We arrived in Bergen by train. This was the last stop on our winter journey across Norway which had begun a week earlier, in Oslo. To simplify things (and also because the lively Whiskey Bar is in the lobby) we stayed directly the across the street from Bergen Station at the friendly Grand Hotel Terminus.
We were excited to see Bergen, and hungry, so we dropped our bags in our room and headed to Bergen’s fish market: Torget. We struck up a conversation with Stian (pictured above) who taught us all about the fresh fish lying on ice in front of us and encouraged us to try new things. (Whale carpaccio anyone?) He sliced smoked salmon seasoned with herbs and peppercorn, placed it on a strip of parchment paper and handed it over. It was a “best ever” moment for me; So good!
As we wandered around the waterfront it began to snow; large flakes floating down from the sky, landing on our eyelashes and our shoulders. When we were ready for fresh pressed coffee and hot chocolate we cut up from the water and into little Krok og Krinkel Bokcafe. We nibbled warm cinnamon rolls while selecting random books from the hundreds that line the walls here and took turns reading out loud. My husband censored passages from a quirky erotic novel which we all thought was hilarious. Our youngest son read a Christmas tale – in Norwegian.
Everyone will tell you that Bergen is charming and “make sure you wander around the old wharf!” We did. We loved the old wooden shops and houses and the coziness of it all, especially in the snow. This part of town is home to several great restaurants. Enhjorningen is a classic; great food is served in a waterfront dining room saturated with rich colors and maritime scenes painted with shiny oil. Bastant feels like a rustic lakeside cabin and serves famously tasty soup, which we appreciated all the more because it was cold. Brrrr.
My favorite restaurant in Bergen was a pub like place called Pingvinen (which means Penguin.) It’s clearly a well loved local restaurant and we fell into one of their booth’s like an old friend’s hug. We had a magical dinner. It was one of those evenings when we were all just sort of silly in love with the place, the food and each other. Tusen Takk!