NORWAY 2024 -- GORDON AND CAROL
BERGEN FISH MARKET AND OLD TOWN; TROLDHAUGEN - EDVARD GRIEG'S HOME -- FEBRUARY 8
We took a guided walking tour of the old center of Bergen by the harbor. Mariana, our guided, gave us a great deal of information on the history Bergen and of Norway, including several re-alignments with Denmark and other Scandanavian monarchies. The other emphasis was classic Scandanavian foods, illustrated by several snacks served along the way. On this cold day with snow on the ground, there was only one other couple that took the tour, from Boston.
The narrow peak-roof buildings belonged to the Hanseatic Traders, Germans, who for a long period, controlled all the trade of fish and other goods passing through Bergen Harbor. As with most of the structures in the city, there were several cycles of destruction by fire, followed by rebuilding. Most of the buildings were wood, but in more recent centuries, stone buildings became more prominent, resisting fires.
The glass and wood building here is at the site of the original fish market. The historic fish market was mostly a wholesale operation. The current one also serves individual shoppers.
Our first snack was a traditional Norwegian fish cake, made from cod, egg, and potato flour, that is fried.
Dried cod is historically a major portion of the seafood trade originating from Norway. Before refrigeration was widely available, this was the preferred way to preserve fish. It is sold in serveral of the stalls in the market.
Sushi is historically the Japanese was to preserve fish -- rice was fermented to produce vinegar, which in turn preserved the fish by pickling.
King Crab has recently been rapidly increasing in price. At the market today it was 2000 kroner (=$200) per kg.
Our next snack with an apple pastry with Norwegian brown cheese. The pleasant cheese, unlike most cheeses, is made from whey, rather than milk solids.
This narrow street, typical of old European cities, was the working class neighborhood. Many young men were sent to the city to work, living on their own. Prostitutes thrived here, not surprisingly.A doctor living in this neighborhood did much to improve living conditions, by separating drinking water supplies from contaminated waste water, and personally financing a public bath house.
Salt cod snack
Here we had our final Norwegian treat, hot apple cider with whiupped cream. The tall young man, who runs this restaurant, is from Saskatchewan.
We took a taxi to Troldhaugen, to see the Edvard Grieg Museum, and the house where he lived.
For an accurate account of Grieg's life see the Wikipedia article
Wiki Article on Grieg
Grieg always kept this little troll with him when performing as pianist, or conducting. Our guide mentioned an episode were a concert was delayed because Greig forgot this good luck token at his hotel room, and insisted on retrieving it before begining the concert.
The famous violinist Ole Bull took an interested in the young Grieg, recognizing his talent. At Bull's encouragement, Grieg enrolled in the Leipzig Conservatory, to further his musical training.
Edvard Grieg married his first cousin Nina, also an accomplished muscian, a lyric soprano. They had one child together, who died of meningitis at one year of age. They did not have any other children.
This is Edvard and Nina Grieg's house, mostly unmodified. Nina worked to establish the foundation that preserves the house and their heritage. She lived until 1933.
The hut overlooking the lake and mountains, where Grieg did most of his composing is down this trail a bit. I did not brave the icy walkway to go closer to it.
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