I’ve been too busy with work lately to post anything to my soon to become out of date blog, so here goes as my English friends always ask me what I actually do when I’m at home.
So what do I do when I travel home to Norway? Well after consuming several glasses of chardonnay or if I feel flush (Cava) at Gatwick airport with scrambled eggs at Café Rouge, I hit the duty free shops for tobacco for my dad/sis/bro and blended whisky for my dad, and sickly Baileys for my sister. Flying with Norwegian has so far always been effortless with very few delays (apart from in the snow storm last Christmas). Having an elderly dad who now only drives a mobility scooter and even that too fast, I tend to just hop on the buss from Flesland airport into the city centre of Bergen. It’s cheap at just kr. 100 (approx £10) and gets me safely into the centre of Bergen within 25 minutes.
In recent years, I’ve started to stay in a hotel rather than choking half to death in my dad’s flat from tobacco fumes. I like being in the middle of town, so my favourite friendly and not too expensive hotel is Hotel Bristol, which is part of the Olav Thon chain of Norwegian hotels. It’s clean and I always get the room I request (could be due to my old boss is Olav Thon’s best friend) and best of all it has a well-stocked mini-bar.
Normally I just dump my bags and then have lunch with my father (yes, I have two as my mum married my dad instead of my biological father – not really that complicated after all). After lunch I often do a bit of shopping at the Galleria, which has great selection of shops and is right across from Hotel Bristol. The shopping trip normally involves a call from my dad as he loves the food shop on the ground floor, but feels it is too expensive for him to shop in with his pension and all, so last time involved finding ready-made rice cream (traditional Norwegian pudding eaten mainly at Christmas), strawberry sauce (stop laughing) and napkins (Norway produces some fabulous paper napkins and I always stock up on those).
Norwegians are a food loving nation and loves to cook, bake and eat. All three categories describe my dad who loves cooking, baking (mainly bread) and eating. So last time I went home he cooked homemade meatballs in brown sauce with mashed peas and something we Norwegians call ‘almond potatoes’ (basically almond shaped potatoes, which taste delish).
As for sightseeing in Bergen, there are quite a few interesting places to visit like the fish market at the harbour known as ‘Bryggen’ and if you are not afraid of heights, a trip up one of the seven mountains in Bergen by train called ‘Fløyen’. My favourite walk is out to the Nordnes outside swimming pool which is surrounded by a beautiful park and a very popular place in the summer. Also, if you are heading out to Nordnes with kids, then the Bergen Aquarium is also a popular place to visit.
If you are the musical type of tourist, then a visit to the home of the famous Norwegian composer Edward Grieg is a must. The place is called ‘Troldhaugen’ and is approx 15 min drive outside Bergen. A lot of none ‘Noggies’ does not realise that the following tunes were written by Grieg; In the hall of the mountain king and Morning mood etc. Sit back and enjoy!
For the bonafide crime lovers, I can recommend any book by Gunnar Staalesen as I’ve read them all and I’m a huge fan of the private detective Varg Veum, so much so that if I had a son, I would call him Varg. Some of the books have also been made into films and needless to say, I’ve watched all of those as well as read all the books. Sad? Just a tad! And for those of you who are interested in film production I thought I might as well mention that my father used to have a production company called HOT International, which produced only ONE film with Donald Sutherland as the lead actor called ‘The long lost friend’. Sadly it ended up as a long lost fiasco and never hit the screens. Norwegians are not famous for their film production that is for sure! Saying that, I think they are improving like the rest of Scandinavia when it comes to moody crime like the ‘Troll Hunter’, which I fell asleep in halfway through the film as I got bored. Whereas the ‘Head Hunter’ by Joe Nesbo I can highly recommend, so much so I’m going to buy it on Amazon and watch it again. Keep your eyes peeled out for the new and hopefully fab disaster film buster called ‘Bølgen‘! Everyone in Geiranger’s worst nightmare!
There are quite a few popular places to eat and drink in Bergen and here are some tried and recommended haunts.
- Dickens Restaurant & Kontoret Bar – my father’s favourite and mine and we normally have at least one meal there when I visit Bergen. A fab place for people watching as well.
- Egon – my dad’s favourite and mine as I normally have breakfast there when I stay in Bergen and I can recommend their prawn sandwich or their ‘Chilidog’.
- Zaccen – where I tend to meet up with my brother for some God awful wine and you have been warned – wine by the glass in Norway is both expensive and tasteless. You are better off getting a bottle! Also any attempt of humour when it comes to buying a glass of wine like; ‘… at that price (£10 per glass) I assume I have paid for the whole bottle as well, falls on deaf ears.
Easter is just around the corner and I will be flying back home with Norwegian for an Easter Feast in April, so will keep you posted. 🙂