BootsnAll Travel Network


I once again lie awake before the alarm at seven, shower and walk down to the train station. Today, I have a tour of the fjords scheduled. The tour starts at eight, but at ten of eight the ticket girl is telling me, “You know this tour leaves from the harbor, don’t you?” No, I didn’t, and the e-mail confirmation said nothing about it either. I sprint across town and barely make the ferry in time. The ferry proceeds north along the coast at a rapid clip. First I sit next to a woman who is a lawyer in Manhattan. “The fjords are 6,000 kilometers deep,” she tells me. Wow, you don’t say. Next, after we transfer to another ferry, a girl named Sybilla from Germany sits down next to me. Her English is broken but we have a good time, she teaches me random words in German. I am finding the tour a bit disorganized, there is very little central direction and one must listen carefully to the cryptic announcements in order to know what to do next. We board another ferry from our current one right out in the sea itself, and then turn from the Sojnefjord (which is the longest fjord in Norway) into a smaller branch to the south. The fjords are breathtaking, steep hard rock angling down from the heights into the mysteries of the still green water below, winding all the while deeper into the misty distance. This place is a natural shrine, free from human interference, a cathedral of earth and rock and sea and sky. It is a place that is difficult to put properly into words. The boat tour wraps up at a small village which includes a mock Viking settlement, complete with huts, boats, weapons, shields, etc. We take the bus to the train and get back to Bergen. On the bus I talk to an animated old Italian man who talks a blue streak, you can’t get a word in edgewise. He has terrifyingly bad teeth, they are black and brown and yellow and he dabs at his mouth with a handkerchief once in a while. He tells me all about the World Cup, and then moves on to world affairs, where he solves a majority of the world’s problems within a span of forty-five minutes or so. He is a highly amusing old fellow. After a quick dinner (at 7-Eleven!), I head back to the hostel once more. Watch a little World Cup, there are a couple of Polish guys drinking, hard looking strong-armed working class types. One is hosting drinking contests and toasting all the girls and laughing merrily. The blasted French prevail in the game, so it will be Italy and France in the final. I drink a few beers, then go back and chat with Lisa in our beds for a while. Even in darkness she is radiant. She shows me a picture of her husband, he looks like a prick. Lisa has been to the Shetland Islands recently to visit her grandfather. She is so comfortable and good-natured and unaware; I guess when everything goes right for you, you wind up with a pretty good disposition.

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