To Bergen and beyond!!!
Due to our delightful dinner the previous night, day 2 started with pangs of hunger waking us at odd hours – 1:30, 4:00, 5:45, 7:00. That’s what we get for eating little (bad) dinner!
Breakfast – love, love, love smorgasbords!!! They sound so much more exotic than buffets, don’t they? We had cold meats, cheeses, wonderful rolls with homemade jam. Two of the travelers enjoyed watermelon; the other opted for another roll. And one, a little more daring, tried a strange concoction of fruit – maybe kiwi, maybe pear and apple sauce, maybe a little weird, but not terrible.
For the early afternoon travel adventure: today at the fish market, we were introduced to whale. Did you know whale is black? We don’t know how/if it was cooked, but Kristi said she always thought of whale as white (probably from the blubber). Not so. At the other extreme of the enjoyment spectrum, we also found PINK caviar, made from herring. We wondered how many herring give up their eggs for that endeavor? Do you know how many kinds of caviar you can find?
Visiting the Bergen fish market brings a while new meaning to “swimming with the fishes.” Heaping piles of full shrimps – heads on, eyes open – spill in to multiple kinds of smoked fish – herring, cod, trout, salmon – while the menacing monkfish makes eyes at you from the corner.
But wait, that’s not all, even the land animals make a showing. Did you know you can get salami-style logs of elk, moose, doe and reindeer? No? Neither did we. But we did vow to give everything a try on our trip even if it means digging into Rudolph. Too much? Ok, we’ll tone it down – just remember our first meal experience… Eat like the natives, we’re just saying…
When we finally waded out of the fish market with our stomachs still intact, we landed in the Bryggen Quarter.
Built in 1702 and still standing today, this wooden village may be slightly at an angle but houses some of the most amazing one-of-a-kind artists we’ve seen. From silver to watercolor, from knitwear to leather making, from fabulous fur hats to merry ol’ St. Nick, each artist greeted us with cheerful exuberance, excited to share their artistry.
Ziva was one of our favorite artists – meaning we not only spent a lot of time in her studio, we also drooled over her atelier displays and walked away with some inspiring pieces of wearable art and ideas.
See those walls? See that floor? That’s 1702 people! How many stores have you seen that try to mimic that look?
Yet again, we found ourselves in need of food and shade about the time we stumbled into a delicatessen. At Baker Brun, we weary travelers redeemed food. Ordering the house-made quiche, summer salad and fresh bread, we hummed with happiness throughout our meal, topping it off with an Illy coffee and a Skillingboll pastry (a local favorite in Bergen).
Satisfied and creeping up on our date with the M/S Kong Harald and our newly found food coma, we skedaddled back to gather our luggage and head to the Hurtigrutenterminal.
Did we mention our ship is a working mail packet ship? Oh yeah, we’re traveling with the mail.
After a brief safety training video set to lovely elevator music of the Norwegian variety (and unfortunately perfectly in tune with the food coma), we met our home for the next 9 days.
Given that our room is roughly the size of a shoebox and that’s for three of us – we explored the floors we are going to live on – lucky numbers 4 and 7. You got it, we found food, the sun deck for those fabulous phototos, and, of course, the bars for those midnight sun kind of days (or the random Monday night as we write this blog.)
Then, we got the all-call that our room was ready and we could finally move in. Em raced down the 5 flights of stairs to get a photo before Kristi and Judy could move in. After snapping the shots for prosperity, she calmly stood waiting in the hall for the others to arrive. Biting back a laugh, she greeted Kristi and Judy with a royal wave and gestured them into the room.
Well, it’s roomier than the photograph. Until we shut the door. Then it was maybe ah, a little tighter. Kristi
Yep, that’s it. The 3rd bunk, it’s the one folded into the wall on the left side of the room. Would you believe that room also holds a bathroom, complete with a shower?
I, Emily, promise never to complain about space issues ever again. She said as she sat eyeball to eyeball with the sprinkler.
Escaping the shoebox – er, room – for dinner, we enjoyed a lovely buffet style meal featuring 15 different kinds of seafood including the hot pink caviar from our trip to the fish market. You better believe we gave that a shot. It was… interesting… Not a lot of flavor but the joy of eating something so hot pink and strange made us feel quite fancy.
After dinner we traversed up to the sun deck to watch the first of many disembarkations from Bergen.
When our goosebumps grew to the size of mountains (we were dressed for the roasty toasty weather of Bergen not exactly the same attire for ships speeding along the sea) we moved into the lounge to enjoy the sunset and moonrise. Not too shabby for the first of many days.
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