Today, we arrived at our final port destination in this voyage, Bergen.
We looked out of our porthole to see that it was grey and overcast, and raining. When we emerged onto the quayside after breakfast, we also discovered that it was quite nippy; good job we’d brought our winter coats with us, then.
As the morning progressed, however, the weather changed. It wasn’t long after we’d set out for the town that the rain stopped, and by mid-morning, even the sun came out.
Bergen was quiet, but then it is Easter Sunday, so we rather expected it to be. Again, though, as the morning progressed and the weather changed, so the town seemed to come alive; Bergen, it seems, is a popular visitor destination on any day of the week, and at any time of the year.
Our main objective was Bryggen; an area of merchant buildings in the old harbour district that is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It charmed us the last time we were here, and it certainly charmed us again today. Bryggen is, primarily, a row of old wooden buildings along a section of the harbourside. Quirky and colourful, they become even more interesting when you go exploring down their little alleyways. Here, there are a multitude of galleries and cafes, but, more interesingly, there are also steps up to higher levels, with wooden corridors, none of which seem quite straight. Tracey says that it reminds her of something out of an old western; I always think that it feels like they’ve been built by boat-builders, and many of the locations feel like you’re walking through an old wooden boat.
We spent a long time wandering through the warren of corridors and alleyways, photographing the old buildings from every conceivable angle. We even walked around to the opposite side of the harbour so that I could take an iconic shot of the buildings head-on, with the hillside behind them. It was still quite dull and grey when we took our ealy photographs, but by the time we’d returned to Bryggen, after spending some time in the Visitor Information Centre, the sun had come out, so we had to retake all the photographs again, just so that we could remember the buildings with the sun on them.
A funicular railway takes visitors up to the top of the hillside overlooking the town. We didn’t do that today, but will probably do so when we return in October, as there are some good walks to be had from up there; a fellow passenger (the same one who we met on our walk in Eidfjord) tipped us off to them, and showed us the photographs he’d take up there, so that’s a definite objective for a future visit.
We were back on board the Astoria in plenty of time for lunch; all-aboard time was 2:30pm, for departure at 3pm. I have to say that the Captain has been spot-on with his timekeeping; we left at almost precisely that time, as we have done on each day when leaving port.
Soon after we’d left Bergen, I gave my second painting session; a tonal study of Briksdal Glacier, which seemed to go down well enough with another full class. Tomorrow will be my final class, on what will also be our last day at sea before arriving back home in Tilbury on Tuesday morning. We’ve been one hour in front of the UK all week and the clocks go back again tonight, bringing us back on UK time.
We’re now on the home stretch…