Five days in Bergen flew. It helped that I was hung over for an entire one of those days. I’m sitting in the airport now waiting for my flight to Copenhagen (locally referred to as Kobenhavn). Watching the closed circuit televisions in the airport, it starkly reminds I didn’t pick the right continent for “let’s explore the world with minimal savings” when it displays the current value of US currency versus others. It’s eating leftover bread that I purchased at a market over the weekend. Glad I brought what was left as the airport food is, in scale with normal airport inflation, completely unreasonable for me to even consider, at about $20USD for a slice of pizza and a coke. Mental note: Should find a way to get paid in NOK (Norwegian Kroner) and live somewhere cheaper and more populous.
Norway was fantastic. Both Oslo, Bergen and the cross-country train ride were all unforgettable. The last five days in Bergen were a blast. I’m so glad that I met my new friend, Elisabeth, in Belgrade’s airport on my way to the EXIT Festival almost a month ago and that she mentioned Couchsurfing and her travel run. I’m not sure I would have added Bergen to my itinerary if I hadn’t!
Bergen reminded me very much North Carolina. More than an arms worth of gorgeous tree-filled mountains, very laid-back residents, less facial hair. Last night, we attended a free concert presented by the political party targeted in the recent Oslo attacks. It was good to see a dirty rock club after months without. The concert drew a good crowd of primarily 14 to 20 year olds, including a few of the kids who were on the island during the shooting. The early bands were very folky (again, with the North Carolina similarities, though with less strings and more overt influences) and as the night progressed it got more rock and roll. One act’s mustaches presented an hilarious conversation with my female Norwegian friends on the subject of facial hair. To add to my list of things Norwegians aren’t really crazy about: facial hair and pickles. I also learned at the show I unfortunately had missed Sondre Lerche and one of the guys from Kings of Convenience playing together at the same venue, Garage, the night I arrived in Bergen.
As I sat through band after band, alternating between English and Norwegian, I couldn’t help thinking how difficult it must be to write a songs in your second or even third language. How much knowledge of a language is necessary to understand nuances and things like irony. Furthermore, how bands from places like Norway must feel a certain pressure to write their songs in English or a more common language to aid commercial and touring success. I’m not saying it’s not possible for them to be successful in a foreign language. Look at bands like Sigur Ros. I consider myself a big fan of theirs and I have no earthly idea what they’re talking about. It’s not about lyrics, it’s about music. What you get from the music will definitely be influenced on your familiarity to the language of the music, whether the musical style or the lyrics.
This afternoon after frantically writing my postcards, finding stamps and locating my bus stop to head to the airport, I had a few minutes to rest while I waited for the flybuss to arrive. Sitting on the bench, relieving my back of my pack and enjoying the chilly sea breeze the giant grey and black crows so common gathered near the fish market, hoping for something to eat. I wish I had spent more time exploring the fish market as I see that the food there was much cheaper than elsewhere. Norway is also known for it’s whaling, and what was being offered just behind me? Whale sandwiches for only a couple dollars. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat whale.
The flight staff boards the plane and soon they’re announcing we will begin boarding soon. Right before boarding I met an older couple on my flight from Marietta, Georgia, only about 30 minutes from where I live. On the train from Oslo to Bergen, we had a half an hour stop mid-trip and most of the train got off. I asked an American family onboard if they heard the train announcements concerning the stop and they informed me I would stay on the same train to continue to Bergen. Funny enough, they were from Memphis, Tennessee. It’s such a small world. And I’m off to Denmark. Goodbye land of Vikings and trolls!