Norway – The Bergen Trip – by Jonia Gordon. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at and

Norway – The Bergen Trip – by Jonia Gordon. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at and

Editor’s Note: this is a part of a special series from Jonia Gordon, a talented student who is studying in Oslo, Norway for the Fall 2015 semester. Jonia is a thoughtful writer, as well as a talented artist. The illustrations that accompany this article are also by Jonia.

After our train arrived, we disembarked and walked 2 or-so blocks to the hotel/hostel that we would be staying at for the duration of our visit. We checked into our rooms (I shared with one of my friends) and settled for a bit. It was a strange experience having a shared bathroom; however, our room itself was rather large with a bed, couch, desk, and closet space. Afterwards, we ventured out to buy a few foods to eat a short meal together and went back to our rooms for a night to relax. Due to the late night and the lack of sleep that I had the night before (plus a long day of travel) I went to bed that night at 21.00 (9) and slept until 08.00 the following morning. Refreshed, we got ready for the exciting day ahead of us.

That excitement was due to one of the main reasons for deciding on the destination of Bergen. It was chosen due to the fjord tours that are offered year-round. We had booked our tickets 2 months in advance to ensure that we would have a placement–though I don’t think it was necessary, as there were plenty of empty seats. Nevertheless, my mindset is that it is better to be prepared. Since we left an hour and half earlier, we were able to explore the area and look in little shops, down side streets, etc.


(Image 1: The front buildings are the oldest wooden buildings in Bergen. They currently serve as small shops and restaurants. The buildings behind serve the same purpose as well as hotels and local residents housing.)

When it got closer to the time that the fjord cruise boat would arrive, we headed towards where we saw it and waited. After a while of waiting, I got a bit worried as there were no other people around. On our tickets, it had stated that if there weren’t at least 15 people, the tour would not happen at that time. Suddenly. This ensued:


That’s right. The boat simply set off to the other side and we realized that, ‘Wow. We need to run to that side of the dock in order to get on.’, and so we did. We ran what is a 10/13 minute walk in about 4 minutes. We made it, with people still waiting in line and more people following our example in being late.

Finally, we boarded and spent 4 hours touring the fjords–sometimes from inside and other times from the top of the boat. It was consistently full of amazing sights: clear waters, a bright sun, isolated houses in the middle of green spaces, and snowy mountains in the distance. It’s an experience that I hope and strive to have again in my lifetime. For now, I rely on the pictures that I hadn’t taken at that time.


One particular experience on the tour that was exceptionally fantastic was when the boat operators, saw the goats that they typically stop and feed. Therefore, we were able to stand a few feet behind them as they chucked chunks of stale bread over to the goats. Unfortunately, one was accidentally hit in the head by eagerly jumping down to get to the bread. Fortunately, it ate the same piece it was hit by happily.

It was a moment that was adorable and humorous all at once; it reminded me, somewhat strangely, of my dog.

The rest of the day was spent wandering about, sharing a meal together, watching a Austrian psychological thriller, and chatting. It was a low-speed, not to spectacular day on the surface, but it serves as a great series of moments with friends that I will look back fondly on. We only had one more day and we would be taking the train back that night (23.30-06.45). We spent a majority of the day walking around Bergen and sitting in coffee shops (taking advantage of the warmth and wi-fi). Unfortunately, we couldn’t do too much as we had our luggage and so our last day was perhaps the slowest in movements. I look back at this trip and I feel so immensely happy that I decided to do something that was outside of my comfort zone. It was a time where I gladly experienced friendship and independence; mostly, it was a time where I was able to sit and reflect about myself, who I was and would be, and how–in a week’s time–I would be back in the United States.
(Image 2: After going up a very slanted hill and getting lost, we were able to see this wonderful view of Bergen in the early morning hours.)
(Image 3: Cats are known to randomly roam the streets of Bergen (and Oslo, to an extent) and this one in particular really enjoyed my luggage and claimed it for a short while. Many of the cats were friendly and this led to the internal struggle of wanting to simply take the cats and keeps them as my own because… cats.)

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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy ( is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors ( This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (

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Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

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(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at)


Filed under Jonia Gordon, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

44 responses to “Norway – The Bergen Trip – by Jonia Gordon. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at and

  1. McKenzie Ketcher

    Yes I 100% agree that most of the time doing things out of your comfort zone can result in amazing experiences. Often those are the times that we remember and cherish the most. Although I have never been to Norway and seen the fjords, they sound absolutely amazing. I believe that nature needs to be preserved as it hold so much beauty, and natural landforms such as the fjords display why we as humans should work on taking better care of the earth.

  2. Holly Kampa

    Thanks Jonia for sharing your experience! It sounds like you had a very enjoyable time. I agree that stepping outside of your comfort zone can be uncomfortable, but that’s when you have the best experiences. The fjords look and sound beautiful. When my family travels, we tend to go more along the lines of nature related vacations. I love the simplicity nature holds, yet it is so beautiful. Thanks again Jonia!

  3. Emily Ciernia

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Jonia! It sounds like an unforgettable experience. I think that it is really admirable to step out of your comfort zone and try new things because you miss out on doing some amazing things if you are too nervous. The fjord boat tour sounds really cool and the pictures are beautiful. It looks so serene and peaceful there. Sometimes it is nice to be out in nature to appreciate it. Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Jenna Algoo

    That sounds like an absolutely amazing experience. I love your postings and your drawings, they are exciting! I just watched a movie about a tsunami in a fjord and when I saw this post I got so excited. It always blows my mind when pictures taken by people I know look exactly like the images in the movie, and yours look much like the movie depicted. Its so cool!

  5. Andrea Ramler

    I think you made an important point about stepping out of your normal comfort zone can lead to more experiences. I think we often play things safe and aren’t very spontaneous or willing to try new things. Experiences you gain from stepping out of your comfort zone are often the ones that have the biggest impact on you. I also think its important to recognize nature, Norway seems to be beautiful from what you shared. Its important for us to notice nature as it often goes un noticed as if it’s not important. Nature can tell a lot about a place and is very calming in many ways. You also mentioned that you were able to sit and reflect, something that we often pass up because there simply isn’t enough time. I think its important that we Incorporate nature and also time to ourselves. Thanks so much for sharing Jonia!

  6. Matt Breeze

    This sounds like a great experience! I would love to go and see the fjords of Norway with the water and sky and landscapes as you describe them. The reflection time sounds like it was really important for you and I hope it went well. I am glad that your trip went well and you go to see so many wonderful things!

  7. Molly Enich

    What a great experience! Traveling to Norway and take a cruise through the fjords is on my bucket list. Being on the water offers such a different view of the area and it’s often well worth taking boat tours to see the land from a different perspective. Whenever my family goes on vacation, my dad calls all types of tours “tourist traps”, but I think its a great way to learn about local attractions. It sounds like you had an amazing experience in Norway in which you learned a lot about yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Jonia this sounds like an amazing experience! I hear the fjords around Bergen are something you must see in your life. This summer I plan to travel to Norway myself but I am not sure I will have time in order to experience Bergen. I hope you post more stories of your time in Norway so I can get some tips from your experiences! I already noted to make sure you know where your transportation will be loading before it is to late!

  9. Sara Desrocher

    I loved reading about your adventures! I think that it would be a lot of fun to explore somewhere exotic and exciting. I hope to be able to travel and participate in events such as this. I feel that experiences like this are what life is all about, it is amazing that you got to do this!

  10. Gina Palmi

    Thanks for sharing your story! I loved the illustrations, you’re very talented. The fjord tour sounds like a lot of fun and something I would enjoy. I liked the little part about the stray cats because I’d want to take them home too!

  11. What a wonderful experience for you! Your photos and drawings are wonderful and beautiful. It can be difficult to step outside of our comfort zones and try new things, I am glad it was a greatly positive experience for you. I have heard how beautiful the fjords around Bergen are. In fact, one of my friends will be traveling to Norway this summer and I insisted she go to see them as I have heard of them through conversation and now I can suggest to her she read your article to get more information about them from you! Thank you for sharing.

  12. Sofia Pineda

    I think that it is only when you step out of your comfort zone that you start to discover who you are are and push yourself to become that person. Many times when you step out of your comfort zone you are able to do things you never thought you could do before because of the own limitations you set on yourself. I am so very happy that you did something your would normally not do and enjoyed doing it. This trip sound like a lot of fun.

  13. Elisabeth Bergstedt

    Yet again, a great story of your adventure in Norway. Seems to me the best stories of yours revolve around simply transportation! Who would of thought? I didn’t know much about Norway (and I still don’t) but because of your set of articles, I think I have a good idea if I were to travel there. My favorite part of all your stories is your courage to travel and experience things you were once not comfortable to do. That is simply something everyone should learn and try, myself included. Keep up the good work!

  14. That’s so great how you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone so much! I have always wanted to travel to Norway so it makes me so happy that you’re enjoying it! I have traveled and I know how it is so hard to step out of your comfort zone. Great work!

  15. Martti Maunula

    Thanks for the photographs as well as the art, really helped showing a side of your story that is so often missed when we are left to only imagine. Imaginations are great and powerful tools, but it can be nice to see a more accurate representation of what the actual author of whatever you might be reading actually saw themselves. This is also an easily relatable story of travel that I and I believe many others can easily relate to. So many differences and confusion, but also familiarity in the similarities that we share.

  16. Meghan Lozinski

    Your pictures are beautiful and make me want to head out to Norway sometime. Travelling alone or with a small group you’re not used to can be really scary but also really rewarding. Its really rewarding when you successfully get somewhere new without needing help from anyone else. And some of my favorite days on past trips are days where we didn’t really do anything other than walk around and explore.

  17. Connor

    It’s commendable that you pushed yourself outside your comfort zone and took this trip. Traveling abroad is important to becoming a global citizen. Additionally, I think travelling can really lead to some personal growth. Especially when you’re a bit uncomfortable with the idea in the first place.

  18. Kyle Dosan

    Sounds like you had a great time, thank you for sharing your story with us! You said it best that stepping out of your comfort zone can bring about some of the best experiences and memories. It was so cool that you were able to share this experience with your friends. Seeing other parts of the world is something that should be cherished. Thanks again, and the pictures were terrific as well!

  19. Bryce Gadke

    I’m glad you had a pleasant experience while pushing yourself out of your comfort zone! I’m looking to travel in the near future and your stories are only reinforcing that desire to travel. I appreciate the way that you seamlessly incorporate your own illustrations into the article. I hope that overall your travels will be treasured for the rest of your life and I also hope that your re-emergence into the US was one of ease.

  20. Rachel Reicher

    Thank you for sharing your story! It is always an adventure traveling to a place where it is unfamiliar and experiencing exciting events. I too, got the chance to travel to a place where I was able to feed animals. It was a few year ago when I traveled to Ireland and got to feed the sheep. Now I do not know if we were suppose to or not but I believe that the experience for me was slightly eye-opening that allowed me to connect to a different part of the world simply by connecting with animals.

  21. Roman Schnobrich

    Would you say Norway lived up to your expectations? I know visiting it is certainly on my bucket list! You must find yourself missing the constant adventures of traveling in such a far away place now that you’re back home in the U.S., do you dream of going back soon? The cat issue sounds worrying, but like many aspects of foreign cultures, I’m sure you became used to it in a short time. Do you ever catch yourself “living” outside of your comfort zone back home, or was that simply another aspect of traveling abroad?

  22. Thank you for sharing your fun trip! I have Norwegian friends who go to college in Bergen and they have told me how beautiful the fjords are, so I’m glad you got to experience a fjord cruise. By stepping outside of your comfort zone you were able to recognize the beauty of nature and your surroundings. It is great that you were able to reflect deeply on what you have seen.

  23. Courtney Banks

    What an incredible experience! I couldn’t imagine even going out of the country, or even going on a cruise! Taking trips with friends always provides more fun experiences and fonder memories. I remember taking a trip with my family to Disney World and not liking it because I was with my family. Several years later, when I was about 17, I went to Disney with my choir and have absolutely fond memories and loved it. Funny how things work out like that.

  24. Samantha Wollin

    Thanks for sharing your experience Jonia! It sounds like you had an amazing time!! I love the pictures and drawings you included!! The fjords sound beautiful!!! It’s great that you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone, that’s where the best and most unforgettable experiences are!! Thanks again for sharing your story with us!!

  25. Jacob Carson

    I have always found that the more I plan something out, the more things that seem to go wrong. Never in a totally time ruining way, but it always seems that it just adds to the adventure factor of doing something new in a foreign place. I think that because it never goes as planned, it is almost more memorable than if it had gone perfectly. So I have learned to appreciate the obstacles that sometimes come in our way.

  26. Thomas Landgren

    I agree with you when it comes to comfort zones I tend not to reach to far out of mine but when I finally do the experience is always worth it. The whole fjord cruise seemed to be well worth it and I bet the pictures don’t do it justice. I feel like the hardest part of leaving wouldn’t actually be the physical act of leaving, i think it would be leave without a cat like you said earlier. I hope you have a nice trip back into the US! Great article!

  27. I’m so glad you got to see how cute and playful goats can be. I love how much they remind me of dogs. I would have been so frustrated, being so prepared, and then almost missing the boat! I would love to see the fjords, nature has the most gorgeous things to offer. What an amazing experience, thank you for sharing.

  28. Nichole DeBoom

    Thank you far sharing your experience in Norway. It sounds as though it is absolutely beautiful, and the picture you took are breathtaking. It is healthy to get out of your comfort zone from time to time, you never know what you might learn to love. Continue to share your pictures and stories!

  29. Sandy Davidson-Hunt

    I’m sure looking back you are extremely grateful you took this opportunity to step outside your comfort zone. I have often found that stepping outside my comfort zone, although difficult, have provided me with some of my most memorable experiences. The cruise in itself looked beautiful. Travelling to the Scandinavian region is something I wish to experience at some point in my life as it seems to be such a refreshing experience.

  30. Donovan Blatz

    Thank you for your story. I have always wanted to travel to Europe and it seems like your trip was very interesting. I’m sure it is hard not knowing the language and traditions. I’m sure it was exciting to have to run to catch the boat! Did you find your trip to be eye opening in an anyway or did you see anything that was very different from here in the United States?

  31. One of the things that drew me to Duluth was the terrain… I live in a very flat area, so living here is practically the mountains for me. I actually never saw mountains until I left the continent for the first time. So the scenery in Norway looks absolutely beautiful! And it’s very interesting to think of goats like dogs. I wonder what dictates our levels of domestication, where some we keep paddocks and some we keep on our laps. I suppose it would be strange cuddling a goat. Cloven hooves are very different from the squish beans on a cat’s paws. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  32. Jena O'Byrne

    Thank you for sharing you experiences. It always seems that when we do adventure out of our comfort zone we create the most impactful memories. I also really enjoyed the images and artwork you shared. It helped me as a reader visually connect to the area you were in. It is also amazing how a trip like the one you took can help you uncover so much more about yourself as a person. Also how experiences like yours cause change in a person when experiencing other cultures. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Sarah Burton

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I believe that stepping outside of one’s comfort zone almost always results in a great time. Some of my best memories are from me stepping outside of my comfort zone. Norway looks absolutely stunning! I have visited the Scandinavia area once in my life and I cannot wait to go back and hopefully experience a few different countries.

  34. Jodi Moran

    I really like the point that you made about moving out of ones comfort zone, which lead you to enjoy your time in Bergen even more. I want to travel so badly, but am hesitant because it is so far out of my comfort zone. Your piece shows that great things really do ensue when the comfort zone is left behind. Your experience sounds like one you will never forget! Thanks for sharing.

  35. Sounds like a great experience! I’m always curious about tours like this — how are their routes are determined? I’d imagine these capitalize on areas and sites that Norway can be proud of and work in order to boost their image; however, I am sure what is seen from the passengers is also genuinely beautiful and even untouched. It sounds like an excellent way to appreciate the natural beauty of that country. Hopefully it gives them a reason to preserve it, too!

  36. Kyle Hellmann

    Its funny how some small mistakes can have a huge impact on the experience of a trip. I really like goats, and they can be fun to interact with. I met some while hiking up mountains and they are always a highlight of my day! Reading your experience also makes me realize how easy it is to get confused and lost while abroad, and how important it is to plan ahead like you did! Thanks for sharing!

  37. Thank you for sharing your time in Norway with us. I am happy you were able to get some pictures to help not only yourself remember, but also to help others catch a small feel for your experiences. I also agree with you that when we go out of our comfort zones, amazing things can happen. Life would be so different if we didn’t take risks or step out of them once in awhile. I also think it is so easy to stay comfortable in our own areas, so I am glad you took a leap of faith for all of us. Thank you!

  38. Mike Zupfer

    Thanks for sharing! When ever we travel out of country, our family makes it a point that we are an hour or two early so we do not miss flights, boats, etc.. We have been for the most part, good until recently when we ended up missing out flight to Florida. It is not fun to miss your flight and change your plans because of it. I am glad it all work out for you however, and i hope that your return trip is not as bad!

  39. Jessica Richart

    Thank you for sharing this story! I just love traveling and seeing different places so it sounds like a great time. Trying new things and going out of your comfort zone can be pretty intimidating but it is usually worth it. You never know if you like something or are good at something until you just try it. So I am glad that you went for it and got a good experience out of it. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful. Thank you again for sharing!

  40. Nancy Thao

    I love the pictures you took. While reading your article, one thing that really popped out at me was your sense of time. I noticed how you were pretty specific when indicating your time from how long it was to your own estimation of when you were running. How big of a role do you think time plays into one’s trip? Does the feeling differ when you start analyzing or reflecting the time of your activities? Aside from that, this sounds like a great experience and fun!

  41. Carley Nadeau

    I really enjoyed this post! The illustrations you make are great, and add so much to this article. I really liked the illustration of your adventure running around the dock to get to the boat on the other side. That seems like quite a funny story. Also, I’m quite interested in what you wait there so if you could share what you did, that would be great. Nice job!

  42. Cassandra Mahlberg

    Jonia, I am happily reading your articles as I prepare to go to Norway this Fall with HECUA. I think this is really a neat trip that you took before heading home. I think the water reminds me a lot of Lake Superior which would kind of help in the transitioning process to go home. It’s interesting that you didn’t find your independence until near the end of the trip, but it really speaks to the differences of individual life experiences. I’m ready to get off and running personally, although I am not sure what plans to make for the semester because I really know nothing about Norway and chose it just because of the program content. I am excited to see how it works out to travel in Norway on the semester break or to just explore Oslo on weekends or whatever else. The prospect of cats and goats makes me very happy. I will have to look into the cruise tour in the Bergen and see what that looks like now. Thanks, Jonia!

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