I’m currently in Oslo for a Nordic experimental conference. It’s my third time, second city in Norway. And without me even noticing it, Norway is quickly becoming my favorite Scandinavian country. Everything is just so beautiful. I like how the Norwegians have incorporated cities in nature, I am fascinated by Norwegian architecture and how they utilize space, and I like the fact that diversity is tangible in its capital city.
Today, after the last parallel session, I took a walk around the city center. I sat down and watched ducks paddle on a pond near the royal palace. I was even lucky enough to witness a change in palace guards. It was thoroughly enjoyable, what with their synchronized marching and funky hats. It was also quite funny how tourists would rush to have their pictures taken with the marching guards in the background. Maybe if I was with Andrew, I’d dare to have my photo taken with the same marching guards background as well. :p
The Royal Palace
Where the ducks where, at the palace gardens
I walked along the shoreline, saw a presentation detailing the various architectural buildings in Norway, went in a small grocery store and found that it had a greater product variety that many bigger grocery stores in Copenhagen, and dropped by an Asian food festival. One day, when the cost of spending so much on food and accommodations in Norway is no longer so painful, I would like to come back and play tourist. I think I will like that very much. I think Andrew will too.
Here now in Bergen, where rain is rumored to fall 200 days a year. I arrived today from Copenhagen for an experimental conference that will run from tonight until Saturday night and currently staying at one of the cheaper conference hotel options; although most fellow participants I’ve talked to at the reception earlier have decided to stay at AirBNB places. THAT – ladies and gentlemen – is how pricey Norway is. It costs an arm and a leg!
This is my second time in Bergen. The first time I was here for a job interview. I flew from Hawai’i to Los Angeles to Copenhagen to Bergen, arrived at night, woke up early in the morning for a faculty meet-and-greet, presented my research after lunch, had dinner with the faculty after, went back to my hotel to sleep, woke up very early in the morning to fly to Copenhagen to Los Angeles to Hawai’i. I was exhaustipated! And I felt really bad that I did not get to see and explore the city. So now that I am back, I cannot wait to see where my feet will lead me; and which charming alleys I will get a chance to discover. But oh… if only the rain would stop!!!
Despite the heavy rains today, I did get to experience a bit of Bergen history. Our opening reception was at Håkon’s Hall, a 750 year-old medieval stone hall in Bergen. It was built by King Håkon Håkonssøn and was first used during Håkon’s son, Magnus, marriage on September 11 (yes, it’s really 9/11!), 1261. Reception drinks and a bit of finger food were served inside the hall. Acoustics were not as good as a I thought. In fact, I had trouble hearing what the person from a small table across me was saying. But it was a wonderful feeling to be in the presence of such history, to walk the same halls that royalty walked. It was surreal.
Rainy Bergen day. But OMG, look at the mountains!
Tomorrow, the nerdy part of the conference commences, after a light lunch. I look forward to more interesting Bergen history, and to having more to say about the place in the future blog posts! And definitely, definitely looking forward to kissing the Bergen rain. 😉