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Monday, May 19, 2014

Bergen, Norway

Bergen, Norway

We are in the last days of our European sojourn before we fly back to the US. Tomorrow we fly from Bergen, Norway to London. We have one full day in London and then make the long flight to Phoenix.  It has been a grand trip, but we are all tiring and ready to be on our way home. We spent four full days in Norway, and two of them have been “lazy” days, where we’ve stayed at our Airbnb rental, slept late (as much as the kids will allow), done laundry, and watched the kids play in the garden.

The other two days here have been full tourist days. May 17 is Norway’s Constitution Day, and we spent it in downtown Bergen among the crowds of celebrating Norwegians. While I do not love crowds, the crowds on this day were fun to see. The majority of people were in traditional dress, and those who were not dressed traditionally wore their best clothes. There were many parades, people with flags, and lots of helium balloons in shiny-mylar animal shapes. At one point L1 pointed to the sky and said, “Look at the run-away horse!” and indeed, there was a balloon horse galloping across the sky.

Not everyone was in a party mood.

Near the fish market in downtown Bergen on May 17, Norway's Constitution Day.

The next day we took the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour, which strings together rides on trains, buses, and boats to give you a tour of the fjords.  We had a full day, getting up at 5:30 to catch the 7am bus to town for the 8:45 train, and finally returned around 6:30pm. All the grand adjectives apply to the fjords: magnificent, splendid, stunning, majestic, imposing, resplendent. The weather cooperated too, showing off the steeply carved mountains and smooth water at their best. L2 was thrilled just to ride train after bus after boat, and even L1 commented on the landscape out the window. We brought lunch because eating out in Norway is expensive, but we did have several snacks, including lefse and a waffle pastry, and which L1 kept mispronouncing, “Can I have another bite of offal?” (or maybe awful).

Bergen train station, ready for Norway in a Nutshell.

Sleeping on the train.

After two busy days and two kids a bit under the weather, we decided our last day in Norway should be quiet. L1 and L2 have played with the toys of our host family, and we found a playground hidden on the mossy slopes with a long slide that the kids slid down over and over. Now, only three more plane rides and three days before we are “back safe, home again” as Richard Scarry says.

Misty hike in the woods.

Favorite slide at the park. No ladder, just climb up the hillside and over the boulders.

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