Last month I was lucky enough to be part of a group of 10 businesses from Moray, the Highlands and the Islands who visited the City of Bergen in Norway, courtesy of Logan Air. For me, as well as seeing the beautiful city and what it has to offer, the purpose was show the people of Moray how quickly and easily you can get there for a break.
Inverness has regular flights to Bergen and the flight time is shorter than the one to London. So, for me being able to leave Elgin after the nursery drop off and get to Bergen by lunch time is great. The transfer from the airport is only 25 minutes to the centre and we were dropped off outside the famous fish market.
Bergen is steeped in jaw dropping history and everything is a short walk away. There’s a great atmosphere in the City and life is generally a much slower pace to what we are used to. It was refreshing to be able to take the time out of the busy lives that we all lead and embrace the character of Bergen.
The time over the next couple of days was filled with walking tours and lots of food and drink (including an Ice Bar!) and we headed on a speed boat from Bryggen wharf in the centre of Bergen to Holmen at Bjorøy to enjoy the world-famous Cornelius Seafood Restaurant and its 5-course dinner menu. This was my favourite part of the trip. We were welcomed by great staff and there was no menus – we ate what we were served by the chefs and they decided that evening what was to be cooked. Cornelius is the place that Erna Solberg, the Norweigen Prime Minister, hosts her guests, apparently.
The second day we spent sailing through the Norweigen Fjords and tasting water from natural waterfalls. It all felt a little surreal to be honest, as we were just over an hour from home! The weather was kind us to and the people were welcoming.
As well as enjoying the trip, an important part for me was to network with the businesses that I was with. From travel agents, to coaches, entreprenuers and ice cream manufacturers, it was a great mix of people with interesting stories. I have managed to connect some of our Chamber members with some of the businesses that I was with. This has been to help them overcome and issue or to branch out a little further. You can never under estimate the value of a strong network.
At Moray Chamber of Commerce we take great satisfaction in being able to connect businesses together for a mutually benefeical interest. I have made some great connections on this trip and ones that I would be able to call upon.
It is important to note the bigger picture when opportunities like this come along. Of course, I can shout about how great the city is, it is great! – See our blogs over the next few weeks for more details, and I will be back to visit. But, the relationships and friendships that were made along the way, as well as the learnings and stories from these people, are a strong part of the process.
I want to thank Logan Air for giving me the opportunity to go, and if you were consdering going to Norway from Inverness, I highly recommend that you do. Companies like Logan Air are connecting the Highlands to the world and we need to cease the chance. If the opportunity arises, we will be delighted to host Norweigens later in the year and show them all that Moray Speyside has to offer.