Margin

The title of this blog post comes from a book which I, unfortunately, have not read yet, but it speaks of allowing time in one’s life for, among other important things, the work of God to take place. It is called, “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives”, by Richard Swenson, MD. (2004) [“Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Today we use margin just to get by. This book is for anyone who yearns for relief from the pressure of overload. Reevaluate your priorities, determine the value of rest and simplicity in your life, and see where your identity really comes from. The benefits can be good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for God’s purpose.”] I guess I shouldn’t actually recommend it to you without having read it myself, but it’s out there for you to consider.

Towards the end of our time in Norway, it became obvious to Paul and I that there had been numerous times during our stay where either we had been invited for coffee/tea/meal with friends or had invited friends for coffee/tea/meal on the spur of the moment or, at the very least, with not a ton of advance warning. In doing so, the invitee accepted the possibility of rejection, and the invited who accepted the invitation needed to put aside any minor plans or needed to not have filled up their calendar with no chance of spontaneity.

Ready for company with one day's notice.

Ready for company with one day’s notice.

I can say with certainty that at no time when we accepted such an invitation did we regret doing so. Every moment we visited with friends and cultivated our relationship was valuable time. Leaving our schedule open for such opportunities, although easier in a foreign country than in the US and easier being without children, was intentional. In fact, there were several times when I knew that if I brought a cake to, say, our Wednesday night Bible Studies, people would stay and visit. So, I did. And they did.

Church visiting afterwards.

Church visiting afterwards.

Our experience in Moss was richer because of the friendships that were strengthened by personal contact and time. From the first evening of our arrival when four friends came to our door with flowers and a hearty ‘Velkommen!” to the last evening when two friends had made a spontaneous invitation to us for dinner two days prior, we were thankful for the chance to get to know more fully the people with whom we shared a common community or common friends or a common God.

Spontaneous welcome from friends.

Spontaneous welcome from friends.

**We were invited for tea after a Wednesday night Bible Study, and we all visited until 10:30 pm.

Tea on a Wednesday evening with friends.

Tea on a Wednesday evening with friends.

**We invited friends home for coffee after a musical production we all were attending, but since they had a dog and needed to get home (which we totally understand, don’t we Rocky??), they hosted us at their home instead.

Coffee and finger foods after a musical.

Coffee and finger foods after a musical.

**We were invited for a Sunday afternoon walk in a neighboring seaside town, were hosted for lunch, and our friendships were strengthened.

Celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary!

Celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary!

**While on the phone with a friend who we hadn’t seen or spoken to in ten years, we were invited to their home for a weekend. So, Paul and I talked about it and made the plans (which had not been considered up to this point) to go to their place for a weekend the following month.

Seeing Jorunn again after 10 years.

Seeing Jorunn again after 10 years.

**We were invited for coffee following a church service and stayed for a couple of hours getting to know several more people.

Thank you to the willing host.

Thank you to the willing host.

**Our time in Moss was limited so we realized that, in order to greet as many people as we would like, we needed to not allow weeks to pass before considering inviting people over to our home. I would ask on a Sunday whether some friends could come for dinner the next evening or later that week. I would ask on a Wednesday whether a couple of ladies could come to my home for coffee on Friday.

Quick invite for dinner.

Quick invite for dinner.

I guess all of this is to say that now that we are back in Grand Forks, we plan to continue in this same manner. Please, dear friends, hold us accountable to this. I know it may be easy to drift back into the same pattern we developed over years and years, but with a plan to be intentional and to leave margin in our lives, we can be open to more possibilities and freedom to experience a richer life.

 

Our Michelin Experience

I have never been to a Michelin-rated restaurant. More than likely, I will never go to a Michelin-rated restaurant. Tonight, however, I felt as if Paul and I were being treated to a five-star restaurant experience. And do you know what is interesting? As our hosts, Anna and Leshik, exhibited the most gracious and humble demeanor, Paul and I could not even plan in what way we could reciprocate their generosity. Because we are leaving Norway, with no guarantee of our return, in less than nine hours.

Tonight’s intimate dinner party was planned only two evenings ago–with a spontaneous invitation from these dear friends with whom we have only been able to spend a tiny bit of time during our five months in Moss. That is my regret. They live only a few kilometers from our little apartment, in fact, I rode my bike practically by their house several times, but we only got together one or two times. (one with Leshik, two with Anna) After Tuesday’s good bye dinner, Anna called with the hope of hosting us for one last dinner, if we had the time. The only evening that would work was tonight, our very last evening in Norway. Frankly, we would have been thrilled with a frozen Grandiosa pizza and their company on this evening after finishing all our packing and cleaning, but that was not Anna’s plan.

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She prepared most of the dinner ahead of time, as she worked more than a full-shift today as a nurse at the local nursing home, the Ryggeheimen. We had spinach and feta cheese-stuffed phyllo dough triangles for appetizers, followed by home-ground and made meatballs, roasted potatoes, and a garden salad which reminded me of Eastern Europe (they are from Poland, by the way). She garnished everything with herbs from her garden; chives and mint, and hand-picked and dried mushrooms, with a seasoning mixture she prepared herself. Her creativity and enterprise in using the ingredients as well as her care in presentation was so fine. Actually, this has been the norm for all of the hostesses we have encountered here–such a skill and desire to do the best for one’s guests.

Part of our dinner--salad and spinach and feta cheese stuffed phyllo triangles.

Part of our dinner–salad and spinach and feta cheese stuffed phyllo triangles.

Leshik and Anna.

Leshik and Anna.

Dessert was an ice cream sundae with whipped cream and vanilla bean, sherry-soaked cherries, fine fruit-encrusted dark chocolate, and a drizzle of vanilla-infused, rum and egg nog-type of syrup. With coffee. 🙂

Anna preparing the dessert.

Anna preparing the dessert.

Visiting was a never-ending conversation.

Visiting was a never-ending conversation.

I love the creamy desserts which seem to be prevalent here.

I love the creamy desserts which seem to be prevalent here.

The entertainment included a sunset over the fjord with a continuous parade of passing cruise ships, ferries, and sail boards, all viewed from floor-to-ceiling windows.

Their dining/living room.

Their dining/living room.

I realized tonight that we have been cared for by our friends here in Moss from the night we arrived until the night before our departure. And I am speechless.

The Other Side of Overwhelmed

I confess that I have an academic disposition, while Debbie has a social orientation. Maybe Debbie and I complement one another in this respect.  Her last blog (‘Overwhelmed’) gave her angle on the dinner party (selskap) given to bid us farewell from Moss. This blog entry gives a geographer’s view of the same event, with impressions and notes taken during my ‘selskap field trip’.

First of all, I am very glad that I live in this day and age, because the olden days (gamledager) were very difficult.  Life, for most people, was one long struggle to stay alive.  In Norway, this meant toiling night and day during the warm season to save enough food for winter so as not to starve during the cold season.  This was no small undertaking.

Your basic Norwegian peasant farmer grew barley on what little cultivatable land was available. Of course, this was only after they had removed the hundreds of large stones and boulders from the land.  Barley was grown because it was too cold for wheat.  From barley they made bread (brød). The bread was too moist to survive the winter without spoiling, however, so they made flatbread (flatbrød) that was so dry that it would not spoil.

Field of stones.

Field of stones.

Land that was too marshy or too stony to farm (the rocks had not yet been removed) was used for pastures to graze sheep (sau), and, if you were lucky enough, a milk cow (ku).  The cow’s milk (melk) was too valuable to consume personally in large quantities. Peasant farmers would make cheese (ost) and butter (smør) to sell at market to wealthier people, and use the cash to purchase necessary goods (varer).  Some of the remaining milk would be used to make sour cream (rømme), light cream (fløtte), and poorer quality butter.

Of course, life was not that much better for the sheep and cows. Most Norwegian farms were at low elevation along the ocean and fjord coastlines, where the temperatures were much warmer, and the growing season (i.e., length of time the grass was green) was much longer.  Livestock were lead to pastures in the mountains during the summer to gorge on the summer grasses to become fattened.  This was when the best butter and cheese were made.  A smart cow or sheep would eat as much as possible during this time.  During the winter the livestock was marched back to the farm houses at lower elevations to protect them from the snow and cold.  If the livestock was lucky they could graze the barren pastures during the winter. If it was too cold or snow covered the ground they would feed on hay collected and stored by the peasant farmer during the warm season.  I am sure the livestock were as hungry as the people.

Of course, peasant farmers were more than happy to kill any elk or moose that came within gunshot range (Norwegians seem to use the same word for both – elg).  Fish, particularly salmon (laks), were also obtained in large quantities.  Peasant farmers would cure whatever meats they obtained with salt, and perhaps smoke the salmon.  All of the food that they saved during the warm season was stored in their outdoor raised store-house (stabbur).

Traditional stabbur on Jeløy.

Traditional stabbur on Jeløy.

… Which brings us to the dinner party.  The menu (meny) was very traditional Norwegian food eaten on the summer solstice, or mid-summer. The dinner consisted of rømmegrøt (a white porridge of rømme, fløtte, melk, a bit of flour (mel), some smør, and a dash of salt), flatbrød, and spekemat (salt-cured meats) – slices of mørpølse (sheep sausage), elgpølse (elk sausage), fenalår (lamb leg), and spekeskinke (ham).  Potatoes (poteter), carrots (gulrotter) and other root crops (rotgrønnsaker) were popular because they were edible food, and stored well in the root celler or stabbur.  I do not think kids were as picky eaters back then as they are now.

Spekemat board.

Spekemat board.

Now I can tell my friends with Norwegian ancestors Yes! I have had rømmegrøt; Yes! I have had flatbread.  Yes! I have had lefse. Yes! I have had cod (torsk). No! I did not have lutefiske. But I am sooooo glad for refrigerators, freezers, and stoves … and dear Norwegian friends.

My first rømmegrøt.

My first rømmegrøt.

Closest thing to lefse we could find.

Closest thing to lefse we could find.

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Overwhelmed.

I cannot think of another word right now which would describe what I am feeling any clearer than overwhelmed.

Tonight, we were treated to a dinner garden party with 20 of our closest friends as a ‘celebration’ (Asbjørn’s word) of our going away. Okay, I think what he meant was they were celebrating us, not the fact that we were going away. But it was a going-away party nonetheless.

Part of the buffet table.

Part of the buffet table.

Coffee cups, plates, and spoons at the ready.

Coffee cups, plates, and spoons at the ready.

The meat board.

The meat board.

Grethe slicing up the fenalår.

Grethe slicing up the fenalår.

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We were all hoping for good weather, and the rain stayed away although it was, for some, a bit chilly. As per most of the outdoor restaurants I have seen in Norway, the chairs were covered with furs, and blankets were plentiful for the guests’ comfort. Also, as has been the custom at literally every dinner party we have attended here in Moss, our hostess stood and welcomed everyone to the party, described a bit about the menu, and invited everyone to begin with the food.

Astrid welcoming everyone to the party.

Astrid welcoming everyone to the party.

The menu for this evening was traditional Norwegian food: rømmegrøt, spekemat (spekeskinke [cured ham], mørpølse [sheep sausage], elg pølse [moose sausage], fenalåg [cured sheep leg], flatbrød, fresh veggies, strawberries, potato salad. This was my first time tasting rømmegrøt, although I have heard the name for years living in a mostly Norwegian-American town. It was rather tasty–so tasty, in fact, that I went for a second helping even though I saw the rest of the menu sitting there for me to try afterwards. And I knew, having been at several previous Norwegian dinner parties, that there would be cake later. Definitely.

Enjoying our rømmegrøt.

Enjoying our rømmegrøt.

Paul with his first of two servings of rømmegrøt.

Paul with his first of two servings of rømmegrøt.

Spekemat.

Spekemat.

Part of the garden party.

Part of the garden party.

The hostess with the mostest. :-)

The hostess with the mostest. 🙂

Typical Norwegian almond cake with vanilla ice cream and fruit.

Typical Norwegian almond cake with vanilla ice cream and fruit.

When it came time for the party to continue indoors, we all gathered in the main room for coffee, cake, and ice cream (I told you so). Singing was next with everyone joining in the songs from the small paperback songbooks provided by the hosts. The head elder then stood up to address everyone, and he spoke, in very understandable Norwegian, about how they all have appreciated Paul and I being a part of their lives for this semester. He was so complimentary to us and so very gracious that I seriously was feeling quite humbled and, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, overwhelmed at their kindness.

The visiting continues inside with coffee, cake, and ice cream.

The visiting continues inside with coffee, cake, and ice cream.

And it continues...

And it continues…

Don't forget Ragnhild! ;-)

Don’t forget Ragnhild! 😉

And Bente!

And Bente!

Close, dear, friends as I look around this table.

Close, dear, friends as I look around this table.

It was expected that it was now Paul’s turn to speak, and he very sincerely (in Norwegian, of course) expressed our love for them and our desire to have them in our home as guests any time in the future. He also stated our hope to get together with any of them either in the States or, perhaps, Spain? [where there happens to be several Marriott resorts with whom we are affiliated and to where the very cheap RyanAir flies from Moss].  I said that we have two church families now: one in Grand Forks and one in Moss. The next song we sang was especially meaningful as it was the old hymn, Blessed Be The Tie That Binds, which, I explained to the group, was the song that in my church growing up, South Bay Baptist, was sung after a communion Sunday service with everyone in our small church encircling inside the sanctuary and holding hands. It’s a memory that stays with me still.

They then presented us with a gift of a small sterling silver spoon by which to remember them. (they also said that if we return, we will receive another one! I thought, like a grocery store or gas station giveaway! 🙂 )

The gift our friends gave us.

The gift our friends gave us.

As Paul and I have said many times, we do not like to say ‘good bye’ (or ‘ha det bra’), we merely say ‘see you later’ (or ‘vi sees’). But, Paul still admitted to getting a little choked up during the singing of ‘the last song’–which is #74 in the little paperback songbook we use at the Froholt’s and is always sung when it is time for the party to end. It is the Norwegian version of a very old hymn which may be familiar to many people in America, Abide With Me.

I have attached a link to this song here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rvhkR5Hpz0

One Final HURRAH!

Our final mini-vacation of the semester was in Edinburgh, Scotland for four nights/three days. We knew that Ryanair, the cheap European airline, flew there from our nearby airport, Moss Rygge, so we planned this months ago. The B & B we chose was Trip Advisor’s second-highest rated B & B in Edinburgh, Number 29 is their name, and it was perfect for us. Location was in the West End, within walking distance to most of the City Centre of Edinburgh and away from the crowds. Also, it was close enough to several decent restaurants we could walk to at the end of the day.

Our B & B for four nights.

Our B & B for four nights.

Simple decor.

Simple decor.

View of St. Mary's Cathedral from our third-floor window.

View of St. Mary’s Cathedral from our third-floor window.

Paul said several times that we are not the ravenous travelers we were in our youth–I say we are! We would arise at 8 am, eat a very leisurely Scottish breakfast, and be out the door by 10 am. Then, we would walk and walk and walk and tour and tour and tour, with an occasional break for coffee or tea with a little something, until about 6 pm, at which time we would return to our B & B for an hour or so rest before dinner. Back to the room by 10 pm, check emails or Facebook (of course), and in bed by midnight. Doesn’t that sound like a great schedule to you?? (I can plan your vacation! Just give me a call! ;-))

What I enjoyed about Edinburgh were a number of things: the history, the architecture, the museums (several of which were free!), the natural beauty, the details one notices along the neighborhoods, the traditional clothing (who can not like cashmere or wool scarves and capes, intricate silver jewelry, “bonnie wee tams”, beautiful tartans, and kilts?) Oh, yes, and the music! I can listen to bagpipes playing any day of the week! Such splendor! Such magnificence! I only wish we planned a time to attend some concert or something if it were possible.

St. Cuthbert's Cathedral.

St. Cuthbert’s Cathedral.

The Castle from Princes Street Gardens.

The Castle from Princes Street Gardens.

Victoria Street.

Victoria Street.

The Royal Mile.

The Royal Mile.

The National Museum of Scotland.

The National Museum of Scotland.

The Scottish National Gallery.

The Scottish National Gallery.

Edinburgh 315

Oh, and the food. I guess that Scotland is not exactly known for it’s fabulous food, but when you come right down to it, aren’t fish ‘n chips, scones with clotted cream, shortbread, and the idea of tea time worth something? Paul and I did try a bit of haggis one morning with our breakfast (because, after all, that is a good time to eat chopped up cow organ meats and lungs mixed with spices and oats all stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and cooked somehow), and we also had a meat pie or two. We certainly did not go hungry for too long in this city where, it seems, that there is a place to buy food in about every other shop.

Breakfast one morning: mushrooms, haggis, sausage, eggs.

Breakfast one morning: mushrooms, haggis, sausage, eggs.

Scottish scones.

Scottish scones.

The fish 'n chips with mashy peas.

The fish ‘n chips with mashy peas.

Edinburgh Castle sits high upon a crag in the middle of the city, and, from the Prince Street Gardens below, it is a formidable sight. I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been for any opposing military force to climb the cliffs in order to overtake the city. Which, I would guess, is one of the reasons why Edinburgh Castle is where it is. I kept trying to get the perfect picture as we walked along the gardens–wanting the green of the trees, the brown of the castle and buildings, and the blue of the sky all in one. We had one very nice day, weather-wise, and one rainy day. The last day was fine–no rain, but not much blue sky and sun. Also, in regards to historical architecture, Edinburgh’s New Town (designed in the 18th century and is the world’s most complete and unspoilt example of Georgian architecture and town planning) and Old Town (‘jagged, jumbled maze of historic masonry riddled with closes, stairs, vaults, and wynds [narrow alleys] leading off the cobbled ravine of the Royal Mile, the thoroughfare which links Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse’) were both declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Twilight our last evening in Edinburgh.

Twilight our last evening in Edinburgh.

The neighborhood we walked through every day.

The neighborhood we walked through every day.

As tired and sore as I usually felt, walking through these neighborhoods was enjoyable due to their unique beauty.

If ever you get the chance to visit this city, I would recommend it. Although I was here in 1979 following a short term mission in Scotland with Teen Missions International, I do not remember much, if anything, of my visit. (as they say, ‘youth is wasted on the young’) Maybe that is why I tend to take tons of pictures on my travels–more to help me remember the things I saw, the people I met, the feelings I felt.

Syttende Mai

Paul was saying that it is a good thing that Syttende Mai (the 17th of May, the day the Norwegians celebrate their constitution and independence) only comes once a year. The preparation, festivities, parades, programs, food, and gatherings take it out of a person! We started our day with a breakfast at 7:30 am and didn’t end until we left the church’s party at 8:30 pm. (well, we did take a little break for an hour and a half at 4:00, but I used that time to also whip up some cream for the bløtkake I baked the night before)

My attempt at a bløtkake to bring to the church's party.

My attempt at a bløtkake to bring to the church’s party.

We had been invited for a very festive and fancy breakfast by our friends, Asbjørn and Astrid, and there were a total of 11 people in attendance. Although champagne is a traditional drink at a Syttende Mai celebratory breakfast, it was not here because most of us would be driving later this morning. I will never tire of seeing ladies in their beautiful bunad (traditional costume, unique to one’s place of birth in Norway) and the men (and boys!) dressed in their Sunday finest.

The table sits ready for a party.

The table sits ready for a party.

Special breakfast food was prepared for today.

Special breakfast food was prepared for today.

While we are enjoying one another, the host continues to serve.

While we are enjoying one another, the host continues to serve.

Dressed for a party!

Dressed for a party!

Laughing about something (and Carmen #4)

Laughing about something (and Carmen #4)

After breakfast, we went to the program and parade at the Rygge Kirke, the very old church in the kommune, or district, in which our hosts live and our friend teaches. The district’s school children all walk in their own parade, and each town or district has their own series of programs for the day. The weather was rather cool for mid-May, and rain was threatening (although the forecast had improved nearly hourly in the days preceding).

The Rygge Mens Chorus.

The Rygge Mens Chorus.

The children's parade.

The children’s parade.

Everyone joined in the festivities at the park across the street from the church.

Everyone joined in the festivities at the park across the street from the church.

Cool with rain occasionally falling kept us from staying too long.

Cool with rain occasionally falling kept us from staying too long.

When we all decided that we were cold enough, we headed back to our friends’ for an informal open house-style lunch of pølse, pasta salad, and ice cream cake–all very traditional Norwegian items for an afternoon barbeque (well, except for the pasta salad; Astrid made that because it was a typical American dish!) Although we started out with just 7 people altogether, by the middle of the afternoon, the number had nearly doubled. It was all so informal and welcoming–one could tell that these folk were family to one another. (and some were)

The party keeps getting bigger.

The party keeps getting bigger.

Paul wants you to know that he did not make this cake.

Paul wants you to know that he did not make this cake.

There is rarely a break in the conversation.

There is rarely a break in the conversation.

Following our little break back at our apartment, we walked to church (and carrying, on a glass plate and trying not to trip, the bløtkake I had prepared) for the service and party afterwards. There was special music, a remembrance of the history of Syttende Mai, singing, and a sermon led by a delightful and dedicated missionary from Ireland to Norway. I had asked beforehand if it would be possible to gather all of the church in the front of the sanctuary for a group picture, as I wanted to remember them all (and, we were told, they had not done this practically ever!) Although the people seemed rather surprised at this request, and an observer might have thought that it was a little confusing at first, everyone got into place and were happy to oblige.

Special music in the program.

Special music in the program.

The Den Evangeliekirken Forsamling.

The Den Evangeliekirken Forsamling.

This was all followed by a pølse and dessert dinner downstairs in the fellowship hall. There was plenty of cake, ice cream, and coffee for everyone, and people didn’t start to leave until about an hour or so later. I am sure our guest for these past ten days, Bonnie, enjoyed everyone as they did her. I am so glad that we could host her and that she was able to experience the gracious hospitality that we have enjoyed during these past four months in Moss.

Pavlova and two bløtkaker.

Pavlova and two bløtkaker.

Otto and Grethe, who was in charge of the kitchen tonight.

Otto and Grethe, who was in charge of the kitchen tonight.

The children marched in and sang

The children marched in and sang “Happy Birthday to Norge!”

Bonnie choosing well.

Bonnie choosing well.

“Songs with Rain in the Titles” for 100,

“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down…”

“Oh, it never rains in Southern California”

“Here Comes the Rain Again”

“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”

“Singing in the Rain”

Okay, that’s enough of that. We were told that it rains quite a bit in Bergen. In fact, my friend, Aase, who was born in Bergen, but moved away when she was only 6 months old so she doesn’t have the very special dialect of the native Bergeners, tells us that out of every three days in Bergen, one of them will have rain. Bonnie and I were going to be in Bergen over a three day period, so we were hoping to get some dry weather. It actually rained every day of the three day period. :-/

However, we were fortunate to have completely clear weather from the time we stepped out on Tuesday morning until about 5 minutes away from our hotel that evening. Yay!

We arrived into Bergen, where, if memory serves, one can purchase an umbrella from a vending machine at the train station, and it was pouring rain. The directions to our hotel said that it was less than one mile away, and that it should only take about 17 minutes to walk there. I think that was if one knew exactly where one was going. This was not the case. I think it took us about 45 minutes to finally arrive, after stopping two people for directions, and we as well as some of the clothing in our suitcases were wet. That didn’t stop us from making the most of our brief time in Bergen, a town which, one could argue, is one of the most picturesque cities in Norway.

Pretty fountain down the street from our hotel.

Pretty fountain down the street from our hotel.

Pretty street seen the next day.

Pretty street seen the next day.

Our first stop seeing Bryggen.

Our first stop seeing Bryggen.

Bryggen.

Bryggen.

After a refueling of waffles and coffee at our hotel, we stepped out to see the Bryggen, or ‘The Wharf’, a group of over 50 buildings which are collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site, voted as such for its cultural and historical significance. Originally established as the center of the Hanseatic commercial activity around 1360, many are occupied these days with museums, unique shops, and cafes/restaurants.

I love shopping in this place! Pretty much anything one could want to buy that is typical Norwegian one can find here. I may add that it is not a coincidence that cruise ships park themselves right at the end of this shopping mecca. As we perused the shops, Bonnie and I were thought to be cruise passengers more than once. And, yes, I did buy something. It was a brooch, a silver reproduction of a old Norse snake shaped something like an infinity symbol. Oh, and pin for Paul’s pin collection, for, even though he was not in Bergen this time, he, apparently, still felt the necessary psycho-kinetic connection to Bergen. 😉

After listening to raindrops falling on the little skylights in our hotel room during the night, we awoke to a semi-clear sky–hurra! It looked like the Fløybanen was a go for the day! That is one of the most popular activities of visitors to Bergen–taking the funicular up to the top of Mount Fløyen to enjoy the view of Bergen from way up high. And for the bargain price of 85 NOK, round trip, (about $11), it was well worth the money for two ‘rides’, a beautiful view of the harbor of Bergen, and, if one wants, the opportunity to hike around the top. We did not hike. But we did pose for pictures with a troll.

The Fløybanen and the old part of Bergen.

The Fløybanen and the old part of Bergen.

View of Bergen harbor from the top of Mount Fløyen.

View of Bergen harbor from the top of Mount Fløyen.

Popular photo op spot.

Popular photo op spot.

We meandered around the back neighborhood from Bryggen after our Fløybanen trip, and had a charming visit with an antique store owner and her husband. She kept the most well-organized and tidy antique store I have ever seen. I really wanted to buy more small spoons (because do you really ever have enough of those things?), but I suppressed that urge. (Paul: take note)

Small spoons!

Small spoons!

A tour of the city aboard a regular city bus was our next adventure. We had a general idea of where it was going, and we were just planning on taking it on its entire round trip. The added bonus was the required 15 minute bus driver break at the top of a hill which gave us a chance to walk around and see a different view of Bergen.

Dinner that evening was along the wharf, at Fiskeskål. We each ordered an assortment of fish along with delicious breads, roasted potatoes, and salad greens. We returned to our hotel for a brief respite before our 9:30 pm reservation at a little restaurant down the street from our hotel, Spisekroken, which Trip Advisor listed as the #5 (out of 255) restaurant in all of Bergen. 🙂 Yep, just livin’ the life here in Norway.

My dessert of raspberry mousse in a white chocolate tube etc.

My dessert of raspberry mousse in a white chocolate tube etc.

Still raining in Bergen!

Still raining in Bergen!