14 May 2016

Bumming Around Bergen

After the Balkans, I went to Norway. I went to Bergen, to be exact. Although technically, the next trip I did after the Balkans was New York City and Washington DC, but since that was mostly for a business trip as well as a family visit, I didn't sight-see at all, and all I did was meet up with my sister, play video games, and catch up with friends while attending a conference. So, the next trip I am going to write about is my semi-last-minute trip to Bergen, in early March this year.

This was a semi-last-minute trip. I was stressed and busy with work, as well as with other projects, both personal and professional. So I was very pre-occupied, and needed a break. In the meantime, my partner had a series of business and personal trips outside of Berlin, and I was getting some major FOMO. I was seriously thinking that I would ferment here in Berlin if I just stayed, and so I decided to match one of his trips and get out somewhere.

Now here's the tricky part. There's a big part of me that wanted something exotic, something different, something new. And yet given that I live in Europe, and given that I have been to plenty of different cities in Europe already, at some level, they're all familiar and common, and the aspect of exoticism isn't as high as before. The fact that I also just wanted three nights is a little tricky. Most of the exotic places (at least for me) are farther away and so it isn't worth flying all the way to Delhi just for three nights.

Believe it or not, I considered flying to Istanbul. To Tehran, even. That didn't work out, given the price and the duration.

So I opted to go north. I went to Bergen instead. I found a hostel, made a booking, and at the same time, I found cheap flights. It was also exciting because I haven't been to Norway before, and therefore this would add to my country count: Norway is the 46th country I have visited.

On March 7, in the afternoon, I flew from Berlin to Bergen, with a connection in Oslo. Upon landing, the first thing that impressed me was the fact that Norwegians are so connected: there's free WiFi everywhere, in the airport terminal, even in the bus that took me from the airport to the city center.

I easily found my hostel, and after dropping off my small luggage, I went out, as I was to meet a blogger who invited me for dinner. The evening ended up very pleasant, and we chatted and ate until midnight.

On March 8, I was a tourist in town. I got a 48-hour Bergen card, which allowed me access to the public transportation, as well as entrance to plenty of museums. I checked out the oldest part of the city, Bryggen. I also checked out Edvard Grieg's villa south of the city. I also made reservations in a fancy restaurant for dinner. I used to hate dining alone, but nowadays it seems my confidence has increased in this respect. Give me a book, a good glass of wine, and an intriguing menu, and I can sit there in the middle of an otherwise crowded restaurant and enjoy my meal alone.

On March 9, I explored Bergen's artistic side. There were plenty of interesting museums to check out, so I checked them out. I also explored Bergen's fortress, as well as its interesting neighborhoods. I also had tickets to the opera. Puccini's Madame Butterfly was playing that night, so a week or so before, I bought my ticket and saw my first ever opera.

During this trip, I ate some exotic adorable animals. I ate minke whale steak, as well as reindeer steak. They were interesting. I think I liked the reindeer better than the whale, but then again, maybe it was just the preparation method. I had the whale in a touristy restaurant, while the reindeer was from a more local establishment.

Finally, on March 10, I went back to the airport, and left, flying to Berlin direct this time. It was a great short visit, refreshing I should say, even though it was a little bit expensive. But I would gladly go back to Norway and explore more of this country, in better weather perhaps.

Pictures will follow, of course, so stay tuned.

2 comments:

  1. Looking forward to the pictures!

    I'm curious about these three countries, Sweden, Finland and Norway. They are so close to the rest of Western Europe, yet very different... but oh boy, so expensive. We had two stopover in Helsinki in 2008 and we couldn't believe how expensive Finland was.

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    1. Zhu,

      I guess it doesn't help that Germany is one of the more affordable countries in Europe to live. So whenever I find myself crossing into Switzerland, or to any of the Scandinavian countries, I definitely feel that there is a difference in living costs.

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