Finding myself in Bergen

I would say Norway is evergreen and ever grey. When I woke up this morning the sun, which had been game for anything yesterday, was tucked away behind the clouds.

We took a late breakfast. Breakfast was a spread of bread, cheese, meats and eggs, paired with a delicious cappuccino and orange juice. It is also part of Norwegian tradition to drink milk (maybe the secret to the viking’s success). But the milk here is like the skim milk in South Africa, so I keep asking for cream to add to anything I consume. I guess I have been spoilt.

Breakfast went down pretty much the same it does in my family home. I cracked and scrambled my special egg recipe, Oda made the coffee and Oda’s older brother Jonas prepared to eat. Layering all the ingredients on the bread is a must.

“Norwegians are very big on bread, in case you hadn’t already noticed,” Oda said.

I could see why, the bread was homemade and damn delicious!

After breakfast finished we took a lazy preparation for the day, leaving the house at 12:40 pm. The plan was to catch the bus to town and look at the art galleries. It was cold. I was layered in clothes that I had to borrow, because I wasn’t prepared for this. I had packed for 20°-25°; I should have packed for 12°. It is fair to say that an average summer’s day in Bergen is a winter’s day in Cape Town. It rained, the wind whipped at our clothing and the cold bit my toes.

We met up with two friends of Oda’s and looked at the KODE art exhibits, which had galleries throughout midtown. Today we looked at number 2, which showed contemporary art. We were curious, puzzled and stunned by some of the modern art, many of whom were Norwegian. We even gaped at the artist who specialised in ‘monochromatic surfaces’. Ludicrous.

After the first exhibit, we took a coffee break at Baker Brun, a neat local bakery that is quite reminiscent of Haas in Cape Town. I opted for the death-by-chocolate hot cocoa, made with true Belgium chocolate which is melted with hot milk, and saddled with a spoonful of cream, drizzled with bore Belgium chocolate. Sugar overdose! Then I also tried a ‘krydderkake’, a spicy bread/cake mix that only added to my sweetness overload.

The initial plan was to visit another gallery afterwards, but circumstances led us to the Bergen Aquarium. The walk was long and tedious, but I was enjoying the sightseeing and marvelling at the architecture. I got sopping wet. It was like a typical rainy day in Cape Town, only here the locals did not let that get them down. Everyone was out and about, walking in the rain and aptly dressed. I feel that people in Cape Town don’t prepare their wardrobes for the rainy season. Cape Town also sleeps when it rains, and no one ventures outside their comfy homes. But here, kids play in the puddles, friends meet up for a coffee or for shopping, the fish markets bustle with customers and the elderly take a stroll. Life goes on.

The aquarium trip was quite interesting. I had been to the Cape Town aquarium several times and soon lost interest. However, this place was more interactive, and more fun which was probably as result of our personal tour guide. We saw reptiles, alligators, snakes (even held a ball python) and spiders (to my disgust). We also visited the butterfly room and were astounded at the bright coloured displays of their wings. Then we ventured downstairs where we saw fish of all shapes and sizes.

The aquarium actually had quite a bit of a Disney theme. I found Nemo; and Dory. I wanted to build a snowman and take a walk underwater with Captain Barbossa. It catered to all my childhood dreams (let’s be real, teenage and adult dreams too). I could see why a visit to the ‘Akvariet’ is so popular among all age groups.

We managed to catch the feeding of the penguins just before the aquarium closed down, which was a lot of fun. We were a big crowd huddled in the rain watching a man shove fish down penguin’s throats. I also learnt that these Gentoo penguins had an interesting marriage ritual: the male penguin would present a female penguin with a stone (similar to those used to build a nest) and if she accepted it, they would be married for life. If only humans were so simple!

My Pokemon! Gotta catch ’em all.

After we returned home we were treated to a lovely dinner prepared by the two brothers: Jonas and Markus. We tore into the delicious Mongolian Beef served with rice and a special sauce as we watched the England-Slovakia game unfold on the television. Oda even had a surprise chocolate cake that we indulged in, with a side of ice cream and berry jam.

Needless to say, I am all sugared out!


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