After my disappointing introduction to Norway, I found Bergen absolutely incredible and it could do no wrong despite its abnormally frigid weather that caused me to hide indoors at the guesthouse reading the trashy romances. I'm not sure whether it was the charming painted wooden houses with its funky colored doors built upon narrow non-grid like winding streets or if it was the layout of the city with its houses built in steps on the hill side each with a great view of down below and the harbour.
The city was great for a casual stroll down at the harbour or browsing through the galleries housed in the historic area of Bryggen with restorations ongoing using traditional methods and materials. My one and only museum stop in Bergen was to the Hanseatic Museum, a restored merchant house complete with authentic squeaking floorboards and fish smell from the abundance of dried fish decorating the museum from the rafters. Ikea clearly did not establish its design influence on this merchant house as dark varnished wood, dreary decor and dim lighting ruled the living quarters of the middle class men involved in peddling fish and fish oil. Perhaps it was for the
better, as the dark decor most likely hid dirt well and I can't imagine a house full of men being the cleanest around.
The fish market located at the harbour was a one stop shop for salmon filets, cavier and tried and true touristy knitted Norwegian mittens and sweaters. I was a bit stunned by the presence and availability of seal pelts at the fish market. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised as Canada is known, unfortunately, for its seal hunting. However, living in the western parts, seals and seal products are not commonly available in the landlocked province I live in. Does wearing a seal skin vest provide the same amount of prestige and indication of social class as walking down the street in a mink or fox fur coat?
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