Bergen Tall Ships 2014 “Parade of Sails”

This morning and early afternoon, Jan and I went into Bergen to watch the Tall Ships leave the harbor and begin their “Parade of Sails” as they gathered for the next leg of their race, this time to Esbjerg, Denmark.

The weather was gorgeous … to begin with. And then the skies darkened a bit, the wind picked up, and the rain moved in. We were soaked by the time we left, but that kind of fits the idea of being on one of the beautiful ships and experiencing the wind-and-sea-water splash to your face, doesn’t it?

We began the day on the opposite side of the Harbor from where I was on Wednesday, in the same spot I took my photo for my “paintings and photographs – Bergen” post:

July 27, 2014 - Tall Ships "Parade of Sails"

My perspective!

We were there for about thirty minutes. Although none had their sails up yet, it was exciting to be so close to the ships as they passed.


After feeling up-close-and-personal, we moved to Nordnesparken (standing here), where we could see the ships further out in Byfjorden after they had left the Harbor:

July 27, 2014 - Tall Ships "Parade of Sails"

A few of the Tall Ships, and many pleasure boaters, military frigates, fire and police boats, and other official harbor boats out in Byfjorden.

From my vantage point, I could see families gathered in the warm sunshine: swimming, grilling, taking photos. I watched the waves hit the area after a larger ship had passed by. And I saw it empty out as the rain began to fall.


To my right, with Sandviken in the background, I could see the ships as they left the Harbor and entered Byfjorden, some with full or partial sails flying in all their glory, a few with their crew standing at the railings, one with the crew singing a sea chanty, and all of them proud and beautiful.


Out in the fjord, as the rain moved in the clarity of the far-away ships disintegrated even more than the rain-fuzzy details of the ships as they left the harbor … but I was still fairly pleased with the photos I captured during the two hours we were there.


And then it was time to slosh our way back to our car … except I kept stopping to grab “just one more!!!!”


Our ride home took us out of the rain to beautiful sun … but the rain clouds followed us, and I captured one lone sailboat on our fjord, doing its own version of “Parade of Sails” as the rain clouds bore down.

July 27, 2014 - Tall Ships "Parade of Sails"


(Obviously I wasn’t entirely truthful at the end of my last post when I wrote “Next up: a post featuring the Statsraad Lemkuhl.” That one is coming soon — but I decided that this one is more timely and exciting!)

The Tall Ships Races 2014: Wednesday and Thursday in Bergen

The Tall Ships Races 2014 is in Bergen!

These beautiful sailing ships raced from Harlingen, The Netherlands to Fredrikstad, Norway from July 3rd through 6th. My blogging friend Dina was invited to join the ships out of Fredrikstad as they began the leisurely leg of the Tall Ships experience towards Bergen. She has a wonderful post with photos as they left Fredrikstad; it’s fascinating to see these gorgeous ships as they’re meant to be, out on the water. Go ahead and visit her (but please come back!) … I’ll wait. :)

The journey from Fredrikstad to Bergen was the “Cruise-in-Company” portion of the journey, with racing thoughts set aside and enjoyment of the sailing experience the focus. After several stops along the way, the ships were scheduled to begin arriving in Bergen on Wednesday throughout the day. Living almost an hour from the city, I tried to time a Wednesday visit to be there as a ship or two were arriving yet before the crowds descended (crutches, camera, and crowds don’t mix very well). Unfortunately I didn’t see any arriving ships, but two were in port already and I enjoyed walking around in the hot sunshine experiencing the market stalls and stages being set up for their official 5:00 pm opening, people-watching, and soaking up the atmosphere.

The Festningskaien road Stage and Market area, closest to the mouth of the Bergen Harbor, were almost ready for their opening concerts and crowds …

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

Walking towards Bryggen, I captured a few perspectives around me — towards the two ships in port, across the harbor to Nykirken with the little Akvariet (Aquarium) ferry taking visitors to the Bergen Aquarium passing by, towards the mouth of the Harbor with a couple cruise ships in port, looking down Festningskaien road just to the right of the harbor mouth towards Skuteviken, across Festningskaien to Haakon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower, and finally looking over the people walking in front of Bryggen …

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

The first of the two ships that had arrived: the Kruzenshtern from Russia …

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

And the second that had arrived: the Santa Maria Manuela from Portugal …

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

With only two Tall Ships in port, and the markets and stages still a few hours from being open, walking along Bryggen to the end of harbor while stopping to take occasional quick photos towards the mouth of the harbor and one towards the Hanseatic Museum, finding a place to sit down near the fish market, people-watch, and gaze out towards the mouth of the harbor was almost peaceful …

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

Thursday found Jan and I part way up Fløyen, looking down on the amazing sites in the Harbor. The photographic perspective is only partially captured in my images, but it was exciting to be up there “above it all” and see the Harbor from that angle. I loved the perspective of the masts peeking above the buildings of Bryggen while the sounds of the concerts on the stages drifted up our way.

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

And most excitedly — although they don’t show up very clearly — from our vantage point we saw two of the three Norwegian ships scheduled to arrive on Thursday as they were in Byfjorden and approaching the Harbor. Our perspective showed them accompanied by hundreds of smaller boats dotting the waters around them. It’s difficult to see, but my husband thinks they were the Christian Radich and the Sørlandet.

July 24, 2014 - Tall Ships Races 2104 in Bergen

It was a magical glimpse for us!

It looks to be a fairly busy weekend and I’m not sure we’ll be able to get back to Bergen … but I hope so, as I’d really like to see the “Parade of Sail” as the ships leave the harbor on Sunday!

Next up: a post featuring the Statsraad Lemkuhl. An integral part of Bergen, I’m fascinated with her history, her part of the Bergen Maritime Museum, her place in the Tall Ships Race, and my observations of her over the years. For a landlubber suburban girl from the U.S., she completely captivates me!

Bergen Maritime Museum: What was found in the Bergen Harbor?

Jan and I visited the Bergen Maritime Museum on July 12th. I wrote about the medieval and Viking boat section … and just after that I discovered a small display. Vågen: En komplisert kultur skatt (The Harbor: A complex cultural treasure) was a modest exhibit tucked against the windows, and it really grabbed my attention. Once home, my English searches didn’t turn up anything about it, so I asked my husband to help me find more information in Norwegian. He found two sources for me, one on the Norwegian-language section of the museum’s website, and one an extensive document detailing the underwater exploration of the Bergen Harbor.

A little background, paraphrased/translated from the Museum’s “Maritime archeology in the harbor” page (any incorrect information because of lousy translating is all on me!):

A comprehensive project from 2009 – 2010 organized by the Municipality of Bergen, the main goal of exploring was to acquire knowledge about the extent of cultural heritage in the Bergen harbor.

There were five different methods used that illuminated different aspects of the seabed:

- Acoustic surveys (Using soundwaves provided an overview. It didn’t tell what was on the bottom, but what should be investigated.)

- Filming (The camera-equipped ROV — remotely operated vehicle — filmed the seabed. This was an overview, showing areas with concentrations of discovery.)

- Sediment Columns (Drilled samples or sediment columns showed the thickness and layering of the seabed.)

- Diving (Findings on the seabed were described and evaluated by archaeologists.)

- Sample Quilting (Archaeologists dug pits on the seabed and documented what they found. This was the most time consuming and expensive method.)

On that webpage are three images. The top one shows the ROV heading into the harbor for filming of the seabed, with Haakon’s Hall and Rozenkrantz tower glowing and reflecting in a perfect compliment and contrast to the vehicle’s lights. The second image shows the computer monitors of the three cameras located on the ROV, and captures a moment when an old clay pipe is discovered. The third image shows the handles of a pot that was common cookware from the 1400′s.

Also on that webpage is a fifty second video of the remotely operated vehicle’s journey through the Harbor. The video shows the seabed, old shards of pottery, a modern beer can, and — at the very end — the top part of a grindstone. The video can’t be embedded in a separate website, but you can see it here.

If you’re interested in more, this is a 226 page document that takes a while to open but is full of fascinating info. It is of course written in Norwegian, but just scanning through the interesting photos, images, and maps tells a complete story of painstaking preliminary research and detailed analysis before any of the artifacts were disturbed.

And this brings me to the exhibit! A few images:

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Harbor underwater exploration

The perfect choice for the poster:
that fantastic ROV/Haakon’s Hall/Rozenkrantz tower/Bergen Harbor image
by Halvor Mohn.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Harbor underwater exploration

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Harbor underwater exploration

Wooden artifacts, and bone and antler remnants, were part of the display.
Once removed from the preserving conditions of the sediments,
they are kept in water to avoid damage.
These artifacts will be treated by professional conservators.

The shopping cart was interesting to see how its time underwater affected it … but it’s modern. I stood looking at the small wooden, bone, and metal artifacts (and the pottery that I didn’t take photos of) and thought about their history. Many have been dated to more than a thousand years ago.

I wonder: How did they end up in the harbor? Were they from the local environment, or did they get washed down from the mountains that surround Bergen — or from further north, making their way through the fjords and ocean currents?

(And, wouldn’t this make a great setting for a James Michener-like novel?)

Bergen Maritime Museum: a peek at medieval and Viking water transportation

Jan and I visited the Bergen Maritime Museum (Bergens Sjøfartsmuseum) a week ago — the first time for me, and something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while now. It lived up to my expectations!

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

The entrance to the museum, located in the heart of the University of Bergen.

Quoting from their brochure: It is the aim of Bergen Maritime Museum to provide a survey of the development of our shipping expertise from ancient times right up to the present day.

Covering two floors, it’s fairly extensive and quite interesting! We spent a lot of time looking over several specific eras in history, and with this post I thought I’d share a few images and words about the oldest vessels from Norway.


Rock carvings and Logboats

From their website: Our very oldest Scandinavian vessels are known to us from pictorial sources i.e. rock carvings, and from finds of boats and parts of boats.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

A recreation of a Bronze age rock carving from Skjeberg, in the southeastern part of Norway.

Quoting from the display: Logboats are vessels made of hollowed logs and have been used at all times world-wide in places like the Amazon, Nigeria and Scandinavia. In Nordic stone age, logboats were used as means of transportation and for fishing. The oldest proven logboat in Norway dates back to 200-100 B.C. … Logboats have been used in rivers and lakes in Norway as late as the 20th century.

The exhibited logboat was found in 1960 by the shallow lake Solsevaten … in Hardanger. The logboat is dated back to 1400 – 1430. It is flat-bottomed and probably made of a pine trunk. The boat may have been used in connection with fishing and mountain dairy.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

Logboat from the early 1400′s.


The Kvalsund boat

Quoting from the display: In 1920 two boats were found in a bog in the northwestern part of Norway. The largest, which was 18 meters long, is exhibited in model here. There is no trace of mast or mast step, so the boat probably had no sail. The vessel is precursor to the Viking-ship.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

Kvalsund boat, the precursor to the Viking ships.


Boathouse reconstruction

Quoting from the display: Reconstruction of the boathouse from ca. 500 A.D. on the basis of excavation at Stord shipyard property in winter 1956 … The ship is a replica of the Kvalsund boat.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

A boathouse reconstruction, with a replica of the Kvalsund boat.


The Oseberg Ship

Quoting from the display: The Oseberg ship was found in a large burial mound at the Slagen farm in Vestfold and excavated in 1904. The ship was built around 815 – 820 A.D. and had been used as a sailing vessel for many years before it was put to use as a burial ship for a prominent woman who died in 834. The woman was placed in a burial chamber in the aft section of the ship. Next to lay the body of another woman, possibly a servant, as well as her most valuable possessions.

The ship, built of oak, was 22 meters long and 5 meters wide. The 12 strakes were secured with iron nails. The ship was designed for both rowing and sailing. With a square sail of about 90 sq. meters it could reach speeds of over 10 knots. The top strake had 15 oar holes. A full set of oars was included in the grave furnishings. The crew probably sat on their ship’s chests. The Oseberg ship was in all probably intended to be used as a royal pleasure vessel for sailing along the coast. Both the prow and stern of the vessel are finely carved in the characteristic “Animal style”.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

A model of the Oseberg Viking Ship; the original is in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.
Visit their website to find out the intricate and complicated path of
discovery, excavation, and restoration of this unique piece of history.


Keel from a Viking ship

The keel from a Viking ship, found at Bremanger in Sogn og Fjord, Norway, is stretched out under the display case. It’s a unique piece and an interesting glimpse into the heart of a powerful ship.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

The keel from a Viking ship.



An amazing find — an anchor from ca. 800 A.D, found in Nordland, Norway. Can you image what it took for builders of that time to envision and create this?

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

An anchor from the beginning of the 9th century.



The central mast support from a Viking ship; with primitive tools (to our 21st Century eyes), the mast was wedged firmly in place. I stood there and imagined the force of the wind, waves, and water … and it all held together.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

The central mast support from a Viking ship.


Frame timber reconstruction

Reconstructed frame timber section of a Nordic medieval ship, with an original 4.5 meter long deck-beam. The beam was excavated at Bryggen in Bergen.

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum

Reconstruction of a part of a Nordic medieval ship.


I found this map showing the locations of the major Viking ship finds interesting … and the graphic of Norway’s explorations by ship fascinating!

July 12, 2014 - Bergen Maritime Museum


I’ve enjoyed wandering through museums all over the world, but this is the first time I’ve been to a ship museum. Because of my joy in discovering aspects of history I’ve previously overlooked, plus living in an area where water dominates all aspects of life … well, this part of the Bergen Maritime Museum was an intriguing glimpse for me into the very beginnings of the ancient Norwegian’s adapting to their world. Over the next few weeks I’ll share other aspects of our time at the museum.

From my Archives: the weather

(I’ve lived in this amazing country for seven years. Buried in my blog’s Archives are many emotions and experiences from my first years as an expatriate. I’d like to let them see the light again! So, on occasional Fridays, I’ll share my favorites in a “Flashback Friday” type of reblog format.)

We’re expecting a gorgeous weekend in our part of the world. I’m headed out to wash off the outdoor furniture from the past few days’ weather mess so we can soak up the sunshine moments … but first, I thought I’d share an opposite (but still enjoyable, for me!) weather pattern.

I’d never lived near mountains before moving here, and the mountain-affected weather patterns fascinated me. My first four weeks in Norway are a distant memory, but rereading my thoughts reminds me of the wonder of it all!

the weather
Februrary 4, 2007

“You are moving WHERE? In January?? Are you crazy? It’s COLD there!”

“Yes, but I like it cold. I like snow. I have more energy during the winter. The shorter days don’t bother me. But of course, ask me again in a year and I’ll let you know how I feel after experiencing my first Norwegian winter!”

Versions of the conversation above happened between me and many of my family and friends in the months leading up to my move here to Bergen. I passed on my response in a light tone, but of course I have to be realistic and admit I’m a little curious, a little cautious, a little apprehensive about what a Norwegian winter will really be like.

[Read more]

paintings and photographs — Norwegian sunset skies

OK, that title is a little misleading. I was looking through photos to find one that is similar to a Norwegian artist I’d like to showcase next, and decided that, this time, Mother Nature’s paintbrush needed to be featured in one huge gallery of glorious color.

Presenting: SUNSETS

I find the thumbnails of color intriguing. Most are from the past year, since our view looks south and west … but a couple winter views from our five years looking over the southern part of the Bergen valley are tucked in there too. The date and time each photo was taken is visible if you hover over an image, and clicking them will open up the slideshow gallery with larger images.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for your remarkable and intense hues! And those paint-brushed clouds? Exquisite!

Does one image in particular leap out at you? I’d enjoy reading your thoughts!