I received a comment the other day asking, “Where are all the people?” and I suppose that’s fair. I’m clearly more interested in art and architecture then I am in documenting the lives of complete strangers. That been said I would probably take more pictures of people here if we had met any Norwegians. In point of fact, with the exception of Jon who was kind enough to pick us up at the airport the day we arrived, we haven’t met any Norwegians. I know they’re here somewhere. Perhaps the gal in the supermarket is Norwegian, although her English is so perfect, maybe not. The fella at the local snack bar is Scottish. We met a potter in Bergen who is English, went to school in South Dakota and married a Norwegian. Maybe we can meet him? All the bartenders are English, who along with their neighbors in the Emerald Isle are clearly the world’s most avid drinkers. All the waitresses are Swedish, who since the oil boom have turned into Norway’s poor relations. And almost all the tourists are Asians, with a slight smattering of Spaniards. Oh, I almost forgot, the girl in the Tourist Bureau is Norwegian but she’s moving to Budapest in two weeks so she doesn’t really count. There are no festivals here this month and a lot of shops are closed. We have been told that’s because all the Norwegians have fled to Spain where they are assured of sunshine. Even small cities have direct flights to Malaga, Alicante, Majorca and the Canary Islands to help facilitate the mass exodus.
Once we were in Liechtenstein and asked a waitress if she was local. She laughed and said that she was Portuguese and that if we wanted to meet any Liechtensteinians we would need to go to the bank, that being both their workplace and spiritual home. That’s somewhat problematic now. With the advent of ATMs we haven’t needed to go into a foreign bank since we were in Turkey over 25 years ago. Perhaps we should go into the Sparbank in Bergen and ask, “Where the hell are all the Norwegians?”
In A Nutshell
We took the world famous Flamsbanen as part of the “Norway In A Nutshell” tour, which is billed as the world’s most beautiful train ride. It runs from Myrdal on the mountain plateau down to Flam on the banks of the great Sognefjorden.
It’s Party Time
Our entire train was filled with a huge tour group from Sichuan Province China. Wendi and I were the only non-Asians on the train. I love these people. In Norway for just 16 days but the rumpus never stops.
The party began when they handed around dehydrated fish nuggets of some kind that we were encouraged to share. They devoured them. Truly the most God Awful things I have ever put in my mouth, I can still taste them.
The men cracked open a quart of single malt scotch at 8:15am and had drained the bottle in less then an hour.
And talk about equipment, they were a legion of picture takers. I think they must all be product testers for Sony or Samsung. And they were fascinated with snow-covered mountains. Every time the mountains came into view the entire group would leap to that side of the train and take hundreds of pictures. We were certain the car was going to tip over.