Greetings from Bergen, Norway, known by many people as the home of famed composer Edvard Grieg. This is my third time in Bergen, and this time I am here to join the Viking Sea on two back-to-back 15-day Viking Homelands cruises (Bergen to Stockholm and then vice-versa) as one of their featured speakers. I will be joined on these cruises by other speakers, including a Resident Historian. They should be great cruises with plenty of culture to be shared and enjoyed by all.
The population of Bergen is around 300,000 (the second largest city in Norway), a far amount more when you add in the outlying areas. The popularity of the city and its surrounding natural beauty created the demand for expanded airport facilities that can now accommodate about ten million passengers per year—that’s over 30 passengers per city resident! When I flew in yesterday from Copenhagen (overall travel was Boise to San Francisco to Copenhagen to Bergen), I got on the light rail and took it from one end (airport) to the other end (by the lake in the center of town). The cost? Nineteen Norwegian Kroner, less than $2.50 US. Yes, I had to walk about a half-mile to the hotel, but it was an easy walk with just my backpack and 22″ carry-on luggage (that’s all I brought for the 30 days of cruising and speaking on board!). Travel is much easier when you “pack light” (correct grammar, of course, is “pack lightly”).
Last night’s dinner was fish and chips at the Bergen Fish Market, right on the old harbor. The fish was freshly caught cod, and the area was bustling with activity. Tour groups were there; teens and couples were abundant as some of them were either going to, or coming back from, a midway-type area set up along the harbor banks. There were several high-flying rides, some low-tech activities for the younger set, and lots of food choices. I’d already eaten so I was not tempted by the pink cotton candy or the bag of caramel popcorn.
Being about 60 degrees northern latitude, the days are definitely getting longer here in Bergen. Last night’s sunset (per online sources; I wasn’t awake for it) was 10:26 PM, and sunrise this morning was about a quarter to five. I will be back in Bergen in four weeks (June 20), just a day shy of the Summer Solstice. Projected sunrise and sunset times for then are 4:09 AM and 11:10 PM, respectively. Nineteen hours of day; dark shades are definitely needed if you wan some sleep.
Drizzling rain and mid-50 temperatures (about 12 C) were predicted for today, and the wet roof tiles I see from my hotel room window (10 AM local time) are a strong indication of an accurate prediction. I’ve spent a few days here before, so walking around the town in this weather is not overly appealing. I will probably review the presentations I will be giving on the cruises (I get on the ship tomorrow), and do some work on the new series of novelettes I am writing with Troy Lambert.
The first book comes out in e-format on June 12, and then one each month (second Wednesday of the month) for the following 49 months! YES; that is one a month for 50 months. Why 50? There are 50 US. states; the series is called Capital City Murders, and it features photographer Nick who is on assignment to spend a week visiting each U.S. state capital and take photographs. There is a murder (or two) in each capital city, and Nick’s keen photographic eye helps solve the case. You can get the “Introduction to Nick” for FREE on the website CapitalCityMurders.com/the-books.
The morning news here showed some of the tornado activity in the middle section of the U.S. I hope everyone is able to take safe shelter, and that the resulting damage is minimal.
I plan to be posting frequently during the cruise, including our itinerary. You can, of course, see our planned ports by visiting the Viking Homelands cruise online.
Stuart Gustafson is America’s International Travel Expert® who speaks on cruise ships, writes novels (see his new Capital City Murders series), sends out an infrequent newsletter (almost every month!), is an avid TripAdvisor reviewer, and loves everything about travel. Visit his website at www.stuartgustafson.com. You can also connect with him personally on Facebook and/or with him and other travelers on his International Travel Expert page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/International-Travel-Expert-147321228683651/
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