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Monday, July 30, 2018

Filling the Bucket, Day 3 - On-Board the Viking Star

On the North Sea, in route to Eidfjord, Norway

Our third day in Bergen spent on a tour of the city, a museum trip and (for me) two walks.

(Center City Bergen)

(Simple, but yet pretty...the entrance to a restaurant in Bergen)

The Hanseatic Museum (link HERE) tells the story of how a bunch of German businessmen basically controlled trade over part of Northern Europe for hundreds of years.  It's interesting stuff and the museum would have been more engaging if it weren't for the fact that it was: A) Stinking hot and B) Filled with a gaggle of French tourists who blocked what were some fairly small passageways.  Between the stale air and the smell of 25-year-old codfish, I was about 5 minutes away from an asthma attack.  Anyway, we managed to outflank the French, something that history has shown to be entirely possible

Speaking of hot, our Day 1 in Bergen happened to occur the hottest day on record ever in the city.  Ever.  I think it was 90 degrees or something like that in a town where there is basically no air conditioning.  Why no air conditioning?  Because it's freak'n Norway, that's why!   A hot day in these parts is in the 70's this time of year.  

On the Water
I've never been on a cruise ship, so naturally, this is my first time actually seeing one head out of port.  It was, well, underwhelming.  I kind of expected the ship's whistle-thingie (i.e. the movie Titanic) to blow loudly as the ship pushed off of the dock, but alas, the actual event was far more underwhelming.  It just, well, started up and went.

What hasn't been underwhelming?  Actually being on the water.

Factoid:  While I have my share of quirks, two things that I am completely fine with...and in fact enjoy...are:
  • Small, enclosed spaces.
  • Being on it a plane, train, or (now) ship...while it's in motion.
Motion sickness?  I've got the opposite.  In fact, as I am writing this portion of the posting, the ship is rolling back in forth as we plow through the coast of Norway, on the North Sea.  It is, in a word, beautiful, in terms of how it looks, sounds, feels, and smells.

(I know, not scenic, but I'm trying to create a visual...)

(A more scenic photo, taken as we were heading out to sea)

Day 4 involves a more remote country in Norway, and potentially a hike to a Viking burial ground.

Book Review
As a kind of coda to this posting, I just finished Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace*.  I wouldn’t recommend the book, by the way, mostly because it’s something of a challenging read.  I had hoped it would be a kind of modern-day Hunter S. Thompson (HST) kind of thing, but where HST would take you on an ether fueled road-trip through bat country, the late Foster-Wallace makes you meander through a kind of disjointed jungle of observations about lobsters, porn conventions, political campaigns, and talk-radio.  For me, it was the literary equivalent of lead:  Pretty damn dense and not much fun at parties (I don’t like parties, by the way).  That noted I would recommend Foster-Wallace’s This Is Water, which is one of the best "read in one sitting" books out there, full of important stuff.

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(*) Speaking of David Foster Wallace, you can blame him for the annoying end-notes I sometimes use in postings.  He uses them quite frequently in Consider the Lobster, and while I love the concept, the execution left something to be desired, as in the paperback edition of the book they are very, very small.

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