Bergen, Norway!

After a long overnight train ride to Oslo (that we illegally climbed on without a reservation), we boarded our next train to Bergen where we took one of the most scenic train routes recommended in the world through the width of Norway. It was gorgeous. We were so high up and sometimes we looked outside the train windows and white snow was right next to the tracks.

We were riding through snow covered mountains that had waterfalls that were so tall. It was such a nice ride and we enjoyed very minute.

Upon arriving in Bergen, Svein our 70-year old host picked us up from the train station and after a brusque introduction in heavy Norwegian, he informed us we were picking up his house-keeper Fatmata, from Liberia who lives with him now to help with Mary, his wife who has Alzheimer’s. We first stopped by the grocery store where he informed Ellie that since we are vegetarians that we would be doing all of the cooking which was fine, but then Svein informed us that we would be making cauliflower soup that evening. Both of us looked frightened at each other since I can’t cook and even though, Ellie is close to culinary genius, she has never made cauliflower stew. He then informed us our stew would need to serve 12 people! He told us to get whatever groceries we needed for our 3 night stay in Bergen and told us that we should make a different meal for everyone the next evening as well. We decided on vegetarian chili and rice and Svein was kind enough to buy all of the groceries for our stay.
Svein then drove us to his private island right outside of Bergen where he had grown up since he was teenager. His sons also live on the beautiful piece of property but he told us that he never gets to see them that often because they are so busy. His home was cozy and he had a beautiful glass dining room upstairs with a stunning view of Norway’s natural beauty along with a pool inside of a bubble to retain heat. His place was pretty amazing.

We quickly looked up cauliflower stew recipes on google(thank god for wireless) and then went for a swim in the bubble pool. It was warm but not that warm considering that Norway is so far north and was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit in July.
Ellie began working on the stew, and later on that evening we were joined by our friend Leover and Bernadette, the Australian couple who we had previously surfed with in Denmark. We were so happy to see them again and it made the situation of staying in Svein’s odd house a little less awkward.

Svein is a very unique individual who really likes things done his way and it was so nice to laugh a little with Leover and Bernadette. We also met a couchsurfer from Latvia who was staying with us.; It was really cool to enjoy a family style dinner with people from so many different places. We had almost every continent. Fatmata and her daughter, Josephine who was visiting from Northern Norway but who was born in Liberia also joined us. So we had Liberia, Australia, Latvia, America, Norway and the Phillipines because Leo is from there originally. And of course, Ellie’s soup was amazing as per usual.

The next day, Svein awoke us with our first taste of Norwegian salmon for breakfast! Salmon in Norway is so fresh that it makes American lox look as ridiculous as American cheese. Svein was feeling a little stressed out because he was having a party the next day so he wasn’t planning on going into town. The bus was a little confusing and too far a walk in the crappy rain weather so we went for a canoe ride around Svein’s lake and island and checked out the other houses in Bergen.

one minute it was pouring on our heads and the next it was sunny. It continued on like this for awhile. When we got back we all ate some lunch and met Fatmata’s granddaughter named Precious who was 3.

She was staying in our room so we played awhile with her and took a swim with her in the bubble pool. Ellie began her chili and we had another nice family meal but this time we had a couple from Prague staying in Svein’s caravan so they joined us.

Relaxing in the living room

It was really nice taking a break from sightseeing and just relaxing on Svein’s island. The next day was party day though and Svein was having 40 senior citizens come to his tea party and guess who was making the tea? Yes, Ellie made about 40 gallons of coffee while I went to the grocery with Bernadette and Svein to pick out snacks. The party was kind of boring to be honest and a little weird because none of us spoke Norwegian and Svein made the Czech couple perform a song in Czech.

he was very shy and nervous about singing

Everyone HAD to chip in. Leover cutting a traditional Norwegian cake that tasted much better than it looked…

We were getting a little stir-crazy on Svein’s island by that evening and he was driving us a little nuts so we excited to pack up and have him drop us off the next morning in Bergen to go on a fjord boat trip with Bernadette and Leo.
We took our own quick tour of the town:

We walked around the historic fish market of Bergen, looking at the whale and reindeer meat for sale before getting on the fjord boat to head out to Osterfjorden.

Osterfjorden is a very narrow fjord close to Bergen.

The trip was 4 hours and was really interesting to see the fjord. The only downfall is that Osterfjorden is not one of the most dramatic fjords in the world.

After our trip, we both realized how much we wanted to explore Norway better taken advantage of the fjords and the far frozen tundra of Lapland in Northern Norway. It will probably be a very long time before that ever happens though because after the boat trip we tried to grab a quick lunch with Bern and Leo and realized that a pizza costs 56.00 us dollars. A burger at T.G.I Friday’s was equivalent to 60.00 usd. We were disgusted and ended up eating a weird sub in some shopping center food court and Burger King french fries. I guess staying at Svein’s was wonderful because he paid for our food the whole time and we didn’t even change our money into Norwegian currency ever. Norway is so rich because it has the 2nd most oil in the world after Saudi Arabia, just a little fact.

We retraced our steps back to Oslo, where we slept in the airport overnight while waiting for our plane to Copenhagen where we would take a train to Amsterdam. Overall, a 24 hour travel day but we couldn’t wait to unwind in Holland!


1 Response to “Bergen, Norway!”

  1. 1 Anonymous October 27, 2008 at 1:28 am

    With each entry I learn something new! You guys are great teachers! Momz

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