Since there’re so many cheap (and I mean really cheap!) flights from Poland to various places in Norway I’ve been really tempted to go back there one day. I’ve been there once before, on the youth camp back in 2000. We stayed in the random town of Porsgrunn which was nice and lovely and so on but still far from the best Norway has to offer. Sure, we went for a daytrips to Oslo and to the fjords and that was amazing but it wasn’t enough for me. Returning to Norway has been in my mind for years and finally 10 years after my first encounter with this country I found myself hitting a Norwegian ground again.
Our flight landed in Bergen pretty late in the evening, it was at the end of March so hostels weren’t open 24/7 and there were some issues with the credit card (that wasn’t mine anyway). All of that combined together made me and my friend Rena decide that we’ll somehow stay the night outdoors and check into the hostel we’ve booked before as soon as it’s gonna be open on the next day (that was at noon). This short weekend trip costed us a fortune anyway so we were really careful with money then. Actually Norway was the only country so far I took some instant soups with me, I always try to eat some local food when I travel but this time it was just too expensive, I prefered to book the trip to the fjords instead ;)
So, once we landed we thought the best idea for the beginning was to kill some time at the airport. We probably saw every single (interesting and not interesting) detail of it but it took us just half an hour or so. We irretrievably came to the moment when it was time to go to the city. It was around 11pm when we steped out of the bus in the city center, slowly doubting in our smart decision of exploring Bergen by night. It was Friday evening, the city was full of happily drunk people so joining one of the many parties was one option but despite the money and accomodation issues we really didn’t feel like it. Finding yourself in a totally new place and heading straight to a party may be not the smartest idea, imho. Plus travelling at the end of the winter season only with your carry on also doesn’t allow you to go wild in one of the city clubs. So we just slowly walked around the city, trying to discover its beauty hiden in the darkness. And we did some great walking then, covered most of the center with our footsteps. I fell in love with this city right away, no matter the darkness or not! I must admit I’m not a big fan of Scandinavian cities, it’s the nature that counts there but Bergen was kind of different. First of all I loved how the city has both mountains and water as that’s what I really enjoy in the cities. And Bergen’s beautiful wodden houses totally stole my heart!
But how long can you aimlessly walk around? Eventually we thought it’s time to sit down somewhere and grab a coffee as it was getting a little bit cold (I wish I had something warmer with me, apparently motocycle jackets do good in such conditions). We found one McDonald’s located in the main square and wanted to order just a coffee but were told that at this time (I think it was around 1am) they sell only meals and sorry but we can not get only a coffee. I mean seriously? To write we were really pissed off would be understatement! Fortunately just few streets down from there, we found another McDonald’s, small, crowded, located in a lovely old wooden house in the harbour.
So there’s one thing you should know about Friday/Saturday nights in Scandinavian cities. Everyone gets insanely drunk and acts crazily, it’s a whole new level of going out, really. Back in the days when I lived in Finland it took me around a month to get used to what I see each weekend, after that nothing really surprised me anymore. So I can say I was kind of prepared to what I was about to see in Norway and I even missed my crazy Finnish times a little bit! Sure, there were so many party people on the streets of Bergen but once we got to this small charming McDonald’s literally every single person was drunk. I even assumed the workers weren’t really sober. But in this happy drunken atmosphere we not only managed to buy coffee (which was the worst coffee I’ve ever had but I didn’t care at all) but also got free fries and were able to stay 3 hours inside, sipping this awful drink. At this point I was so tired that I was laughing stupidly and really loud at every drunk person falling down from the chair, so every 3 minutes. This laughter prevented me from falling asleep there and then. Also there was had a small crisis, doubting if it was such a smart decision to stay in the city overnight but there was no way back, was it?
Once the McDonald’s was closed we found ourself outside again, at 4.30am… The city was slowly falling asleep and there were hardly any people around. We came up with another smart idea – let’s climb the mount
Floyen that overlooks the city with its 425 metres height. After all we had nothing better to do and we knew before that the view from there was supposed to be amazing. The hike itself wasn’t that bad, much easier than I expected. Once we got out of the residential area the path (with lights on!) lead us up to the mountain.Only at the very last stage there was some ice left on the ground but it was nothing we couldn’t deal with.
After more or less 1,5 hour we got to the top of the mountain. And that was the most perfect timing ever, the sunrise was about to begin. If we had some doubts before (and we had, lots of them) that was the moment when we stoped regretting our decision! The view from the Floyen is pretty spectacular no matter what time of the day but with the rising sun it made an unforgettable experience. We have spent at least 2 hours, just siting there and staring at the view… It was a truly priceless experience for me.
Once we got back to the city we still had some energy left for a proper sightseeing! We checked into the hostel at 2pm but when we them fall asleep, with a short break for dinner, we woke up the next morning to explore the fjords ;)
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You may think we were crazy, there were times I thought so too, but now I don’t regret this night at all. Sure, it wasn’t easy, we had few breakdowns, the whole idea seems stupid but the view at the dusk from the Floyen mountain was totally worth it :) But I don’t think I’d do it again… ;)
If you think of visiting Norway or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
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