6 June 2008

Bergen



The road from Sognefjell to Bergen leads over a last 1000m pass and then the terrain gets so steep and rocky that there are simply no more roads other than the national highway. The highway is very narrow, traffic is horrific and I have the impression that I spend more time inside of tunnels than outside. My nerves are at their limit - a riding mistake can have very serious consequences here. I don't feel well and my stomache aches from the stress. I take long breaks between the tunnels and try to find bypasses but there aren't any.

This stretch of the road is not recommendable for cyclists and as I happen to learn later: it is not recommended to cycle here - the guidebooks suggest to take the train into Bergen.

Well... I tell myself that you can't be a winner everyday and finally get my humor back by blasting AC/DC's "Highway to hell" on my little handlebar stereo... then Metallica and Rage Against The Machine take over. It works.
And then - finally - I find a cycling track following an old road along the shoreline. I don't mind the road conditions, it could as well be deep mud here or river pebbles. I would still prefer to push or carry my bike rather than spending another minute in one of the hellish tunnels. But the road is tarmaced and nice and peaceful and takes me into the center of Bergen. And suddenly I realize that this is the end of my time in Norway. After seven months in this wonderful country I will leave for Great Britain.



Downtown Bergen I visit the famous "Brygge", a UNESCO protected area of old wooden buildings in the harbour. It is spoiled with tourist shops nowadays but still gives you an impression of how life in a fishing and trading harbour must have been hundreds of years ago. I find one alley especially authentic - a strong stench of rotten fish and vegetables creeps through the stilted wooden floor. When we think about the good old times we usually see nice architecture, wood carvings and old taverns. But we forget how much it must have smelled in those times before washing machines, deodorants, automated floor cleaning machines and central garbage collection had been invented.


I didn't plan to stay too long in Bergen but unfortunately I just missed the ferry to Newcastle and the next ferry leaves in 4 days. I don't know really what to do with 4 whole days and start wandering around the city center.
As I walk over the main square I see a group of Rastafarians setting up a massive wall of loudspeakers - the Bergen Reggae Festival is about to start...
Wait a minute, aren't those guys over there Zlatan and Espen, the guys who used to play Reggae in our bar in Tromso? Yes, it is them! And the Rastas are Mungus HiFi from Glasgow in Scotland. They need help setting up their venue and so I am hired for two days helping with the light installation for a free ticket and a couple of beer. I love it.
I also meet Erik, a guy who is about to cycle from Bergen to China (he has some sort of a bet about it going with some friends) and a Portugese guy who had already cycled around Europe for the last 5 years (he stands in the harbour with his bike and a map of Europs and tourists tip him money for the next 5 years). Then I meet Janine who invites me to a BBQ on an island on the coast. Time flies and suddenly I am not looking forward to taking the next ferry to Newcastle anymore. I wouldn't mind staying another 4 days...

1 comment:

  1. …Bergen wouldn’t had minded either! All that you missed - bunches of Pizza Grandiosa, waffles with wiener, popsicle, “vorspiels”, countless mountain races and 100 % humidness – you might have a second glance! ;-)

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