Bergen is a beautiful city in Norway that if you happen to be cruising through the Fjords you are most likely to visit. We were fortunate to take the journey on the P&O Britannia in 2017 and found ourselves unusually in a dry day in Bergen!
Bergen is known to have rainfall on an average 240 days a year, it is known as the most rainy city in the world! So a dry day is unlikely for your visit - we got very lucky!
So pack your raincoats and umbrellas and head out and see this stunning city - here are some ideas of what you can do if you have not booked a tour.
Walk to Town
The ship ports close enough to the city that a stroll in is a pleasant introduction. A 15-20 minute stroll will have you in the thick of things in the centre of town.
Cable Car or Funnicular
If you love spectacular scenery Bergen offers two vantage points to take in the views. From the city centre you can catch a Funnicular to the mountain of Fløyen at 320m above sea level. Many tourists opt for this as you can walk to the Funnicular from the city centre - but beware it is busy!
An alternative is to take the cable car where you will get the most spectacular views of Bergen from a top Mt Ulriken - the highest of Bergen’s seven mountains. The cable car is a little out of the city centre so you need to catch a bus from the city centre right near the tourist information centre.
The bus journey takes you out of the centre of town so not only do you get to the less crowded mountain, you also get to see a little of the outskirts of Bergen as you travel to the cable car.
The cable car is a seven minute journey to the top which takes you to 643m above sea level. Upon arrival you can stop at the restaurant, let the kids play on the playground, do a zip line across the top of the mountain or just sit and take in the views.
There are also walking trails so if you have the time and are up for an adventure you could walk one or both ways to take in the views at a leisurely pace.
Visit the Fish Market
In the centre of town you will find an open air fish market showcasing the best of the regions local catch. It is vibrant and bustling offering tourists and locals alike a taste of Bergen. Try things like Reindeer hotdogs, Kaviar and of course salmon is plentiful and presented in a myriad of options.
See the Wooden Houses
Bergen actually has one of Europe’s largest collections of wooden houses and they are spectacular. If you are after some great photos of colourful houses and buildings this is the place to see and walk amongst them.
Whilst many fires throughout the years have seen these wooden houses disappear, the centre of Bergen houses Bryggen - a UNESCO World Heritage Centre - the old fishing wharf. The area is beautifully restored and houses shops and restaurants for visitors to enjoy. Just walking amongst these restored buildings is a great way to spend your day.
What did you do on your day in Bergen? Leave your tips and ideas in the comments for other travellers.
Itchy Feet Family
Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to have a great family adventure and there are things on your own doorstep that can create special family moments and memories.
We are fortunate enough to live in Adelaide, South Australia, which comes alive in the month of March for what is commonly known as “Mad March”. There are a myriad of activities that fill the city every night providing a plethora of entertainment options for all ages. One such highlight is the Parade of Lights.
When I told the kids about this activity they remembered a similar experience we had in San Antonio Texas where a central building was projected upon each night on a half hourly rotation depicting the story of The Alamo. If the kids thought that one building was great - the Adelaide Parade of Lights was going to take that entertainment value to a whole new level.
Part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival the Parade of Lights is an open air free exhibition projecting imagery, short film and laser displays onto the buildings of North Terrace.
Eight buildings along North Terrace feature in the spectacular each providing a unique exhibit captivating the strolling crowds of the balmy Autumn evenings.
A special highlight was the Northern Lights display where a mixture of laser light and a smoke machine provided a rough replica of the Aurora Borealis.
Given the distance between Adelaide, South Australia and Iceland, the art display provides a glimpse into the northern lights that many South Australians will most likely never actually experience.
The thing we loved about this activity is that it was free, we were outside enjoying an awesome Autumn evening and the displays were captivating for all ages.
We also opted for a pre Parade of Lights dinner in North Adelaide, left the car a little out the city and walked a 5km loop. A great option as it turned out the traffic in Adelaide at this time of the year is CRAZY!
The Parade of Lights runs from 8:30pm - 12am each night of the Adelaide Fringe from February 16 - March 18, 2018. If you are in Adelaide during March be sure to check this activity out.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
Fiji is full of many hidden gems and treasures and so it was no surprise on our recent visit to Port Denarau on a cruise port day we discovered one of them - the Thermal Pools and Mud Bath.
Finding a family friendly shore tour that provides a bit of activity is often hard to come across but this one jumped out as something we would all enjoy. Having visited Mud Baths in Nha Trang, Vietnam, we were not afraid of smothering ourselves in local soils and are glad we took the opportunity to do it again. Here are six top reasons you should try the natural thermal pools and mud baths of Fiji.
Upon arrival freshly made flower necklaces will be bestowed upon you as you enter past the serenade of the village’s welcome song. As tradition requires, an official welcoming ceremony follows with the Chief including an opportunity to sample the local delicacy of Kava.
2. Get away from the city
The thermal pools are an approximate 30 minute bus journey from Port Denarau. If you are fortunate like we were your journey will be commentated by an enthusiastic local guide. Our guid, ‘Mr Cool” as he referred to himself, enthusiastically provided a myriad of fascinating facts and stories about Fiji and the local way of life. The tour takes visitors away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy Nadi and gets you out into the villages.
3. See the Sleeping Giants
This part of Fiji is famous for the mountain range known as the two sleeping giants. The mountains literally look like two giants have just laid down and mountains formed in their shapes - it is a bucket list item to see. Whilst you don’t get up close to them you do get a fair view of them on this tour.
4. Cover yourself in mud
Honestly, how many times in your life are you legitimately going to have an opportunity (as an adult or a child) to take a bucket of mud and simply lather it all over your body. The mud is dug from the mud pool and put into large buckets and you simply go for it. Dressed in bathers you simply slap the wet mud on from top to toe and cover every part of your body. It is quite an unusual thing to do - but one I highly recommend. The sun then does it’s job and dries the wet mud into your skin so it becomes a full body mud mask.
5. Enjoy the thermal pool
Once your mud mask has dried you head into a series of thermal pools to wash and cleanse - the first pool was all natural you could feel the mud squishing in your toes beneath you - the second one man made with the thermal waters pumped into it for a warm and relaxing bath like experience in the great outdoors.
6. Finish with a massage
The final part of this tour, which was not in the brochure, was the inclusion of a 15 minute full body massage from the local village ladies. A great way to finish the outdoor spa adventure of being scrubbed and buffed to relaxation.
After being farewelled with another village song we shuffled back into the bus and headed back to Nadi to catch our ship home all buffed, primed and relaxed. The only downside to the tour was that we stopped at a shopping street on route back to the ship and the last thing we felt like doing was shopping in our relaxed mode of buffed bliss. However others seemed to be thankful for the opportunity so each to their own - we had a little nap on the bus instead.
Itchy Feet Family