In which our heroines reach Bergen, get to actually cook in a real live kitchen, and make a new friend. This is a short post, because the glacier one is going to take me forever, and I wanted to provide some sense of progress!
Friday, August 15th – Bergen
This morning we left Ersgard with much regret, and took the plane to Bergen and the next leg of our journey.
Having now begun to understand just how gorgeous Norwegian landscape is, we chose to sit behind one another on the plane.
That way, we could both have window seats.
And my friend could take more of her gorgeous photos.
We reached Bergen, and began working our way through the complex instructions for finding our apartment. (It really isn’t our hostess’s fault that the instructions are complex – Bergen is basically composed of steep hills and zig-zaggy roads that look like driveways, and driveways that look like roads.)
We had been warned that the apartment was at the top of a steep hill, and this was certainly true. Though we probably went up more of it than we needed to, as we did do a lot of doubling back (those stealth driveways again).
Our hostess’s apartment is tiny but very beautifully and cleverly set up. I love our room, which feels like living in a dolls’ house – it’s all blue and white and pretty, with a sloping roof, and the bed is a little wooden sofa with a mattress and a drawer underneath, that pulls out to become a trundle bed. Once it is open, the room is full. Our luggage is living in the lounge room.
We are at the top of a small apartment block, so the windows look all the way down the hill to the road, and across the road, we can see the mountain – Fløyen, I think. It’s fantastic.
My friend and I did manage a quick trip into the city proper, which is very medieval in feel – cobblestones and tiny narrow streets with balconies leaning in towards each other. Things that Europeans take for granted, evidently, but fascinating to an Australian! Many of the streets are called gates, which reminded us of York – perhaps this is the Viking influence?
It couldn’t be a greater contrast to Stjørdal – urban, not rural, mountainous, not gently hilly (finally we understand why Stein said that route was ‘flat’), and with a large number of tourists and non-Norwegians living here.
Our hostess, R, is absolutely lovely – she’s a geology postdoc from the UK, and she is incredibly enthusiastic about Bergen and things to do here. She has a list on one wall of ten free things to do in Bergen (Norway is expensive, so knowing the free things to do is very handy), and also gave us lots of tips about public transport and the best ways to get to particular places and her favourite places to eat.
Again, though, this is a perfect contrast to Greta and Stein, whose families have been in Norway for as long as anyone can remember – Stein’s family has owned that farm for centuries. It’s a totally different picture of Norway.
R and I hit it off instantly, and started talking about food and cookbooks so fast that my friend from Germany (whose English really is excellent) couldn’t keep up. Then we moved on to talking about the different dialects of English, which amused her no end. I got to take over the kitchen (at last!), and made accidental arrabbiata for dinner (Rosie’s special Italian tomato paste turned out to be very finely chopped chillies), with a zucchini, herb and ricotta salad, and balsamic strawberries for dessert.
And then we stayed up half the night talking about food.
I’m going to like it here.