Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bergen in the rain

Finally, a trip to Bergen. In all my time and travels in Norway, I've never visited to this city, so I was excited to take a speaking engagement in this city that is considered 'probably the best' in Norway. After a speaking engagement in Oslo Monday (where I was proud to have successfully navigated buses, planes, trains, and subways without a hitch), I arrived at night to a rainy Bergen. Bergen is famous for its rain, so I took it to be part of the experience. I checked into Thon Brygge hotel which I'd chosen for its proximity to the harbor area (and it's relatively lower price). My room had a view of the Bergen fortress, splashed with yellow light in the rainy darkness.

My presentation was scheduled in the afternoon so I had the morning to explore. I was not eager to spend too much time walking around in the rain, though, so I waited until nearly 10 before departing the hotel.

The first surprise was this boat, the Bounty, the same ship that was used in the 1984 film "The Bounty" which retells the famous story of the mutiny. It is Bergen for the week as part of a world tour. Across the street from the water is a row of shops. Do they look all crooked in this picture? They are! They're sort of leaning this way and that. I suppose they're several hundred years old and have settled and now it's part of the charm. Because they're historic building, I imagine they will never be straightened.

Walking around downtown was a treat. This city has plenty of statues, gardens, fountains... it's just lovely. I wandered through a fish market packed with salmon and some of the biggest shrimp I've seen. I wandered through alleys and park, all the way around the inlet out to the ocean's edge and back again. I saw a memorial covered with roses which I reckon was for the Ut√łya victims. I saw an art project outside of the art museum where children had created hundreds of sculptures from recycled materials and attached them a carpet that stretched across the road, across a pond, and up the the other side. I saw the cable car that goes up into the mountains to give a wonderful view I'm told, but I decided not to ride on so cloudy a day.

My raincoat served me well, but my feet were soaking wet by the time I reached the Engineering College three hours later. I changed into dry socks and delivered my workshop in stocking feet.

It was a good adventure, a fine walking tour, and it looks like a wonderful city to enjoy during a dry summer. I'll bring the family here next year I'm sure.

One more picture: here's a statue of boy crying presumably because he doesn't being spit upon by fish. I thought it was bizarre choice of subjects for a fountain, but it amused me greatly and so I suppose it fulfilled its purpose!

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