Saturday, March 5, 2011

Travel Photo of the Day: Climbing the Mast, Bergen, Norway

Norway has always been a seafaring nation and the charming city of Bergen is no exception. Boats and the sea are the center of activities in Scandinavia: sailing, racing, visiting boat shows and museums, boat maintainance and repair and just enjoying a day on the water. I visited Bergen in May 2005 with two friends as part of a trip to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Estonia. Scandinavia is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on earth, and Bergen won me over forever.

Bergen is a medium-sized city of 260,800, on the south-western coast of Norway, but it feels much more like a very sophisticated small town. The people are warm, welcoming and friendly, the city's public spaces, its homes and gardens are clean and well-maintained and there are many good restaurants and cultural outlets. The green spaces and parks are numerous and it is situated in one of the prettiest settings I've ever visited. The city is also home to the University of Bergen, the Bergen Aquarium, the Arboretum and Botanical Garden at Milde, Bergen Fish Market and Fantoft Stave Church dating from 1150). For spectacular views of the city, Mount Floyen can be reached by funicular and Mount Ulriken by cable car.

Bergen has a very cozy feeling as it sits in a sheltered cove, surrounded by green mountains and forests. There is a higher than usual rainfall in the city, but because of this, the city remains emerald green and filled with flowers for most of the year. The town is also home to Bryggen, the old wharf and a UNESCO Heritage Site.

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