Friday, June 10, 2011

Bergen: Rain, Rain, Go Away

The next few days are a blur of rainy and sleepy. We got up every day before 6 a.m., an unheard of state-side event for us. And we went to bed after midnight. Consequently I was hit with an overwhelming desire to nap every afternoon and I felt completely justified by the relentless cold drizzle.

I had only packed two pairs of jeans and two sweaters, so I was frustrated by my wardrobe, especially the fact that the only close-toed shoes I had were my running sneakers and some dangerous high heeled boots.

Frustration turned to rainy day blues and by the second morning when Kip left for his work conference I laced up and ran up, nearly 1,000 feet through Bergen neighborhoods to a Floyan mountain trail with steep switchbacks.

As I ran up in my running shorts, the only running pants I own, the weather changed into a cold, whipping wind. Once I got to the top I enjoyed the cloudy grey view of Bergen below and turned around. I ran back home faster than I have ever descended a hill, hit the shower and went back to my napping.

But to be fair there were some highlights those first few days.

The first day that Kip and I were there we explored the city and found the fish market. We sampled everything the fishermen were offering, smoked salmon, smoked mackerel. Everything was expensive, but Kip discovered that because the mackerel was in abundance and less interesting to tourist, it was also a relative bargain. We picked up several pieces for a fraction of what we paid at the restaurant the first night.
Kip and the fish market

"Kipper" snacks, smoked mackerel, crackers and Norwegian cheese.... yummy budget food
 The sun also broke that first afternoon and we rode Bergen’s famous Floyan Funicular up the mountain. The top of the mountain is covered in beautiful hiking trails, so we enjoyed exploring that too. It was our first real glimpse into how extraordinarily beautiful this country is.
The Floibanen up Mount Floyen is an interesting piece of engineering. This steep little railway uses the counter balance of two cars to pull it up 320 meters in a few minutes.

Kip loves trains and trams and everything like it. I love watching him love them.

View of Bergen and it's fjord from the top

Kip and the fjord below

Looking down on Bergen

It's finally clear in Bergen, but it is cold. I was so glad I had brought my winter jacket. It was an afterthought that I stuffed it into my suitcase. I am so glad I did.

The top of Mount Floyen is the trail head for several mountain hikes. We took a couple easy ones, but we saw serious backpackers heading into the woods with camping gear. In Norway it is legal to camp almost anywhere you want, as long as you leave things the way you found them.

Drinking from a $5 water bottle. I reused it all week. Norway has some tasty tap water. I think some of our bottled water here in the US is just Norwegian tap water.

And I had been praying Psalm 23: Lead me beside still waters. When I saw this mountain top lake I smiled. Still indeed.

This is a ceder lined port-o-potty. It's beautiful and smells like a hamster cage.

I just like taking pictures of him. He looks like he belongs here.

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