I’m sure it would have helped my mood if the sun was out and I hadn’t been nauseous all morning, but then when I got my suitcase and the ship crew had snapped my hard plastic luggage tag in half so no name is anywhere to be found AND somehow cracked a little nick in the side of my suitcase too, I was really ticked when for the line of 40 or so people waiting they had only one taxi! I finally got a cab to my hotel & promptly started walking to the bus station to try to get to Grieg’s house before it closed…
Frantic Day at Troldhaugen* plus Blur of Bergen
I thought I had a chance to get to Grieg’s house Troldhaugen since it was about 3:45 and it closed at 6pm, but due to waiting for a bus, then not knowing how to identify stops, I accidentally rode to the end of the line then asked the bus driver for help. Luckily she was going the same way back, but there was at least half an hour wasted, and it supposedly takes that long to walk from the bus stop! At 5:15 I got off the bus and started walking Britta-speed, so the 20-30 minute walk became 15 and I got there at 5:30! I paid but there were two large groups inside the small house so the guide suggested I see the composer’s hut first, which I did. I had seen my mom’s photos and online photos before, but the view definitely is beautiful. I wish I had such an inspiring secluded place, let alone the time in which to use it!
I still hadn’t cooled down from my frantic hike to get there, and inside the house with about 30 other people was stuffy, so I was dripping enough the poor guide noticed and grabbed me some paper towels…sheesh! The tours were in Spanish I think so I didn’t ever hear anything explained to me, so I looked around as much as I could, then went outside again. Honestly the view from the house really reminds me of the view from Buck & Lou’s house on Puget Sound! haha…After I saw the grave in the cliff facing the water, it was already past 6pm, so no souvenirs for me. Yes, I could get music by Grieg anywhere, but having some I purchased at his house would have been very cool…oh well! At least I made it to see the place!
I took the bus back all the way to Bryggen, which is the old wharf with the storefronts that are sagging & crooked…always a charming effect! I glanced around, then spotted a restaurant menu that looked promising for more traditional Norwegian food, even though I swear the B in their Gothic font looks like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 😉 Their dining room was booked, probably by tour groups, plus it was Saturday night, but since I had beaten the 8pm rush, I was able to sit in their downstairs tavern area. I got a cider, wish I knew the brand since it was sweeter than Strongbow at least, Bergen-style creamy fisksuppe with fish dumplings. I liked that even better than the tomato-based fisksuppe in Trondheim. Then for my meal I wanted to try 4 of the “Norwegian tapas” but since they came in 3 or 6, I got 6 by doubling the cured ham and the marinated herring with lingonberries. The reindeer sausage was good, dry cured salami-style, the ham was fine, the Aquavit-marinated salmon was my least favorite but good, but the herring OH MY GOSH! Best pickled herring I have ever had! The herring was still pink, and not the grainy texture you find in the jars of the silvery stuff, so it was much closer in texture to the salmon we always pickle, but the flavor was fresh and just the right mixture of sweet & sour, leaning toward the sweet side. I thought of my mom never understanding why my brother, cousins & me wouldn’t get sick eating cereal-size bowls of pickled salmon in Astoria each year for Christmas, and here I was eating pickled herring in about the same quantity in Bergen! hahaha… Since the soup bowl was so large, I couldn’t finish that but it was ever so good, and I sat there as long as I could, sipping a second cider, chewing slowly and trying to cram every last bite of herring in my stomach! I did it justice with only a few scraps left, and I told them it was the best pickled herring I’ve ever had, and if they had it in jars, I’d take some home!
Since it wasn’t even 9pm, I looked in the touristy shops along Bryggen, took a photo of myself (the only time I’ve EVER wished my arms were longer!), got a cute tiny seal for my desk, walked over to Mariakirken to see the outside of the oldest church from the 1200s, then over to Bergenhus Castle, also dating from the same era, then to the fountain by the art museum, past the Grieghallen, which also hosts acts like Zappa and Pink, then back up the hill to my hotel, which has a little park right across the street. I missed the big Domkirke since it would have been north on my big loop back, but honestly I’m tired enough that’s enough walking for one day.
Another early start in the morning, since my train leaves for the Norway in a Nutshell tour at 8:40am. Breakfast at the hotel doesn’t start until 8am, so that’s pushing it, but I think since I walked down the hill to the bus station already which is only a block away from the train station, for the sake of my suitcase and my sanity, I’ll be taking another taxi. I think I’m going to like getting to Skara since I might actually be able to sleep in a couple mornings then! 😉
Until next time!
*There is a Grieg composition called Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, which I played for my piano recital the year of my mom’s Scandinavia trip with my grandmother, and they were actually at Grieg’s house the day of that recital.