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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Details of my weekend trip to Bergen,Norway

Indian Bloggers
I am done about writing all attractions I visited in Bergen, Norway. This post provides some details about my trip planning, how I spent 2 days and things I missed. Writing this post as it will be useful for those planning  a visit to Norway.

I planned my visit to Bergen, Norway about 1 month in advance. As I started planning the weekends, Norway was on top of my list. My first preference to take a cruise to Oslo from Copenhagen one way and fly back the other way. But because I couldn’t plan in advance, all budget options of weekend slots on Copenhagen-Norway cruise were sold out for the dates I wanted. Only some very expensive rooms were available. So I had to bid goodbye to Cruise option.

Next as I was scanning for flight options, spotted a convenient Norwegian airlines flight from CPH to Bergen. Bergen is further up in world map compared to Oslo and is Norway’s No. 2 city. Round trip fare was about Rs 8000 INR, which was reasonable. Saturday morning departure and Sunday night return- would give me about 1.5 day in Bergen. Definitely not good enough to explore a beautiful city, but I can’t hope for anything better given that weekends are all I have. For Oslo either flight timings were not convenient or flight was expensive. So I decided to visit Bergen instead of Oslo. Bergen is the highest point I would ever been in world map till date.

Once flight decided, I booked a hostel from booking.com- figured out one day stay is enough Saturday 2PM to Sunday 11 AM) and rest of the time I can spend on the street, without having to book an extra day. Piano hostel was the cheapest I could land at that time and it was just OK- full review of Piano Self Service Hostel, Bergen here.

Bergen trip was my first flight with Norwegian airlines. They are the only airline in Europe (as far as I am aware- correct me) to provide free in-flight Wifi. Aircraft is clean, flights were on time. No free food inside but rest of the journey was standard. (Read my comparison of 7 different airlines in Europe.)

As I approached Bergen, I was mesmerized by the beautiful landscape of the town- sample pic below and more pics in this post. I couldn't have enough of the city and couldn't wait to get on ground.

Once out of the airport, bought a ticket to town for airport shuttle bus (90 NOK or Rs 900 approx)- city is some 30 minutes away from Bergen airport. I asked driver where to get off for my hostel- he said "3rd stop"- that was easy. As the bus entered Bergen town, it stopped at few places including the central bus stand. My stop was next.

I got down- it was about 10.45-11 AM, still a long time to go for my check in time. I decided to explore a bit on foot right away.  As I looked around, there was a small lake with a fountain on one side and small garden on the other side. Some sort of exhibition was getting ready. This lake is called Lille Lungegårdsvannet and the area nearby is called Festplassen. This place is essentially the heart of Bergen town- lots of key hotels- such as Radisson Blu and attractions are around this lake and Bergen railway station is also close-by.


View of Bergen city centre from top of nearby hilltop is as below

I walked around randomly and saw this church- had to climb lots of steps to reach it- looked majestic from closeup- It was the St. John's church and unfortunately that day n time it was closed. 
View from the church entrance was nice. I walked down, was feeling hungry- wasn't sure where is nearby Indian restaurants, so went in as I saw a Subway. Asked the staff if she can make a veg berger- she made one. Along with a glass of sprite, it cost me about 60 NOK (600 Rs).
Next, saw this nice building and went in. It was a theater- called the National Stage.Unfortunately the had no English plays scheduled. Came out after having a quick word with counter staff there.


Next went straight to my hotel. Got early entry and rested a bit. Then headed out- few Indian restaurants I saw were not yet open (around 12.45 PM)- went to Bergen Havn, spent a few mins and then went up to Mount Floyen, enjoyed walk in the woods and view of the city, came down.

Had my lunch at Aarti Indian restaurant-at about 3 PM I was the only guest there and a proper meal (Veg biryani, raita, Mango juice) set me back by about 300 NOK. Norway is really expensive. Went back to hostel and rested. I should have stepped out and seen some more stuff- but I was bit exhausted carrying full bag (mistake one- I had to carry laptop, mistake 2, hostel locker was too small for a proper bag, so I had to carry it around.) Wasn't very sure what else I can see between 4 PM and sunset- Mount Ulriken would close by 5 PM so was too late for the day, theaters won't play anything English. It was raining lightly and decided to call it a day. Did some work and checked online what to do next day and slept early at about 7 PM.

Day 2- woke up very early, checked out and reached Bergen Railway station by about 5.45 AM. First train of the day was at 6.23 AM or so. Bought return ticket at the machine and waited for the train entry to open. Round trip ticket cost me close to 300 NOK. Few minutes before departure the gates were opened and we took our seat. Journey to Voss lasted about 70 odd minutes. I didn't know train stops at Voss for 20 minutes- else would have booked for next station. My Voss visit experience is described here.

Came back to Bergen, went to Mount Ulriken. Had option of buying tickets for their own transportation vs using Public transportation. I used public transportation (90 NOK unlimited rides for next 24 hours, unfortunately not valid for airport transport). After I came back, had just enough time to grab some lunch and leave for airport. Reached CPH by Sunday night and my short and sweet trip ended.

However, below are some mistakes I did or some tips you can use for your visit
- Norway in a Nutshell seems to be a nice program to explore interiors of Norway- they arrange bus/boat/train tickets. If you have a day to spare, check their package and try one. They have dozens of packages- one beginning in Oslo and ending in Bergen and so on. If I had planned well I could have probably used it and explore more.
- Check hostel reviews and ensure that they have proper locker facilities. Else you will end up carrying your load around, exhausting you faster
- Bergen card seems waste of money- I didn't buy it
- Indian restaurants open very late in Bergen- like 1 PM and 2 PM onwards. Plan your morning food accordingly.
- In many cities -like Helsinki, public transportation 24/48 hour pass gets you airport transport also- but in Norway it is not so.
- I missed the Cruise- should try sometime.
- Buying ticket to Voss was a mistake- could have gone further and used 20 min stop in Voss to explore the town. I could have covered Mount Ulriken on Day 1 and visit historic Flam line on day 2
- I didn't have a single unit of local currency. Could manage everywhere with prepaid forex card

This concludes my Bergen related posts for now. Norway, it was great visiting you. Hope to be back soon.

8 comments :

rupam sarma said...

Amazing photos

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Rupam

The wild said...

Used 20 mins voss stop to explore the town ?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Voss is a small town-just has a lake, view point, a church and marketplace. If you are tight on timing, instead of spending several hours in Voss, you can explore most of it during the 20 min stopover (it will be 20+20 40 min total- onward and return- everything is walkable from train station)

if course if you have more time you can spend a night here.

Rajneesh K Jha said...

प्रभावी !!!
शुभकामना
आर्यावर्त

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Rajneesh

Tanvi Rastogi said...

I was there in Sept. I absolutely loved the city. The colors and the views have mesmerized me forever :) My post is here

Looking forward to checking out your other travel posts.

∞ © tanvii.com ∞


Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Tanvi. Read your posts