Benedicto:

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rest of Norway: beautiful land, long history

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August 2 

Another late morning, did yoga on the deck, checked out and put our bag in the PACKED luggage room before downing some yogurt for breakfast.  We took off down the street to go to the town aquarium.  It was 200NOK, which we realized later was about $40USD.  Yikes.  It was also pretty sad.  There was a seal show that made me think of the movie “The Cove,” about a place in Japan where they trap, kill and choose the few dolphins who perform for us at sea
Pretty crab back
world, Disney and the like—a very gruesome and important tale.  There was a seal that closed its eyes and chomped and vibrated it’s jaws.  I thought the behavior looked a bit pathological.  Also, many of the penguins were sitting or lying in these little raised circles of concrete with rocks in them.  I felt very sad and depressed sitting with them.  We went through the other exhibits where kids were running everywhere looking at the specimens, watching constrictors snatch up mice, seeking the hidden rays, or fish in the sand, and enjoying the movements of the crustaceans.  I found the whole thing pretty depressing.  Not many of them had room, but they made the best of it.  I keep thinking about those we put in quarters too small, with no freedom to roam.  I think of our beloved pets and wonder about where the line is before we are using someone for our own gain or pleasure.  It’s a tough place to know if you don’t really experience what it’s like from the other side.  Anyway, after the aquarium we went in search of a bag for putting Les’s backpa into during flights. It was a nice way to get to know the city a bit.  I bought a pair of pants at Salvation Army that fit me like a glove.  I need to hem them.  Dinner was some salad greens, mozzarella in oils and spices and corn.  Yummy.





August 3-4
We went up into the beautiful mountains, below the snow, on a one-lane road in a large tourist bus with not many of us in it.  The landscape was stunning, weaving around the hills and down into dramatic valleys with waterfalls.  We arrived at Mo, where we changed to a boat. As it turned out, their regular boat was being fixed and so we were transported in an ambulance boat.  The guide said that she almost delivered her son on this boat on the way to the hospital.  The wind on the bow was fierce, but I loved it.  I put my rain jacket so it covered my ears and turned into the Michelin Man because it puffed up so much.  By the end, my fingers were numb, but it was a beautiful trip.  We were able to see the place where the lake turned into brackish water and then sea.  The trip ended in the port of Bergen, a very distinct square end with large ships (including cruise) and loading docks.  I bought some marinated salmon at the fish market.  It was expensive, but really good to make into a salad for dinner.

We spent Thursday morning exploring the Homeotic Museum.  This was quite the place for the Germans and others to trade in the 13-1500’s.
The building was fascinating, with beds in little cupboards that slid closed all the way, bell pulls, tea kettle like pourers to wash hands and face, lists and letters noting what is being traded for what, lots of seals from various countries, cod for eating and getting liver oil and how all that was done (they didn’t have any heat in those buildings—I’m assuming because the cod liver lamp oil all over the place would have torched it), and only one office that we could see.  In another building, there was a warming area, kitchen and dining hall. The kitchen was great to see with a fire line down the middle with kettles hanging from things that you could winch up and down, a wooden well pump, lots of half barrels and pots.  Both places were very dark; it’s nice to be reminded that not much light came from candles.   You can see Les in front of an old painted wall.  Better than wallpaper!

We came home after some expensive espresso, and ate the rest of the crackers, cheese and salami, and some Bergen-made chocolate with our cranberries.  Les worked on his blog and I went for a walk up the mountain.  I loved the path that took me through the neighborhoods on the way up and through the dense, green, wood-smelling forest on the way down. 
What a view of Bergen and surrounding areas!  The place looked smaller than a miniature village—more like a painting of a village from so high up.  As I was journaling, it started to rain, so I started down, happily, with raincoat over my little backpack.  I collected some veggies and some kind of sliced meat to make a rice/stir-fry for dinner.  We listened to a guitar player down on the street sing as the sun set over the harbor as we ate.  Lovely day; lovely evening.

 Oh, I found a store for Juliet Forrest!

Check out this large dorm room!  How many beds?


Modern day chimney sweep.

Oh Really!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Norway: Rough Starts are Now a Tradition


July 31
Today was much about taking care of business and waiting and wandering around.  We finally found out where to go for tomorrow’s airport bus, and took the commuter train quite a bit south of town to “Tom Tit’s Experiment” theme park dealing with science—mostly physics. www.tomtit.se/english/ Kids were pressurizing water bottles and setting them off up a zip line; Les and I competed for who had the most relaxed mind and who could cycle so that the most electricity was generated, we saw ourselves in color by how hot we were, played with light and bubbles, slid down a sled that went through the 4 stories of the place, saw kids lifted up by their own pressure down like a yoyo; and looked at other physical phenomena in playful ways.  John Evans would LOVE it!  They also have all kinds of buttons and gadgets and no directions, so you can just play with the stuff to see what happens.  Curiosity is so strong; what happens in school that drives that instinct underground?  We were tired after the 45 minute commute and stopped at the grocery for deli salads and stuff for breakfast before going to our cave.

bus driver nice hair


Aug 1
We rushed around and caught the 7AM airport bus.  We weren’t sure which airport, or which terminal, but we got the right ones and were early for our flight.  We immediately caught the airport bus to Bergen and with only a couple of false starts found our hostel.  As usual, when we get to each new country, there’s a snafu.  Apparently, they emailed and cancelled our reservations because we didn’t specify if we wanted male or female dorms.  Well, they gave us directions to two other places and let us keep our bags there.  The first hostel was closed for cleaning.  We went back to use the Internet but we couldn’t book for tonight because it was too short notice.  Les found a nearby hostel that was nearly $90, so we decided to walk down to the YMCA hostel.  Fantastic!   


Got a room for 4 and we’re bunking with a newly married couple from New Zealand who have been backpacking and camping around Scotland.  This was their first bed.   I think we may have gotten the last two beds of the place.  We did some laundry, ate (fish soup—there’s a nice fish market right here!), and bought a tour for the fiords for Wednesday.  I bought a beer to share and we drank it on the upper deck outside by our room. Tomorrow we walk around exploring.
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