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Rain or Shine: The Enchanting Charms of Bergen, Norway

Hello, my friends from around the world. It's been a while since I last wrote on my blog, and I want to apologize for my extended silence. But I am back...

The past few months have been a whirlwind as my family and I relocated from Latvia to Norway, embarking on a new chapter in our lives and immersing ourselves in a brand new country.

Have you ever arrived at a place that immediately feels like home, even if it's thousands of kilometres away? That's exactly how my wife Leila, our daughter Ondeya, and I felt when we arrived in Bergen, Norway, on a sunny day, the 31st of July.

We had decided to make Bergen our new home because Leila had accepted a new research position at a local university here. After Athens, Greece and Riga, Latvia, Norway will now be our third country to live and work in.

This picturesque city, known for its perpetual rain, felt oddly reminiscent of two other places we had visited in the past: Cape Town in South Africa and Swakopmund in Namibia.

Bergen, it turned out, is a unique blend of culture, nature, and vibrant student life, creating an atmosphere that's both familiar and uniquely its own.

A City in the Clouds

The first thing that strikes you about Bergen is the weather. It rains a lot here, and for good reason. Nestled between seven towering mountains, Bergen finds itself in a unique meteorological situation. This city doesn't just have weather; it has its own microclimate.

As locals say, "There's no bad weather, only bad clothing," so don't forget to pack a good raincoat.

With that in mind, we decided to embrace the weather. Rain or shine, Bergen's charm shines through. As we strolled along the cobblestone streets of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site, we couldn't help but be reminded of Cape Town's vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. The colorful, wooden buildings along the waterfront create a picturesque scene, housing an array of quaint shops and restaurants that beckon you inside to escape the drizzle.

Bergen Fish Market

is a must-visit attraction in the heart of Bergen, Norway. This bustling market, also known as "Fisketorget," is famous for its vibrant atmosphere, fresh seafood, and a taste of local culture. Here, you can find an array of seafood delicacies, including salmon, cod, shrimps, and much more.

The market isn't just about food; it's a cultural experience. Stroll among the stalls, enjoy freshly prepared seafood dishes, and engage with local vendors who are often more than happy to share their knowledge and stories.

A Hub of Diversity

Bergen is more than just a pretty face; it's a city with a vibrant soul. This is not just a tourist destination; it's a university city. Home to the prestigious University of Bergen, the city's streets are teeming with local and international students, bringing a youthful and dynamic energy to the area.

The international community adds a unique dimension to Bergen's cultural fabric, which, along with the native Norwegian culture, creates a harmonious blend that's truly unforgettable. The University of Bergen is renowned for its research and academic excellence, and you can often find public lectures, cultural events, and exhibitions that are open to the public. It's a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the academic and cultural life of this enchanting city.

Nature's Embrace

Surrounded by mountains, Bergen offers nature lovers a paradise just beyond the city limits. One of our most memorable experiences was taking the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen. As the funicular ascended, the city's red, orange, and yellow houses contrasted beautifully with the deep green forests, while the fjords stretched out as far as the eye could see. This vantage point gave us a new perspective on the city, and it felt as if we were on top of the world.

If you're more adventurous, Bergen's proximity to the fjords and the North Sea opens up a world of outdoor activities. From fjord cruises to hiking the famous Trolltunga or exploring the Hardangerfjord, there's no shortage of breathtaking landscapes to discover.

Parting Thoughts

Bergen has a distinct personality of its own. It's a city where nature, culture, and academia coexist seamlessly, creating an atmosphere that's both welcoming and inspiring.

Bergen is not just a place; it's an experience that etches itself into your soul. Rain or shine, it's a journey worth embarking on.

So, the next time you're looking for a unique and unforgettable destination, consider Bergen, Norway. Rain or shine, it's a city that will capture your heart and leave you yearning for more.

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