I’m going to write about weaving soon, which may be of interest only to my dear Scandinavian Weavers Study Group friends. To start, here are some general observations and facts about beautiful Bergen and beyond.
About 230 cruise ships visit the city each year. Very large ships sit imposingly right in the center of town; those are dwarfed by the larger ships that moor in deeper water a bit farther out. It’s odd to see an enormous ship right next to a city street.
Why do the Japanese have such large suitcases?
There seemed to be a lot of people smoking – Italians and Britsh. There were a noticeable number of drunk people in downtown Bergen on Saturday night. How can they afford it at $13 a beer? “They drink at home and then come,” Ingebjorg noted.
Norwegian roads include many tunnels, so many that the tourist association once came up with the slogan, “See Norway from the inside.” At one point there were accidents or people running out of gas more that 200 days per year in Bergen. To help with the issue of people falling asleep at the wheel, they painted the tunnel interiors white and levy heavy fines on those who run out of gas in a tunnel. It’s been successful in reducing delays.
Tunnels have made a huge difference for commuters driving in a city filled with mountains and coastline. Ingebjorg pointed out a stretch that now takes ten minutes, but used to take two hours. She once knitted an entire sweater for her son in one week while stopped in morning and evening traffic. “And remember, I was the driver,” she said.
When the road narrows to a width of only one vehicle, the yellow divider line disappears. Cars take turns navigating the stretch, which often includes hairpin turns. Waits can be long. And tour buses are big! Ingebjorg said, “That’s why I insisted on a Norwegian driver.”
Leaving Bergen and traveling eastward across the Sognefjord area, the bus traveled through fjord and mountain landscape that seemed almost fake. Really? Every time I looked out, there was a green valley, snow-capped peaks, and picturesque cottages and homes? And sheep? On a small road winding up to the historic Nedreberg Farm, horses were blocking the road. The rivers were swollen and rushing after a warm day with lots of rain and glacier melting. The mountainsides were etched with waterfalls. Goats huddled forlornly under small ledges on craggy hillsides in the rain. Ingebjorg said that one time she stopped the goats were so curious they went right into cars – likely after a favorite food, tobacco.