' over classics so opted for my standard Negroni. Seriously was and still is the best Negroni of my life... so good I couldn't hold my phone steady enough for a decent pic it appears.

Negroni

After a couple of drinks we were ready to trial some authentic Norweigan fare and headed off to Bryggen Tracteursted. This place is in one of those historical wonky buildings in Bryggen. It used to be a stable many moons ago and as one old gent next to us delighted in telling me, the spot where I was sitting used to be a latrine for workers. Lovely.

Service was dreadful but that's kind of to be expected when you only hire one waitress for a fully booked restaurant. The food on the other hand was interesting enough. To be honest I was a little bit wonky myself by this time (see cocktails above) so my greatest memory from the meal was the little pots of garlic butter.

Norweigan tapas

The menu is supposed to be like Norweigan tapas so we ordered a bunch of small dishes. Which was lucky cause they were really small. Most of it was cured fish and odd dips. Also, please please don't hate me but I ate whale. Ok it's out there. For the record it's the purpley stuff in the top right of this pic and I felt awful. The menu said it was sustainable and it seemed like a foodie experience so we did it. Never again.

Oh yeah and then we ordered sardines thinking they'd be a bit fancy or different in Norway. Yeah, nah. Top points for presentation right?

Sardines in a can

So not the most amazing meal but yeah, pots of garlic butter so not all bad. I took a lot of pics of said condiment in my hazy 'I LOVE THIS' state but they're really not worth sharing.  It was butter. In a pot.

The next day we had time for a fjord cruise which is the number one thing to do in Bergen. Here is why.

Fjord cruise Norway

I have never seen such natural beauty in my life which makes me think I need to explore more of my home country when we eventually make it back there. Also cracking through the ice was incredibly satisfying for some reason. LOOK AT THIS.

Ice cracks

We booked through a company called Rodne and they were good - it's a bit crowded and cold but totes worth it for the selfies right?

Bergen selfie

Cheers Bergen. You were more than just a pretty face.

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