Sunday, 9 August 2015

Searching for Wool Shops in Bergen and Finding Some Unexpected Knitting Along the Way. . .

Bergen was my favourite stop on the cruise.  After all that water and isolated (if beautiful) scenery, it was good to get back to civilization.  And it's a lovely city with its historical waterfront and buildings, and a bustling marketplace with the expanding city working its way up the surrounding hills.

Our first stop was the funicular railway that takes you up Mount Floyen for spectacular views.

There were interesting craft shops nestled in these quaint alleys, just off the main road towards the center of town.

There were lovely churches such as this one - St. Mary's - which is the oldest surviving building in Bergen, first constructed in the mid-twelfth century.

There were elegant statues such as this one of composer Edward Grieg who was born in Bergen.

And this rather startling one of Ibsen (I rather like its directness), which stands in front of the theater. Ibsen spent several years living in Bergen.

The main art museum, KODE, is comprised of four different buildings dedicated to different periods of art.

In every art gallery, isn't there's always a piece that's just a huge (they are always huge) square painted in one colour?

Sure enough there was a big grey square in the KODE as well, which I nearly just walked past, rather dismissively.  But there was something about it that drew me closer  This piece is titled Grey Writing by Heidi Kennedy Skjerve, and guess what, it's not paint.  It is one giant square of KNITTING!   You can see a close-up on her website here.  I was impressed; at least it was a different take.

No trip to a new country, especially one with a knitting tradition,  is complete without trying to find some local wool.  On the main tourist street near the old part of Bergen,  you pass a shop called Nilssen.  Their front window is devoted to displaying cross stitch and embroidery but I went in to ask if they sold wool and they directed me to the back and down a set of stairs where there is indeed a wool shop.

How could I resist getting a DK yarn that's called Peer Gynt?

I also picked up some silk mohair produced by the same Norwegian company, Sandes Garn.

A little further on, heading towards the gardens in front of the art gallery, I came across this store.

The store windows were a bit deceiving as they were filled with traditional Norwegian costumes and indeed the store sells the materials and trimmings to make them, but once you step inside, you are greeted with a wall of yarn.

With more upstairs!

They also sold yarn suitable for weaving and had some gorgeous samples on their looms. I was obviously too excited to hold the camera straight, darn it.

I could have bought out the store, but limited myself to three skeins of this worsted wool. 

I have to add that Norway is the best country I've visited in Europe for getting your tax back.  You fill out the forms as usual but especially on cruises, they have someone at your last port of call who will not only collect them, but often give you the money back on the spot in your choice of currency.  It's an extremely efficient service.  In my case I chose to have my credit card refunded and it went through in about four business days unlike the three months it once took to get the VAT back from a trip to the U.K. or the time it never showed up at all.  Which clearly justifies my yarn purchases even more!


Anonymous said...

Visiting Bergen next week! Excited to see you discovered some wool shops, I discovered your blog whilst searching for some online. Looking forward to being in yarn heaven! Thank you for all the info, very helpful!

Blithe Spirit said...

Have a good time. Yes, there are some lovely ones and a few more that I didn't have time to visit. Bergen is a really interesting town and very walkable so it's easy to get to the two mentioned in my post by foot from the old town.