Day 5 |
Jun 12, 2011

Bergen, Norway

By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates:60º24’N, 05º18’W
Weather: Overcast, clearing later with early intermittent rain
Air Temperature: 15C
Wind speed 16km/h North Easterly
Pressure 1011 hPa

We all had a wonderful night, with no movement or noise as we had docked the night before in Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, with a population of just over 250 000 people. We all had breakfast and were ready to go by 8am as we watched two mega ships come into port. We all agreed that we were delighted to be on the intimate Silver Explorer with only 124 guests as opposed to over 2,000 passengers on the big ships.

Today’s tour started in Bergen where we went for a walking tour with our guide Kees, who was from Holland and well over 2m tall so everyone could see and hear him. Kees was a fantastic guide who told us stories about all the buildings and statues on our journey. From walking through some of the narrow alleyways, we made our way to Bryggen, which is the old Hanseatic quarter and now a World Heritage Site. Kees explained the architecture and problems they are having with subsidence, which means that many of the buildings look a bit lopsided, giving it real charm. We could see how this area was once such a fire hazard, as all the buildings are touching each other and are all made of wood, so when a fire went through there was no chance of saving anything.

We then went through to the Hanseatic museum, which is the only house on the old wharf that has the original interiors and dates back to 1704, which gave us all an idea of what it was like living in those times.

After a bit of free time, where guests could go shopping or have a cup of coffee, we met up again to go on a scenic bus tour up the mountain towards the Fantoft Stave Church. When we arrived we took a short walk through a beautiful woodland filled with Beech trees before reaching the Stave church, which is an exact replica of the original built in 1150 but destroyed by an arsonist in 1992.

Upon getting back to the ship, we all had lunch in The Restaurant before heading off to a lecture by Sue Flood on the work she had done behind the scenes with the BBC on Planet Earth. Sue was a field assistant and photographer for this award-winning series and her talk covered polar bear mothers and cubs emerging from dens in Svalbard (where we will be in a few days time), Eider Ducks feeding under the Arctic sea ice in winter in Hudson Bay and Humpback whales in the Antarctic.

At 5pm Klaus, our Ornithologist gave a talk on the birds that we are likely to see on the voyage, with some spectacular photographs, just to whet our birding appetite for later on in the trip.

6:45 pm was our usual Recap and Briefing, where Conrad told us about the ice conditions in Svalbard, giving us a taster of what to expect and describing our options for two days time in Trondheim. Recaps were presented by Astrid on the Cod, which played such an important role in the history of Bergen, followed by Sue who chatted about Amelia Skram and Edvard Grieg, two famous personalities of Bergen.

To end off our great day in Bergen we had dinner in The Restaurant looking out at the beautiful calm seas and setting sun.