July 10, 2003
Latitude: 60º 24' N
Longitude: 5º 19' E
God dag (that's hello in Norwegian) I have spent the last couple days touring the area. Bergen is a city of about 230,000 people. Mountains and water surround it. Many of the streets are cobblestone, there are buildings dating back to the 12th century. In the center of the city is the Torget fish market. It is a dynamic village of fishmongers selling everything from both farm-raised and wild salmon to monkfish and caviar. I saw whale meat for sale. It is dark reddish brown, looking more like beef than anything else. Norway continues to have a small whaling industry. It is primarily so that they will not loose the skills and traditions surrounding whaling, which used to be a large part of their culture. There is also a small sealing industry to keep down the seal population, which competes with fishermen for fish. Seal pelts and reindeer pelts can also be bought at the Torget Market.
Yesterday I took the train to Flåm where I caught a boat that meandered through Nærøyfjorden, a finger off of the larger Sognefjorden. The scenery was spectacular! I have always known that glaciers can carve the landscape but until I saw the depth and vastness of Norway's fjords I could not visualize the magnitude of energy behind a glacier. I am struck by how much water there is here. There is still snow in the mountains melting into hundreds of waterfalls cascading into rivers flowing into the arms of the fjords leading into the sea. We passed villages along the fjord that were accessible only by water. High along the banks of the fjord I saw sheep and mountain goats. I felt like I had gone back in time a couple hundred years.