Bergen, Norway

Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city, after Oslo, It’s the gateway to several very scenic fjords at Norway’s Atlantic coast, but it is a very pleasant place to spend a few days in itself. The fish is fantastic, my best salmon ever. There is a mountain with great views, reachable with a short cable car ride. Bergen is also one of Europe’s rainiest cities, but we were lucky and had sunshine throughout except on our way back to the airport.

Bergen had a large Hanseatic League (Hanse) presence. The Hanseatic League was a major, mostly German, trade network from the 12th to the 15th century. Many German coastal cities, like Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck, proudly cherish the tradition, and so does Bergen in its Hanseatic Bryggen neighborhood even though it was not a proper member. All the buildings here are original, and built from wood, following draconian fire safety standards. Tours are available, explaing the Hanseatic function and traditions.