We arrived at our hotel in Bryggen Saturday 12/28 at 5:30, right on time. “It was a dark and story night”. The express bus was waiting for us right outside the airport’s main entrance. Frank, our driver, whisked us off to the town of Bergen. On the trip we saw a surprising number of Tesla Model S cars going past.
Connections to Norway were less than perfect. The overnight flight from SFO to Paris was dreadful. I did “upgrade” our seats, though that only meant Ellen and I were sitting together. I have never had so little leg room, even on a domestic flight. What has Air France done? Never again, I will not fly Air France. Period. On the bright side the flight from Paris to Bergen was pleasant with enough leg room that I slept the entire two hours!
The day before Christmas, we had John, my nephew, and his 9 year old son, Gavin, over for dinner. Gavin was sick though he assured us he was “not contagious”. WRONG! We came down the a heavy cold that matured on our Paris flight compounding an already poor experience.
Let’s return to Frank for a moment. As we boarded the bus, my credit cards would not work in his machine. Not one card. We tried Ellen’s as well. Everything failed. Now what do we do? Frank smiled and said, get on and we’ll settle up later. Cool. Our hotel was near the last bus stop. At the Bryggen stop, Frank patiently reset his machine as we tried a few credit cards. The first attempt failed,, but the second went through! We chatted with Frank about Norway for a bit. Norway is a rich country based primarily on oil and fishing.
Our hotel, the Radisson Blu, was located directly at the bus stop. It could not have been more convenient. Our room was modest but with a remarkably comfortable bed, his and her feather down comforters, and a wonderful shower. This would have been most enjoyable, but for Gavin’s Christmas gift. We had a meal in the bar/social club: fish soup for Ellen and fish and chips for me. I had a 7 Fjell beer that was fantastic. Fjelll is pronounced similarly to fjord. J becomes I. We slept fitfully hacking and coughing through the night.
The next morning, 12/29, was a Sunday. As in Boston in the “old days”, everything closes on Sundays in Norway. We walked the old town of Bryggen, found a drug store to replenish some supplies, and bought a warm knit cap for me. We took a taxi to the Hurtigruten Terminal to check our bags. Baggage check-in starts at 1 PM, check-in at 3 PM, and staterooms are available at 6 PM. Checking our bags we made two mistakes: Ellen failed to check “her” coat (actually the coat that Cynthia lent her) and I had taken my documents our of my backpack and now had to carry them around with me. The lockers at the terminal take three 10 KRON coins. I had dollars. What to do. Paula, a woman from Madrid arrived at the lockers and she too didn’t have coins. We chose to share a locker, found a cab driver who gave us change, and Ellen/Cyn’s jacket problem was solved. Our documents went in Ellen’s purse.
Paula intended to walk around from the terminal. Having never been in Bryggen, we thought we’d take a taxi back. Imagine our surprise as a tesla cab drove up to the terminal. Yes, I can take you to Bryggen. We met Sion, who said a single charge overnight is sufficient to run his cab the entire day. There are very few superchargers in Norway, though there is one that he uses if he pulls a double shift. Taxis are everywhere in Bergen.
Walking we happened across the most fascinating fish market I’ve ever seen. Live king crab was everywhere, many varieties of fish fillets, shellfish, some I have not seen available elsewhere. Inside there was not even a hint of seafood smell. It was clean and smelled clean. There was a bar on one side of the market and a restaurant bay-side. “This is where we’ll have lunch”, I said.
We passed an Italian restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, a taqueria, a very eclectic group of mostly closed restaurants. Ellen wanted soup for lunch. The Italian place featured “zuppa”. No seafood for me. I had a pizza that was barely ok. Ellen’s soup was good, but not nearly as tasty as at the Radisson Blu.
To get back to the cruise terminal, I suggested we go back to the taxi spot where Sion dropped us off. We should have not problem having one stop. Ellen was not convinced and hid from the rain in a doorway. Within five minutes we had our ride back to the terminal. Checking went smoothly, we were aboard and in our diminutive cabin shortly after 6pm.
It really truly sucks to be sick while travelling. It sucks so much more if you travel in the dead of winter to a cold climate. Norway certainly qualifies. Even so, the Norwegians and Norway have surprised my with their warmth and beauty.
What? No Photos? You have Apple’s HIEC, coupled with Microsoft’s fee for the codec, coupled with international internet connectivity.