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