When we began brainstorming places to visit on our trip, Jeff placed Norway at the top of his list. Because we wanted to visit in the summer when we could take full advantage of all there is to do outdoors while the weather was still pleasant, we decided it would be a good place to begin our travels. We took off from San Francisco on a Monday afternoon after spending a lovely weekend with friends.
We landed in Bergen after midnight on Tuesday and made it to our Airbnb around 1:00 am, during one of the few hours that it’s dark here during the summer months. We got off the bus and blindly began walking through the brick streets, hoping to find a vague address listed online in the cold, dark, rain. At this moment, we were both a bit worried about what we had gotten ourselves into. But when we ventured into town the next morning and saw the lush mountain side surrounding the wharf, Jeff remarked that this was exactly what he had pictured when he envisioned our trip to Norway.
However, I don’t know if either of us imagined quite this much rain! A joke is told in Bergen about a tourist asking a local boy if it ever stops raining. “I don’t know,” replies the boy, “I’m only twelve.” It is a harsh contrast to the drought we’ve had in California for the past few years. Water here is plentiful and it comes in many forms – rain, waterfalls, lakes, fjords, ocean…and everything here is so lush and green.
During our quick stay here, we became used to the sound of rain tapping on our roof, and we quickly realized that if we were going to see the city at all we’d have to pile on our rain gear and get outside.
Once you look past all the rain, Bergen really is a lovely place. It is colorful and charming, and it is filled with nice architecture as well as a breathtaking landscape. Known mostly as a fishing port, the fjord that juts into town is lined with boats going out to fish for salmon and street stands offering the day’s catch. We walked to Bryggen, the old wharf on the fjord, and through the famous fish market where we tasted salmon and chowder. We also braved the fog and mist for a hike up the mountain where we took in views of the city.
In addition, we spent our first days here getting our bearings, adjusting to the time change after twenty-six hours of travel, and beginning to contemplate our new reality. It feels strange to wake up without an alarm sounding before the sun comes up, a job to rush off to, emails to respond to, and work to catch up on. We imagine that this will take some getting used to, but in the mean time we are thoroughly enjoying this new, slower pace.