Bergen, Norway

I am ending my Viking Ocean Cruise narrative the way I started it oh so many months ago, with a photo of Bergen’s  colorful harbor houses.


What wasn’t apparent to me when I downloaded Viking’s promotional photo was that some of the facades were fake.  See the red and tan canvas coverings draped over two of the building fronts?  They are concealing  extensive restoration work currently taking place. What an ingenious way to preserve the beauty of the waterfront!


We had decided to extend our stay in Bergen for two post-cruise days.  Trip Advisor helped us find the Oleana, a wonderful little boutique hotel just a couple of blocks from the waterfront.  It was compact, but very well designed.  That area to the left of the refrigerator and bar, behind the colorful, abstract graphic, is the bathroom.  The graphic hides the more interesting parts of your anatomy from any viewers in the room while you are showering, but you can still smile and wave.


In addition to the delicious free breakfast, The Oleana offers afternoon waffles.  Wifi is free, the port is just a couple of blocks away, it is reasonably priced, and it has character, full of memorable art–see for yourself.  What’s not to like?


Bergen is a lovely town, but I was unable to fully enjoy it because I was very concerned about my main man.  He was badly bruised from the the spill he took coming down the mountain in Flam, however the worst part was what was unseen, and not discovered till we got home.  He managed to crack three ribs when he fell, which made him quite uncomfortable–no only for our three days in Bergen,  but also for the following several weeks.  Although we DID manage to get out and about, we were not able to explore to the extent that we had in other ports.

Normally, we hit every possible overlook wherever we go.  But not this time.  We didn’t make it to the top of Mount Floyen on the Floibanen.  Instead, we took short walks in the port area.

Notice the funicular at the top of the photo. Also notice how clean the streets are!

Fortunately, it is great place to hang out, full of little shops and restaurants, plus a huge outdoor market.  There is something for just about every taste.


For those with less adventurous palates, not to worry.  You can always dine in splendor at what our Danish guide called “the American embassy”.

Believe it or not, we passed up eating at Mickey D’s
We DID visit Starbucks. It provided the perfect shelter when we got caught in a brief cloudburst.

The outdoor market was quite colorful, with lots of flags and trolls.  I wish I could have brought this guy home with me.  I know two little girls that would have loved to have him in their back yard!


The side streets have stores with more traditional goods, just in case you are in the market for a new tractor.

Only kidding. This “super duper” store actually sells clothing. Sorry, I have NO idea why there is a tractor on their sign!

Just a few more photos from our rambles before we bring  our Viking Adventure to a close.

Bergen’s public art pays tribute to an important source of the population’s livelihood.img_2894

Another lovely, clean side street in the port area.
The lake and park near the port

What better way to sign off, than with a photo of two of travel buddies modeling their St. Petersburg purchases at our last dinner on board the Viking Star?


Why Blog?

Three and a half years ago, I discovered blogging can be a really great alternative to sending postcards.  No need to have the correct currency for purchasing stamps, no  searching for mail boxes in unfamiliar places, plus the images you share are what you have actually seen while traveling.

Blogging is far easier than emailing, especially if you are sending photographs.  I learned the hard way that if you send a photo in ONE email to multiple recipients, your usage is calculated by multiplying the size of that attachment times the number of recipients.  When you blog, you only burn through the MBs it takes to upload and post the attachments. BIG difference, especially if you are blogging from someplace without free internet or with a very SLOW connection.

My blog has become a way to stay in touch with my family and friends while traveling–to share the excitement I feel when discovering new places, people and cultures with those who, for whatever reason, don’t wander as much as I do.

I will confess to being concerned that my blog might appear to be too “look at me, look at ME and what I’m doing”.  I also recognize that my life might not be so fascinating to others.  Sometimes it isn’t all that fascinating to ME, if the truth be told.

Then I discovered other bloggers.  It took a little effort to slog through all those financial blogs to find the retirement ones focused on making the most of this wonderful and exciting stage of life!  And I realized that I thoroughly enjoyed how my new virtual buddies shared their thoughts, experiences, travels, photos.  I’m following a diverse group of essayists, humorists, travelers and photographers. That made me think that maybe, just maybe, others would enjoy my contributions as much as I enjoy theirs, and helped me get over my New England reticence.

An unexpected blogging bonus was meeting one of my favorite bloggers face to face when we both happened to be in San Francisco at the same time.  (If you ever wondered why any one would want to visit Antarctica, just spend a little time perusing her posts on Travelpod. )  One of these days, with a little luck and a lot of planning, Nancy and I will share an adventure that won’t be virtual.

Next week I’m off to Mexico for another Global Volunteers adventure.  I hope you’ll come along!