Today we woke up and started out by doing things around the house. Joe did some blogging and I did laundry. The washing machine we used at the B&B was not automatic and I didn’t realize that. I kept waiting for it to go to rinse. The machine just was on wash for about 45 minutes. I went in and turned it to rinse but still it just kept washing. What I didn’t realize was that you have to put it at 0 then turn it to rinse. Put it at 0 again then spin. It was a good thing that Joe knew how to work the machine. It got done and we hung up the clothes. We have only seen one dryer in Norway. In all the B&B’s except the one by the train station in Oslo, they have had outdoor lines or indoor drying racks. We have cheated by taking pictures of pictures. This one is of four generations of Solheim men:
We ate jelly sandwiches and fruit for lunch and went out for the day. The Edvard Greig museum was the first place to go today. The museum was fascinating but my favorite part was the concert The pianist Tor Espen Aspaas was amazing and we loved the music. He played lyric music composed by Greig and alternated between early and late Greig pieces, and major and minor tones. One of our favorites was called the was The Butterfly. The Greig concert hall is small with one piano on the stage. Behind the piano is a window that looks out on a vista of a fjord or maybe a lake with trees framing the window.
The pianist told a story of how a couple days before he was playing “The Butterfly” and throughout the song two butterflies flitted around just outside the window. When the song was done they left. He said he tried to book them again but they were otherwise engaged. This is one place we were tempted to buy souvenirs, especially a CD by Edvard Greig. Since we have limited luggage space we decided we can probably get one on Amazon or just download it for less. In the museum, they had great genealogy source information on Grieg’s birth and marriage, as shown in the photo below. We have used microfilm and other images like the ones below to find and corroborate our genealogy records. They must have known that visitors like us really dig family history.
Our next destination was to Sentrum (the way downtown is said in Norwegian) Bergen. We needed to figure out where to catch our bus from Bergen to Haugesund. We figured out the place we needed to go, and learned that we could buy our tickets either online or on the bus. It was only later that we learned that the tickets purchased online are half the price. It was a little confusing. Later Joe went online and found there were 2 busses going from different companies, Kystbuss (Coast Bus) and Bus4You by Nettsbuss. Coast Bus was more expensive but not by much. We probably should have taken that because of the wifi on board. The picture is a monument to sailors that shows a different generation of sailors on each side. We’ll post the others to a photo gallery and add a link later. Each town we visited in Norway has two things that we are just beginning to build in the US: large pedestrian malls with no motorized traffic, and dedicated bicycle lanes. We’ve seen that in many other European cities as well. We have some of that in big US cities, but in the cities we visited in Norway, there are such places everywhere. Perhaps this is partly because Americans rely more on personal autos than on public transportation, requiring more roads for all the vehicles. Or perhaps it is just a mindset. But we like it, especially the cobbled streets that retain the historical flavor and help us remember we are travelers on a road that has seen many travelers before we came, and will see many more after we leave.
We had to get a picture of this shop in Bergen because Grandpa Hans Opheim, later Surnamed Haggen, was a watchmaker. He may not have operated in a Goldsmith shop, or he may have. We don’t know. But we’ll take even tenuous connections as reminders of our progenitors.
After confirming the bus schedule, we walked to the Aquarium. It was a pretty long walk from where we parked to the aquarium. Eilert had recommended we go see it. There were penguins, sea lions, fish, crocodiles, turtles and snakes there. We saw the sea lion show. It was fun to roam around and notice how awkward penguins are on land but how graceful they are in the water. We observed that when sea lions kiss people they make a lot of noise and are probably pretty slobbery. We decided not to volunteer for that part of the show. The Bergen Aquarium has both outdoor and indoor displays.
This is a picture of a display at the aquarium that made us think of the Pollock fish I ate the night before looked like. Greta got a hold of Joe at the aquarium and told us to meet them at their house at 4:30 where we would go eat at IKEA.
They wanted to go to IKEA because they serve a traditional west Norwegian meal called Raspeballer. It consisted of ham, sausage, bacon bits, potato dumplings and mashed kohlrabi and carrots. You eat it with lots of pepper and butter on the potato dumplings and is “traditionally consumed on Thursday”, (Wikipedia on Raspeball) which may be why we needed to go that day. Our potato dumplings were plain – no filling. Eilert and Greta told us this was especially popular in Stavanger where they sometimes put lamb meat into the dumpling. This reminded me of Bodes in Mongolia. I think every culture has some sort of dumpling with meat in the middle. Italy has ravioli, Japan has gyoza, Mongolia has bodes and Norway has Raspeballer. As I (Ann) ate this dish, I thought of how much my dad would have enjoyed this. It had all the things he loved. Potatoes, sausage, ham bacon and butter. I don’t know if my dad would have like the kohlrabi though.
After dinner we went to Anne Margrete’s house. We met her husband Marco and their two children Isake and Elide Sophie. They fed us delicious ice cream, berries, dates and other yummy food. Hospitality seems to be important to Norwegians, and making sure there is food on the table and Coffee is an important part of being a host. I don’t know if this is true, just my interpretation. Anne Margrete went out and bought herbal tea for us which was so kind of her. It was Ricola tea and was very good.
After a little while Anne’s sister June Marie came over with her son Andreas. Many of Eilert and Greta’s children and grandchildren are named after Grandparents. Elida is named after Eilbert’s mother and Andreas was named after Greta’s father. Anne Margrete has a variant of Greta’s name in it and June Marie is for Greta’s mother who was named Marie. Their granddaughter Marie Sol was named after Greta’s mother with reference to Grandmother’s last name. Solheim means “sun home”.
Joe tuned up Anne Margrete’s guitar and we sang a few songs. We sang “Where have all the Flowers Gone”, “The Ballad of the Shape of Things” and “The Familly Home Evening Song”. We then went to June Marie’s house and met her daughter Marie Sol. June’s husband was out working on the oil rigs. They all have lovely houses and are such wonderful people. I’m so thankful that we have had this opportunity to meet these long lost cousins. I feel such a great connection to them. God be with you till we meet again.