Our first choice for accommodation on the outskirts of Bergen had fallen through and we picked RiplegÃ¥rden Sommerpensjon in a bit of a rush. We were a bit dismayed when the guy showing us around proceeded to tell us not to leave our car up the road otherwise the windows would get smashed and about the drug addicts they had to throw out in the winter. It also transpired that most of the accommodation was taken by long term residents so, poised ready to leave, we waited to see who came home from work. As it turned out, everyone was very nice and, although in need of a good clean, the pensjon actually made a good base for our four night stay in Bergen and did, as promised, have a good view over the fjord from the balcony.
The first day we walked in to the city centre. I’m afraid to say that the supposed quaintness of the wooden buildings around Bryggen was largely lost on us and by the afternoon we abandoned the hot streets for the aquarium. Similarly, this wasn’t quite as fantastic as we had been led to believe. Perhaps we’ve just been spoilt before having been to places like Monterey Bay. Emma enjoyed herself though although mainly just by going up and down the stairs!
The next day we drove south out of town and took the short ferry ride across to the island of LysÃ¸en, once home to the Norwegian violinist Ole Bull. Once on the island, we made the mistake of starting out on a walk when Emma wanted her lunch. We therefore soon retraced our steps and joined the other families that had got off the boat and headed straight to the adjacent beach. After lunch we explored some of the footpaths around the island whilst Emma slept in the buggy. We didn’t make it in to the museum/villa – Christine went for a swim instead! You can take a boat all the way from Bergen to LysÃ¸en but it was nice to enjoy the relative peace and tranquillity of the island once all those that had done so departed.
For our third and final day we opted to take the funicular railway (FlÃ¸ibanen) up from the city centre. This is a fairly short ride but the view from the top over the city is very good. We might then have done the long walk round to Mount Ulriken but the cable car down the far end isn’t running at the moment. (We were later told by friends that the cable car periodically fails its safety test, the company goes bust, the owners buy the cable car again and do the minimum necessary to pass the test and then operate until they fail the next test!) Instead we settled for the short walk up to Mount BlÃ¥manen, along to Mount Rundemanen and then back to the cable car again. A very enjoyable day spent mostly away from the crowds.
Along with our evening runs up LÃ¸vstaken (another of the seven mountains of Bergen and located just behind our accommodation), these last two days were enough to transform our initial impression of Bergen in a more favourable one.