November 2nd, 2022 / posted by paularath

View of Noresund, Norway from our train window between Oslo and Bergen.

It was time to leave Oslo for Bergen, where we were to board our Viking ship to take us north with the hopes of seeing the Northern Lights. It was really hard to say aloha to Erik Holtedahl, whom I will always think of as “my Norwegian brother.” He is going to try to come to our 2025 Punahou reunion. What a joy that will be!

Jerry and I took a train from Oslo to Bergen so we could see some of the countryside. It was an ordinary commuter train with lovely big windows to stare out of. The train ride is about five hours long and it was quiet, occupied mainly with students returning to their university classes in Bergen or business folks going about their business.

Every view had its own beauty, pristine and serene. Water is everywhere in Norway, with fjords and lakes springing up throughout the country. However it isn’t frozen over, even in the midst of a wintery February terrain. It often has this foggy mystical appearance. Simply gorgeous, but a bit disconcerting without more snow!

A typical snow scene in Geilo on our train ride to Bergen. But the snow is not as deep or plentiful as it has always been in Norway.

Erik told us that there has been very little snow this year throughout Norway. In fact, he has seldom visited his family’s mountain cabin this year because there is barely enough snow for his cross country ski trips. Global warming has been very obvious – and clearly detrimental – throughout the country.

 

We highly recommend Hotel Park Bergen!

We loved our hotel in Bergen, the family owned Hotel Park Bergen. http://www.hotelpark.no Erik recommended it and we are so happy he did. It’s centrally located and is superbly comfortable and welcoming. It is run by the daughter of the woman who started the hotel and everyone on the staff treats you like family. The 35 rooms are spacious and beautifully appointed and the entire hotel feels like a private art gallery. The art is eclectic and much to or liking!

Jerry in the Breakfast Room on our first morning at Hotel Park. So many choices!

We happened to be staying in the hotel on the first day it had been open since November, 2021. I think there were only two rooms occupied, so it felt as though we were the only people there. But a couple of days later it was full, due to its popularity.

The morning smorgasbord was superb, with a plethora of healthy options, including Jerry’s favorite, smoked salmon on a bagel. Norwegian jams and cheeses are some of the best in the world and there were many choices.  And even the Breakfast Room is a haven for art!

Ochre is a popular color for Bergen Buildings.

On a walking tour of Bergen’s waterfront, we saw quite a collection of odd artistic murals on walls. I have no idea if the Bergen artists are part of Pow! Wow!, or if they have even heard of it. But I think Jasper Wong, one of the founders of Pow! Wow!, might want to make a trip to Bergen to see what the artists there have conceived!

Bergen is covered with artistic and humorous graffiti!

Is this little girl studying to be a fish dentist? Or is the fish trying to bite off her cute little turned up nose? Who knows what lurks in the mind of the muralist who conceived this quirky piece of art?

Another example of Bergen wall art. Jasper Wong, do you know this artist? What could he do with the little pigs on Waokanaka Street?

Just a few facts about Bergen:

  • Population: 285,000
  • 28,000 students, 10 percent of the city’s population
  • The Polish people are the largest immigrant group in Bergen
  • Graffiti is welcomed as an art form.

And a few fast facts about the Kingdom of Norway:

  • Population: 5.3 million
  • Currency: Norwegian krone
  • Norway ranks #4 in GDP per capita
  • 400 islands with ferries going between them
  • 65 electric car models are found in Norway
  • Oslo has made the parking laws so strict that it has encouraged most people to ride the bus or ride a bike. Public transportation is fantastic!
  • I never met a single person who didn’t speak English.

I am so proud to be a Norwegian! And I even have a Norwegian middle name (Ragna, pronounced Rungna or Ranya) which is from my beloved paternal grandmother, Ragna Helsher Rath.

Paula Rath

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Suzanna Kuhlemann
November 3rd, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Wonderful impressions of the norwegian landscapes!

It must be beautiful to travel Norway being such a contrast and then return home to tropical Hawaii.

Paula Ragna Rath- that second name suits, sounds and fits you absolutely well.

Greetings from your german friend,
Suzanna

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