Here we sit wrapping mushrooms, green onions, and avocado in spinach leaves. Our boxed wine is refreshing after another day of hiking, or "fiking" as I am starting to call it.......fake hiking (Kristin has a different term then fake...)
Bergen has been kind to us so far. The rain hasn't saturated into our shoes and jackets just yet.
Bergen is young and stylish. There is so much character. The colorful houses make the weather seem less grey. Yesterday the sun tried so hard to shine and when it did we found our way to it. The brief moments of blue sky connected all the dots...this is why they accept the challenge of winter and a rainy spring...
As a lover of hiking, part of me is mad at myself for visiting at this time of year. Mostly everything is closed and all you can look at are brochures of beautiful trails or summer activities. Part of me is happy though. It has created an absolute desire to come back, but it has allowed me to see it how it truly is. Our train ride was a little more than 7 hours from Oslo to here and it was wild. We started in greenery and went through so many landscapes, I was seriously glued to the window. Every twenty minutes you were rounding another bend to a whole different setting. At one point a snow covered fjord was home to a lake hidden beneath snow, through the next tunnel, a warming green mountain, with its water source shedding its winter skin. We passed through the highest train stop in Europe, which happens to be a ski resort, and the next town, with houses literally covered in snow...I saw someone get off the train, thinking they are insane for living there.
Which brings us to Bergen, a vibrant, artistic city working hard to conquer the current season. They have insulated their scattered gardens with pine tree branches, and sure enough, little flowers are starting to grow. Stone walls line the twisting and turning roads. We spent our first day working our way to a path in the mountain that we saw people on. There were series of steps that led to other paths and some led to houses. It was a challenge to get to the maze of trails, but we finally made it.
Even the slate is alive on these trails. The moss insulates them and keeps them warm. They help the melting snow navigate their way down the mountain. We hike along side locals breathing in the clean, but cold air. The paths are established, they are heavily traveled. I was thinking about home a little bit, but I kept going back to the same thought. Who would be scared of this?
We were talking about how Americans are at such a disadvantage because we don't grow up with more than one language ( I get it, some do, but speaking for Kristin and I). I think it creates a fear to explore. I don't want to undermine violence, theft, or responsibilities that inhibit the get up and go, but if you are able and don't allow yourself to take a risk, what are you doing?
The idea can be intimidating, but to me the unexpected is intriguing. Traveling is diving into the unexpected.
You never know who you will meet, where a path will take you, or even how to get back to that path. I told Bob before I left that I would miss multitasking the most, but I am understanding now, that is all traveling is. It's trying to balance who I was, what I am doing, all my things, and what I envision. It is about keeping busy, compromising, and being okay with surprise. It's letting go of your ego and taking picture of something you think is pretty, even if it makes you look like a tourist.
It's about laughing with these Chinese girls about how big the crabs are here, and then them giving us each a claw to try.
It's about trying to bring a box of wine into a museum and searching through change for 10 Kronos to lock it in a locker, so you can be mesmerized by Picasso.
It's about budgeting, time management and vulnerability.
It's about stumbling upon a rally in honor of Women's day in the main square.
It's about inviting our hostel-mate to hike up to the capital with us and for her to say she felt inspired by us and to verbalize why our friendship has lasted 12 years.
It's about recognizing that inspiration is mutual.
The sun is shining now and I am thankful I have seen Bergen in literally, so many different lights. I thank you Bergen for reminding me that traveling is so much more than going to a place, and that nice people are all around you.