Greetings from Norway! We arrived in Bergen on Friday afternoon. After checking in to our hotel, we took a little time to explore and grab dinner at the lively fish market, then on to our guided tour of the city. Bergen's oldest section is known for its wooden houses originally built in the fifteenth century. We wound through narrow residential streets to the old city hall, which is still in use. Bergen, like Decorah, is in a valley. Another similarity to Decorah can be found in Luther's Jenson Noble Hall of Music, where the main hallway was modeled after the older streets of Bergen. The rest of the evening was free. Many of us hiked up or took the funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen for a breathtaking view of the city, harbor, and surrounding landscape. Troll statues also greeted us at the top of the mountain!
The next day's adventure was exciting for us musically-inclined folk: we visited Troldhaugen, the house where composer Edvard Grieg and his wife Nina spent twenty-two summers until Edvard's death in 1907. The couple's ashes were placed in a stone outcropping in the surrounding woods. The house was filled with paintings of the composer and several of his friends and other artists, along with Edvard's custom-made Steinway grand piano. Another delight on the expansive grounds was Edvard's composition house, where he would spend hours composing.
That night, we performed a joint concert with Skjold Nestten Janitsjar, a community band in Bergen. The band's members ranged in age from 13-65. We were able to chat with them after the concert and learn more about what it's like living in Norway. The musicians were warm and friendly to us, and very complimentary of our playing.
Keep an eye out for our next post about our cruise on the Naerøyfjord and our hostel stay in Voss!