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Happy July 4th from sunny Bergen Norway – by Renee

by on July 4, 2017

We have hit the weather jackpot here in Norway with our two days in Oslo the nicest they will have all summer…and arriving to wet and COLD Bergen last night only to wake up to picture postcard sunny blue sky and 0% chance of rain today — lucky us

The LONG summer days continue to make it hard to sleep.  Last night David said “you left a light on”… nope, it’s just the light from outside.  I took this photo at about midnight last night…as you can see…surprisingly bright.

No fireworks for America’s birthday today….but we did hear a 21 gun cannon salute in honor of Queen Sonja of Norway who celebrates her  80th birthday today as America turns 241.

Today we did a walking tour of Bergen, focusing on the period of the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages.  In short, after the Black Plague (which hit Bergen very hard as it was the major seaport for trade), there was a shortage of merchants.  Germanic (not German, because there wasn’t yet a Germany) merchants moved in and brought Bergen into their ‘military like’ trade system in Northern Europe. Today we toured the wharf, houses and church.

Based on what we learned…. including 3 hazing rituals that young merchant apprentices had to survive:  1) thrown in the water and dragged under a boat, while drunk; 2) hung up by your feet in a smoke filled room again while drunk and 3) being beaten with sticks while drunk…. I assured Alex that we would not have sent him to Bergen for a career in commerce!  Anna would have had no chance to become an apprentice as they only allowed men and boys — and no mixing with the local Norwegian people was allowed.

We also visited Haakon’s Hall, the largest non-religious medieval building in Norway.  Here are Anna and Alex in the main hall.  

This was built originally in 1247 (and rebuilt in 1944 after a German ship exploded in the harbor and almost destroyed this along with most windows in town and a few hundred homes.).  The Nazis were occupying Bergen and this ship was thought to be carrying explosives to blow up towns further north that the Russians were occupying… until this unexplained accident.

Haakon’s Hall is still used for receptions and dinners when the King visits Bergen.  Tonight right behind the hall is a concert by “The Weeknd.” – who some of the cousins might know about, but David and I had no idea since we don’t follow EDM/rap music!  We are hearing the concert now from our house!

One unusual feature of Bergen is that is situated between two VERY TALL mountains…so we took the funicular up to the top for the lovely view.  We also hiked to a small mountain lake AND ran into this giant troll on the way back!

We have continued to love the really delicious “softis” here – which is like frozen custard whipped cream.  A local delicacy is to have “carmelized cheese” or brown cheese on it.  Today we got to try the cheese and let me just say it sounds better than it tastes.  

Getting around today was a bit crowded with 3 cruise ships in town — then we learned that some days there are 7 ships… which I can’t imagine as its not that big a town!

Tomorrow we do the ‘fjord cruise’ which is the #1 reason people visit Bergen — we also plan to see the Museum of Leprosy – which gets surpringsly good reviews!


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One Comment
  1. Virginia M Turezyn permalink

    Love the weather…everyone seems to brighten their smiles as the sun shines on them!

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