The first part of this was written in my notebook shortly after arriving in Bergen:
The train arrived in Bergen just before 7:00 am — before most of the city, or I, have had a chance to wake up.
I love cities before shops open, tourist traps put on their hard sell, and people and traffic alike crowd up the streets. I believe a city before everyone is awake is at its essence. There’s nothing distracting from its true form. And Bergen? Well, I love its essence.
I have to say, I wasn’t so impressed with what I saw in Oslo so far. It just seemed like another crowded city. There wasn’t that special spark — that ‘wow’ moment you often get when visiting new places. To be fair, I only did see a small portion of it, but still. Compare that to Bergen where within 2 minutes of leaving the train station I knew this was a place I could love. 20 minutes later and that feeling is still there.
The day has just begun. In fact, it’s only now getting light enough to write this without squinting. The city is still slowly waking up. I’m currently sitting on a bench in a popular tourist spot and, until I just now looked up and saw one man, I’m the only one here. It’s called Bryggen, and from the signs around me, I can tell it’s a World Heritage Spot.
The buildings here are very similar to each other with different colors and quirks that make them stand out. It reminds me of a seaside version of the Painted Ladies in San Fransisco. The more I look at them, the more I notice and appreciate their quirks. The windows aren’t all straight in a row or the same size. And the window patterns vary from one building to another.
Anyways, off to see what’s next!
I wrote this entry around 20 minutes after my train arrived in Bergen shortly before 7 am. I was planning on getting some sleep during the ride (hence why I took an overnight train from 11:30 pm to 6:45 am)…but that basically didn’t happen.
I probably got around 2 non-consecutive hours. Which means that by the time I arrived in Bergen, I had been up for about 38 hours — the longest I’ve stayed up, well, ever.
Shaking off the exhaustion and with a fresh face of makeup from trying to put it on in the train’s bathroom (that was fun), I wandered down the sleepy streets of Bergen with a freshly brewed latte and croissant in hand, ready for the next adventure.
It was a foggy, quiet morning in the city. I instantly fell in love with the old buildings and cobblestone streets which took me back to when I lived in England. Right away, I knew this place was amazing.
After sitting on a couple of benches for a while, I decided to explore the hill behind the city. I walked up into the quiet neighborhood as residents left their homes to head to work, watched a cat play with a bug in the street, and made my way to a spot where I could watch the city wake up from above.
It was magical.
It kind of all went downhill from there. Literally — because yes, I did have to walk back downhill — and metaphorically.
You see, I don’t do very well when I don’t get 8 hours of sleep. Much less when I don’t sleep for over 40 hours…
With a heavy backpack and feet already sore, I stumbled around the city, doing my best to make the most of it while desperately wanting to just lay in a bed somewhere. My stress with food never subsided as well, as I searched far-and-wide for decent food that wasn’t going to break my bank.
Decision fatigue is so much worse when you’re actually, you know, fatigued.
With a growling stomach and my calculator app ready to divide the NOK price by 8.6 (for USD conversion), I finally decided upon a bakery that sold pre-made sandwiches. I purchased a sandwich, sat down, and ate it in silence.
The rest of the afternoon was essentially a blur. I was basically a walking zombie and it took everything I had to put one foot in front of the other. At noon, I knew I had two hours left until I could check in to my Airbnb. So, I figured I’d get lunch somewhere and find my way over there.
Decision fatigue hit again and I didn’t find anywhere to eat until I stumbled upon a Vietnamese place two blocks from the Airbnb. I actually literally stumbled upon it — just across the street, I couldn’t take it anymore. My back was screaming, my feet couldn’t go one more step, and my body was ready to give up.
I sat down on a dirty step and used every ounce of energy I had left to hold in the tears. It was 1:45 and I still had to eat before going to the apartment because I knew I wouldn’t leave until the next day.
Just a little bit longer, I thought to myself. The sooner you eat, the sooner you can shower and sleep. With that, I used my last remaining energy and went into the Vietnamese shop, not knowing what it was at the time, just knowing it was called Zen and it sold food.
I ordered some pho (except apparently here it doesn’t come with broth) and actually fell asleep for a second while waiting for the food to arrive. It cost me around 189 NOK, which was $22 for a bowl of pho. But I didn’t care. I needed to eat, shower, and sleep. If I were a Sim, all my little levels would be in the red.
I finally made it to my Airbnb around 2:30, took a much-needed shower and passed out. I woke up only once around 10:30 pm because my housemates (I had a private room, but there were others renting rooms in the house) were cooking and laughing. I eventually went back to sleep and didn’t wake up again until 6:30 the next morning.
That’s when the fun could truly begin.
Until next time.