If you’ve been reading the previous posts about this trip, you’ll know that we completed our time in Iceland and are now on our way to the green hills and valleys of Norway. Before I start weaving the tale of our time there I want to pause a moment and pray for the victims and their families as well as the survivors of the vicious terror attack that happened on July 22. I pray that the citizens of Norway can grieve for their loved ones and move forward living lives like the peaceful beautiful people they are. I hope that the families are getting comfort from God and from loved ones through this horrific time. And I hope that all the disturbed individuals out there—whether they are Norwegian, American, Al queda, or the scum of the earth pedophiles who traffic kids—can find forgiveness and peace in their hearts and learn to love instead of hate. Okay, so thank you for letting me get that out. On to the trip…

We arrived Monday night (July 4) in Oslo and immediately had to figure out the transportation system because the rail lines near Oslo were under construction. In fact, a lot of Oslo seemed to be under construction. Some very friendly and helpful people led us to the bus that would take us to the other bus we needed to catch to get onto the overnight train to Bergen. We took a lovely ride through the countryside as the sun set and darkness fell. Yes, there was some darkness in this part of Norway—being a bit more south than Iceland. When we got onto the train, we had to carefully figure out how to maneuver in the sleeping compartment. I felt like I was back at camp or college where you have three feet of living space and tons of stuff. The space between the bed and wall was as wide as the narrow part of my suitcase. Amy slept in the top bunk and we had a very cozy night listening to the sounds of the countryside passing us by. Trains can be a very pleasant way of traveling. The ride tends to be pretty smooth and comfortable. A note of warning should you decide to take the overnight train to Bergen. The guy in charge of waking everyone up has a key to your compartment and he isn’t afraid to use it. Amy and I were momentarily shocked to see a very large scandinavian man looming into our little closet first thing in the morning. Glad we were decent!

It’s now 7 a.m. and we are getting off the train in Bergen and heading for our hotel. Upon arrival, we asked the front desk clerk if we could check in early. Nope. Okay but we can store our stuff and go exploring, so that’s cool. I asked the young man what the temperature/weather was going to be like that day and he replied, “Did you come to Bergen for the weather?” Whoa, smart ass. I don’t suppose you notice the very weary look on my face that just changed to the look that says, “Just answer my question you stupid brat, I had a reason for asking it and don’t need some jerk like you treating me with such disrespect—especially considering I am a paying guest in the hotel you are working in.” After telling him yes, we decided against Tahiti and the Caribbean and wanted to visit Bergen for it’s beaches and spas, I walked away to change into the appropriate clothes for touring the city for the day.

Off we went for a quick breakfast in a bakery that someone recommended. It was okay. Kind of fun to see the locals coming in before heading off to work for the day. There were several young men that came in and flirted with the pretty girl behind the counter. The McDonalds around the corner that was located in a very un-McDonald’s type building would have been fine with me. Just kidding—I don’t do that when traveling. The horror! So moving on, we got our hop on hop off tickets and Bergen cards at the visitor center and started the day. Passing by the famous fish market and its stalls of seafood, clothes, trolls, fresh fruit, and more, looked very tempting.

I got off the bus at the cultural museum and took a quick tour looking at the ancient Viking artifacts, American Indian artifacts, and some Egyptian mummies. An eclectical little place, and interesting, but I had little time to explore everything. So the hop on hop off bus took me around back to the downtown area where I got off to explore the Bryggen museum where they had an excavation of ancient lot where early settlers lived. Bergen (on the southeast coast of Norway) was once an international hot spot and the capital of Norway. The early settlers were smart and saavy players. After the Bryggen museum I strolled around the grounds of Haakon’s Hall and then went in for a look-see. King Håkon Håkonsson had the hall built between 1247 and 1261. It had very interesting decorations—these tapestries with what I would describe as kind of Viking hieroglyphics on them.

Feet hurting but the desire to explore overcoming the pain; I went over to the Floibanan Funicular and stood in line to take my turn on the train that took us about 350 yard up the steep slope of the mountainside. One of the things I was really looking forward to that I had to give up doing was hiking around and down the mountains here. The boot was helping me walk but all I could do was stare out at the scenery and down at the town of Bergen while doing some people watching.

My friends were on other missions that day and we met up later at the hotel. Before I headed back I took an ill conceived but pretty walk through town. Back at the Comfort Inn, I decided I had to stay close by to eat (no more walking) and had a surprisingly wonderful meal right at the hotel restaurant. I ate outside at a little table and just enjoyed looking out onto the European town as the sun set low in the sky. Nice.

So Bergen was a quaint town with some fun attractions. After keeping Amy up all night with my nocturnal chatter, we headed out of town for our next tour. Stay tuned!

 

Brygeen in Bergen. The Hanseatic houses line the wharf area.

 

View of the Bergen wharf area from the top of the funicular. McDonald's in Bergen. Not your typically golden arches.

 

The architecture in the Bryggen area of Bergen was very cool.

  
 

An artistic way of beautifying a sewer cap in Bergen.

 

At the top of the floibanan funicular.

 

McDonald's in Bergen. Not your typically golden arches.

 

 

 

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