Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Composed last night......

I was hoping to enjoy my first ‘Hansa’ beer tonight but one can’t purchase alcohol after 8pm.  Note to self.  Instead I sit at my desk warmed by the view of the sea at dusk (at 10:19pm) and a cup of Roibus tea, also a purchase from today and my favorite tea varietal.  Students pass under my 4th floor dorm window and the tambour of Norwegian flows.

I headed back into ‘city center’ today to take care of my residency permit at the Alien Office.  Yes, I’m an alien.  Quiet in the peanut gallery.  My trip was a success and I wound back through the lovely cobblestone streets of Bergen to the ‘Torget’, or market square and fish market... oh yes, after a stop at McDonalds for free internet.  I purchase as little as possible to not feel guilty using their WiFi.

But, when one must eat, eat fresh fish!  Today’s pick was a salmon open-face sandwich.  Nothing fancy but oh-so-yummy.  Just some bread and freshly cut and seasoned salmon.  Perfect.  

Winding back over to the ‘Bryggen’ (BREW-gun), the old Hanseatic trading center and the colorful A-frame buildings you see in my picture post from two days ago, I happened up the corridors between each building discovering the inner-workings of the buildings.  Eire and fascinating!  Thank goodness for Mr. Steves and the kind guide book gift from Erik and Stefi.  I was able to read about these colorful buildings and all of the history.  The wood planks holding up these buildings have seen a lot.  

A little history if I may.... Bergen was the Hanseatic League trading capital for Norway in the 12th and 13th centuries.  While the city dates from 1070, little survives before the last major fire in 1702.  As such, Bergen’s Fortress is the city’s main reminder of it’s medieval importance.  I will tour it soon! 

Back to 1702- the German Hanseatic league mariners inhabiting the tenements (the colorful buildings!) finally figured it out- fires and candles in wood buildings= disaster.  To prevent future fires, they built communal houses behind each building tenement which were the only buildings one could use any fire.  These communal buildings were where people cooked, studied and partied. 
All of this is to explain my imagination today of men and women working, laughing, crying, huddling for warmth or running from fires through these corridors.  Who knows?  I’m sure the good, the bad, and the ugly.  These were hard working and hard drinking men we are talking about here.
Pleasantly the current day corridors reveal artisan shops built into the tenements.  Local craftsmen and women display their work and tourists happily play tourist prices.  Handmade Norwegian sweaters, jewelry, fine art, and eating establishments.  The shop below was lovely handmade lace and linens, it reminds me of my great aunt Guida’s beautiful creations back in Minnesota.  He father, also my paternal grandfather’s father, came over on the boat from Norway!

Just like Guida's lace

I continue to meet nice people and feel ever resourceful.  Today was misty but cleared for a wonderful sunset....  

View from my dorm room at 9:30pm

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