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A Rainy Day in Bergen

storm 12 °C

When we arrived at our Bergen hotel we were delighted to be upgraded to a harbour view - until we looked out of our window...
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We are not complaining: we did the research; we knew the odds. We had read the annual precipitation accounts from the Norwegian met office saying... “A lot of rain falls in Bergen in the months of: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.”
With Hurricane Helene out of the way we hoped for smooth sailing, but severe storm Ali whipped over from Scotland during the night and stripped branches off the trees, slashed rain at our windows and knocked out the power... It reminded us of home. However, we woke to patches of blue and a good day to catch up on Bergen's history in the many museums. First stop – the Hanseatic Museum housed in some of the traditional warehouses that line Bergen's ancient quayside...
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Some of these imposing wooden buildings were erected in 1702 following a devastating fire, although many were destroyed by another inferno in 1955. Most are filled with touristy trinkets and reindeer hides today, but in earlier times they were stacked with enormous quantities of dried cod awaiting shipment in exchange for grains, textiles and other products controlled by the Hanseatic League. While many of the buildings have been reconstructed in the past 300 years the displays of dried cod in the museum are real enough...
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The Hanseatic League was a group of North German businessmen who, between the 12th and 17th centuries, hired a mercenary army and and seized exclusive control of all manner of trade in the Baltic and surrounding countries by treaties, agreements, (or sheer bloody force). The Hanseatic merchants dominated international trade and built great warehouses where their staff both lived and worked in an exclusively German environment. The owners kept tight reins on their businesses and men and the workers were forbidden from fraternizing with the locals. They had their own meeting rooms...
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and slept in cupboard bunks like this...
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The trading agreements were always in favour of the Hansa (an old German word applied to bands of merchants traveling between the Hanseatic cities), because they had the biggest guns and the most money...
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These traditional wooden warehouses soaked in fish oils were fire hazards and were eventually replaced with robust brick buildings like this...
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...before the league eventually collapsed when sovereigns and parliaments got fed up by being pushed around by a rich and powerful neighbour. (Note to Donald – history always repeats itself).

Norway has the highest standard of living in the world, (hence the highest prices), and, while much of the revenue comes from oil, fish is still a major export. The Bergen Fishery Museum is housed in ancient fishing wharves where we learned a great deal about the industry's history and today's salmon farms. Norway exports more than a million tons of farmed salmon a year and fish is on every menu here. And so, to lunch at the quayside fishmarket where the seafood rolls are stacked high with crayfish, shrimps and smoked salmon, ...
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And this giant monkfish didn't look at all happy...
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So far we have dodged the worst of two storms, but storm Bronagh is now on the horizon. Will we still be happy if the sun doesn't shine when we cruise the fjords again? Only time will tell.

Posted by Hawkson 03:36 Archived in Norway

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Comments

Wow!! Enjoying yourselves!! Happy travelling to both of you!!

by Jenny Jose

Let’s hope for smooth sailing through the fjords. We don’ want you looking like the monkfish.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Good thing that monkfish is smoked. On the scale of the photos, he could have eaten all five rolls! I am sure the rainy, misty fjords will yield some atmospheric photos. Look forward to the posts.

by Tom

Tornado warning going on in Ottawa right now and deluge of rain. Hope they get sunny Norwegian skies later like yours.
Those rolls look wonderful. My bachelor lunch today pales in comparison.

by R and B

That monkfish looks very scared, or very thirsty.

by Janet Vickers

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