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Norway 1. Bergen, Midsummer.

[Reminder: I’m giving two readings this weekend, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The following is from my travel journals, written during a recent trip to Norway.]

June 22-23, 2009.

We’re in Bergen now, in a new country. The Norwegians are even better-looking than the Danes.

We passed through a maze of traffic and dull-seeming neighborhoods between the airport and downtown Bergen, but here, near the water, it’s very cute, a little like Gloucester, Mass, with wood frame clapboard houses on hilly narrow streets around a port.

Tomorrow night is the Midsummer festival in Scandinavia. A young woman at the hotel desk told us that the locals have a bonfire somewhere near town, and a big party, with many people coming by boat.

“It starts after dark?” I ask, still got getting it.

“It doesn’t get dark,” she says.

We’re far enough north that we have that 24-hour light.

This is a picture of me sitting in the full sunlight at 10 p.m. In the end, we didn’t have energy to seek out a bonfire party. The sun wouldn’t stop shining, and we went to bed tired, feeling like kids who have to turn in before the grown ups.


[Upper Ole Bull Place.]

We saw a statue of the famous Bergen-born violinist Ole Bull, a name which briefly obsessed me, and I started saying it a lot, as in “I wish Ole Bull was here with us now,” or “What would Ole Bull do in this situation?”

Maybe he’d go to this bakery.

It was fun in Bergen—the beautiful little streets and colorful wooden houses. Unbelievably beautiful women and handsome guys—clean-featured as models, with shocks of naturally blond hair and interesting double-bowed lips. Vow!

The main department store in Bergen. I like that font.

This morning, walking a quiet back street, I wished I lived there.

Passed a California-seeming shop called Witchy Bitchy Beauty Spot, for tattoos and punk gear like boots and skulls. Supposedly Bergen is the best rock and roll city in Norway.

Apropos of nothing much…I read “The House Left Alone” by Robert Reed in the SF Year’s Best #14 this morning, it has a great set-up. Two guys get a “starship” in the mail. It’s the size of a bowling ball. But then it turns out just be a robotic scout ship with some nanomachine seeds in it—a probe to be launched by a rail gun.


[A cool picture of a futuristic yacht appearing in a California-shaped space between some ancient houses.]

It would have been much cooler if the ball had really been a starship. Like if (1) that object the guys get in the story had generated a field in the shape of a big starship that our characters could ride inside. Or if (2) it had been a kind of teleportation amulet—you just grab onto it, swing it like a bowling ball, and whoosh, it takes you somewhere far away. Or if (3) it had been filled negatively curved space, so the boys could just get inside it and then take off.


[Germ-killing blue light in the men’s rooom at the local museum, which has some good Edvard Munch.]

It’s occurred to me that walking is a form of teleportation. You think about moving, and then…you move. Being alive at all is so very strange.

Now leaving Bergen.

2 Responses to “Norway 1. Bergen, Midsummer.”

  1. Victhor The Viking Says:

    Bergen is one of the coolist cities in the world. I love it. They have a great metal festival there every year called Hole in the Sky. It is Awesome!

  2. Kehrtraud Says:

    Here is what you missed, when you went to bed instead to bonfire-party:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I5BGsK5ZAU


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