May 12, 2008

Deacceleration

This being a three-day weekend in Norway since it's Whitsund, I decided that I should do something different, so I went looking for a day trip. I found one that would take me by boat to the barony in Rosendal. It said trips daily Monday through Friday and I wondered if that included this Monday, which is a public holiday. Well, their website sold me a ticket for today, so I showed up at the pier and waited for the boat.

And waited.

And discovered some other people waiting.

We were about ten people who had all managed to buy tickets for a trip today, only to discover that the boat had no intention of sailing this particular Monday. The largest group were a bunch of Icelanders, some who lived in Bergen, and they decided to drive to Rosendal. I ended up talking to a couple from Singapore and we agreed to go to the tourist information office and see if they could help us.

The service at the tourist information office was impressive. Not only did they refund our tickets (NOK 660 each), but they gave us free Bergen Cards (a value of NOK 190) which gave us a discount for another boat trip. So I asked if I could join the pair and they happily said yes. I ended up spending all day with Patrick and May. I'll bet if that other boat had sailed, I wouldn't have had so much fun.

We sailed north from town into the Osterfjord, not far from where I lived as a child. We had perfect weather, and both May and Patrick loved getting a good look at a Norwegian fjord with rising and steep mountains. Singapore is flat and built up. They were curious about things Norwegian and happy to tell me about things Singaporean. May was also quick to find plenty of blankets so we could sit on deck and brave the north wind a bit.

That boat trip took four hours so when we got back to town, we were hungry. I took May and Patrick to Bryggestuen and they were absolutely delighted with the Bergen fish soup, which is a specialty of the restaurant. I had the special of the day, trout with cucumber salad followed by cheesecake.

Afterwards, we all wanted a cup of coffee but we also wanted Norwegian waffles. Turns out that the Norwegian waffle is becoming an endangered species. Nobody makes them any more. They used to be a staple of any coffee shop but no more. The thing about Norwegian waffles is that they are floppy. They are served hot or cold, with jam or that funny brown cheese Norwegians like, and they are soft. And tasty. But not to be found. We gave up and went in search of coffee.

So I took May and Patrick to Det lille kaffekompaniet, a tiny coffee bar in what looks like an alley right above the funicular's lower station. It's not an alley; it's an original cobblestoned street crowded by old, charming wooden houses. We sat out on some steps with our coffees and teas and chatted. We'd been talking all day, actually, about everything under the sun, and some interesting concepts that our respective countries and cultures brought up. May and Patrick had the impression that Norway was very laid back. They were looking at some Norwegians just enjoying a beer in the sunshine. Asians don't know how to slow down and just enjoy the moment, May told me. "They don't know how to deaccelerate."

As we sat in this quiet and quaint side street, holding onto steaming cups, delighting in a calm and pleasant late afternoon, I said to May, "We're really deaccelerating now." And we were.

6 comments:

Sparkling Red said...

It's wonderful that you spent the day with new friends! Good times.
:-)

I have to say that floppy waffles with funny brown cheese does not sound very appetizing! ;-)

Keera Ann Fox said...

May and Patrick were fun company. Now, where's you're sense of adventure? The waffles taste like waffles, and the brown cheese is sweet.

Sparkling Red said...

If you recommend it, I would at least give it a try. Although it's not likely that I'll find it on a menu in Canada. ;-) I'd probably like it. I'm an adventurous eater.

Keera Ann Fox said...

You might be able to find the brown cheese if Toronto has a Scandinavian section.

Anonymous said...

My Aussie son who is a permanent resident in Oslo, Norway has just arrived home for a holiday in Australia so the first thing I did was to go out and buy 2 small pkts of Sweet Brown Norwegian cheese from Melbourne Vic Market, jam, sour cream and here I am now looking for the right recipe....wow those Norwegian waffles are great.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Yes, Norwegian waffles are good! Very nice of you to make them for your son. I hope you both enjoy them!