Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Norwegian Wood or Fur or Meat

Ah, Norway... Beautiful but different than I expected. Or maybe I was different. Jordan could probably differentiate between the two, because he saw me do some things I never thought I'd do. I'll confess as I go along.

The "ride" in was a little bumpy, but once we turned into the fjords, the water was completely calm.

The Pilot was just headed out, and snow was still sitting on the mountains in July:

Knowing the ship's path was 15km through the fjords, in semi-darkness, made my confidence in the Pilot's arrival that much stronger. if you're interested, take a look at this link http://goo.gl/maps/ifYg0 to get an even better understanding of our route. It's a bit daunting to take a ship through here.

We slept in until 8am, ate a bit of a late breakfast, and watched the "early-riser-first-off-the-ship" people get rained on. It was the only real rain we saw for the first week, and it was over in just a few minutes.

Walking into town, we, somehow, walked past the walls of the fort. Don't judge me - it was my 2nd time zone in 4 days. Maybe we can credit my other behaviors here to that same thing, but I'll get to that...

It has more of a 'city' feel to it until you get away from the center of town. 

They have a Fish Market, which I know is not a shocker to any of you... Lots of fish(y) items:

and very large crabs:

They have whale... And, yes, I confess, I tried it. Judge me if you must, but "When in Rome" or Norway...

In my defense, there are A LOT of odd foods to eat here. "The Chef recommends":

What is surprising here is that the fish mongers speak 14 languages! You read that right - 14! I loved that, because it quashes all our stereo-types, does it not? Impressive... Spanish, Mandarin (!), Flemish - you name it.

We saw our first 2 churches in Bergen. The first was under reconstruction, so we couldn't enter. Mariakerke (St. Mary's Church) is Bergen's oldest building and dates back to the 12th century. It was the parish church for the Hanseatic Merchants from the 15th to the 18th centuries and still holds services.

This is Barbara. She's a manatee. (All Veggie Tales fans will get that...) Barbara travels with us, but, sadly, I left her in the cabin after this. So, here is her only shot:

We took a walk through town and found the City Gate, our second church (which was open and accessible), and the rows of historically wooden houses that explain everyone's fear of fire here. (Hi, Jordan. Thanks for putting up with my need to take pictures of you...)

The stained glass windows of the church were all made to appear child-like, and they had the single most interesting child baptism piece I'd ever seen. Check out the (mechanical) angel they can lower for use...

I always feel sorry for the seagulls that follow our ships. Often, they're so far from a shoreline, and I know they're just looking for food. So... during Sail-away I fed them. And they liked it. And we became "close" friends - really close.

I have 2 forms of proof we were in Bergen. Here's the first (please ignore the photo-bombing professional photographer behind us):

And, now, my final confession of this post. Here's the 2nd one:

I bought a reindeer... Judge me. I love it, and it was already dead. Does that count? I'm sorry - sort of.

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