Very weird day. Started normal enough. Started walking to the aquarium but it got too hilly so we turned back. Were going to the Rosenkrantz Tower and Hakon’s Hall but got there to find that, although normally open from 12 – 6 on Thursdays (after September 1) they don’t open until 3!!
So we wandered around the shops and spent plenty of money, bought fishy stuff at the market and hit the TIC – Mirinda looking for a loo. Consequently found out that the Fana Folklore night is on tonight. These things normally finish on August 31 so we were stoked. Booked tickets at a baggage shop (?) then headed back to the hotel to wait for 3pm.
Watched Beverly Hills 90210 then set off once again site-seeing. Firstly we went to Hakon’s Hall which was pretty impressive. It takes it’s name from the builder and was erected between 1247 and 1261. Over the years it’s been through a lot, including an explosion in 1944 when a German ammunition ship blew up in the harbour just below. This left only the walls standing. It’s now used for functions by the army – the floor and roof have been replaced! We then went on to the Rozenkrantz Tower which is next door but…it was still shut!! Odd.
So we had a coffee on the Bryggen and spotted this automatic umbrella machine on the way back. Just shows how much it rains in Bergen!!
Then back to the hotel to prepare for the folklore night.
We joined the massive bus (about three full size coaches with a bendy bit in the middle and bright red) which filled up rapidly with all sorts of people. The end section where we were also contained a boisterous group of non-English speaking Italians – they were a lot of fun. An old woman in traditional costume gave us the schpiel then invited the Italian tour guide to translate but she was a mere slip of a girl and didn’t. Hopefully she will learn to in future! So, instead, the old woman gave her a ream of explanations written in French for them. Now that was weird! So, we had a bunch of Italians struggling to read French and generally trying to speak louder than anyone else.
First stop was the Fana Church and some indescribably lovely singing by an angel…or so it sounded. Then back onto the BR Bus and on to the farm.
We wandered up the hill, in the dark, until we came to a blaze of light streaming out from a big room. We entered the lovely bare wooded room with benches and tables and waited for the entertainment. Unfortunately the Italians thought that THEY were the entertainment. Any time the old woman tried to tell us something there was a loud series of ‘Shhhhh’ in various languages. It was funny but annoying as well since we only heard a bit of what she said.
We all got porridge that wasn’t porridge and flatbread, pretzels and salami. All very nice but the porridge was a bit much for the old tum. It was a strange combination of things including lots of butter.
Mirinda tried to strike up a conversation with the lonely Norwegian guy next to her:
Mirinda: Are you from Bergen?
HIM: Yes. (pause)
Mirinda: Do you like it here?
HIM: Yes. (pause)
Mirinda: Not much for conversation, eh?
Mirinda: Would you like some juice?
and his face never changed. Eerie guy. Probably eats squirrels.
Anyway, apart from Mr Personality, the night was a lot of fun with folky dancing, songs and music. We (Mirinda & I) were dragged up and danced with one of the girls – that was funny. Finally we all had to “Stand up for your country!” This meant singing a song with your kinsmen that typified your homeland.
The Italians stood up and sang all 38 verses of Ol Sole Mio, a Danish guy sang very well, some Welsh folks sang a beautiful song…in Welsh…and we sang Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. Eventually we all wandered down the hill to the BR Bus and got dropped back in Bergen.
All in all, a very Outer Limits night.