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Blog: Blog2

Grieg, Sashimi, and more snow

 I think the bed at Anne’s is actually a sofa bed, but I slept until 7:30, thank the Lord!! Perhaps that’s because it was rainy and dark? It was great to have a good night’s sleep and to no have to wait from 6 AM until 8:00 for breakfast! I got myself ready and went upstairs for my breakfast. This cost me 100 NOK ($13) extra, but I had read reviews on Airbnb that it is a good breakfast and worth it. I was happy to get a chance to see more of the house, which was just as I had expected. Every detail is thought out in a very artsy and somewhat eccentric way. You can see from the photo that it was quite a spread just for me. I girded my loins and got started.Here was a soft boiled egg, smoked salmon, bread (yes, I ate 1/2 of a piece), salami, yogurt, cereal, prosciutto with cantaloupe (yum) and coffee and juice. There was even cinnamon in the coffee, which I love. Oh, and she had 2 little cream puffs for “to end it all!” I was a stuffed piglet, but it was a good thing considering what was ahead of me.

When I went to pay her for the breakfast, it was the first opportunity we had to actually talk, so I asked her if she played the piano. She said that she has classical training but no longer has the time to practice as she should. I told her I’m a singer, and she said it would be really good for me to go to Troldhaugen, Edvard Grieg’s home. I had read about it but was a bit hesitant since it is a 20 walk to the train station (light rail), 20 minute train ride, and a 20 minute walk from the train station…..and it was raining. From my past experience, I knew that I always liked this sort of museum, so I decided to go for it. She allowed me to borrow an umbrella and leave my suitcase at her house until I was ready to return to go to the train station later in the day. Perfect.

Other than the rain and the fact that I first got on the wrong train for one stop, the trip there wasn’t too bad. When I arrived at Troldhaugen, there was a lot of construction going on, and it was difficult to even tell where the entrance was. I found it, and the workers were sympathetic with what I had been through to get there. The building where I entered was the museum and gift shop, which was very interesting. I didn’t spend as much time reading things as I could have since I wanted to be sure to have time for a late lunch at the fish market before leaving Bergen. They had some scores of Grieg’s songs available to purchase. I considered buying one, but then I realized that there were 4 volumes. I decided on buying a CD of a baritone’s recital of some of the songs in Griegs home. Just down the path from the museum is the concert hall, the house, the composer’s hut, and the grave site. I saw it all except for the grave site (didn’t want to walk down there…I’ll find it online), and I can see why Grieg was inspired to compose while living there. I’m sure it’s much more inspiring on a nice day.

Although the guy at the museum told me a way to save a bit of walking if I returned by bus, I decided the light rail was a better option for me. It wasn’t that much farther to walk and saved me a few dollars, actually. I was back in the center of Bergen pretty quickly and checked out the shopping center that is next to the station. I had read that it is the largest shopping center in Bergen. It’s like a big mall but with grocery stores in addition to clothing stores. I was hungry and ready to go to the fish market for lunch as I had planned.

I was happy to see Olge working again at Fish Me. She asked if I had done the funicular and asked about what else I had done. Then we got down to the business of planning my lunch. She said that you can request pretty much anything. If I liked a favorite type of sushi, she could make it for me. If I wanted a fresh fish cooked, they could even do that. I already had my mind set on some of her salmon sashimi, and I really just wanted a simple salad to go with it. I think it was 150 NOK (about $20). That’s actually not a bad deal for Norway, and it left my body feeling happy after the enormous breakfast.

A Celebrity Cruise very close to Anne-Helene’s!

I still had a bit of time before I planned to arrive back at Anne’s to retrieve my suitcase, so I just went in a few shops along the way, taking as much time as I could. I sort of wanted to just get to the station since I was sick of the rain. I stopped in two different book stores to see if there was a book on pronunciation of Norwegian, but I didn’t have any luck. I will have to find a bookstore at the University in Oslo. I eventually got back to her house, and we had a brief conversation about Grieg. She told me that she had either been in a performance of a play or went to one at the concert hall at Troldhaugen about his childhood. It sounded very interesting, and she said that the hall has the best acoustics she’s ever heard. She also thanked me for the note I wrote in her guest book. I’ll have to get that Norwegian diction book so that I can learn some Grieg songs and return to Troldhaugen for a recital!

Although I was a bit ahead of schedule, I went ahead to the train station. When I arrived, I realized that there were lockers at the station for suitcases for 50 NOK for 24 hours. If I had known, I would have just done this since it would have saved me a lot of walking. I had 2 hours to kill before leaving for Oslo, so I rented a locker and put everything in it. I went back to the shopping center and was so happy to be in a dry place for that long. I got an ice cream & cappuccino and bought a salad for the train ride. I also stopped in a shoe store, where I tried on a pair of shoes. They were so much more comfortable than what I was wearing and not too expensive, so I decided to buy them. My feet were happy, and I was happy to be dry.

I returned to the station, and we were all lined up to board the train. We weren’t allowed to board until about 10 minutes before it was scheduled to depart. There weren’t really that many people waiting to board, anyway, so I guess there was no big rush. I found my seat and was on a car with only two other people. Great!

I got settled in my seat and finished yesterday’s blog writing. Unfortunately, I haven’t been successful signing onto the free wifi that is on any of these trains, so it will be posted later. Judging from the stops our train would be making, we were taking basically the same route as when we came, which meant we would be going through the snowy area again. Somehow I thought we were taking a more southern route. It’s kind of fun to go from spring to the dead of winter int the same day, though! At around 6:00 I ate my caesar salad with chicken and bacon. Living in Habersham County, Georgia, I find it funny that the Norwegian word for chicken is “kylling.” It kind of makes you think twice about eating chicken—sounds so violent!

Since I’m writing while on the train, I’m now caught up to the present time. We’re now arriving in Myrdal, which is 866 meters above sea level (they post that on the screen as you’re arriving at each stop) and covered in snow. Everything looks a bit different today, and there are numerous waterfalls along the way, which I think is because of the rain. The snow is melting a bit more than it had been the other day.

OK, so at Myrdal, my train car just filled up with Indian people (from India). They’re very friendly, and several of them smiled at me as they sat down. They’re talking about ordering tea and food, I think. One guy is “taking orders.” I raised my hand to say that I would take some. I think he is offering pakora, which I’m pretty sure I had at Shehzad’s house in London. Maybe I’ll make some friends and they’ll teach me how to cook Indian food! The lady across from me asked if I know the Indian language. I said, “No, but I love Indian food. Pakora, I know!” My very quiet train ride just got a lot more exciting and interesting. It will keep me awake, and I’ll be happy as long as I have my 2 seats to myself.

As the Indians settled, things got pretty quiet again. Unfortunately, there were not secret curry or chutney recipes shared along the way. They all got off at Geilo, to my surprise. One of them said bye to me as they left. A guy with skis got on the train, so there are three of us in this car now. The remainder of the train ride was uneventful. However it was delayed a bit. We sat at one station for about 10 minutes. Overall, the ride was about 6.5 hours.

I found my new apartment very easily. It was an easy, flat 5 minute walk from the train station. The apartment, which is on the fourth floor of the building (with an elevator), is beautiful and trendy, like something you would imagine in SoHo. The host made me very comfortable with a cup of tea and a nice conversation, and I was ready to go to bed!

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