A whole year has passed by, since I took a trip to Bergen, in Norway. Can a trip transform your life? It sure changed mine, after I returned from this Pleistocene era city, enwrapped in mesmerising beauty, which extends beyond the natural world. The charismatic Bergen dwells with postcard-perfect landscapes, either bathing in sunlight or draped in a mammoth cloud attire.
For one thing, Norwegian people sparkle more than, all the beauty put together in the world. The architectural gems, breathtaking views and the incredibly delicious food, are secondary in a nation that houses, people beautiful inside out. My extraordinary experiences with them left me wonderstruck, for months after I returned.
Dreamy affair for independent travellers
The magic of benevolence begun, as soon as I landed at the Bergen Airport. A Norwegian man approached me and uttered “Kan du hjelpe meg,” which means “Can you help me?” in English. He requested me to hold his beautiful 3-month-old son, while, he could unfold the baby stroller.
Overwhelmed by request, I welcomed the child into my arms. Next few minutes, both baby and I were full of amusement and love, as if, forming a psychic connection and learning the power of trust. I have known people, who think Europeans are not friendly, I say, its all about your attitude and body language! I am very fond of babies and this very incident dazzled my day with a spark of joy, after a tiring journey.
Next, I was flabbergasted by the immense amount of art, on display at the Bergen Airport. You almost feel guilty, walking over those gorgeous floor designs, when all you want to do is, admire them for hours. You could easily call it an art museum, featuring airport on the sides.
Could I have more Bubbles of Blessings in Bergen?
Next morning, I strolled the streets of Strandkalen, embracing the blue-eyed skies in illusory shades of grey, with a hint of diamond-dust. Each city square, marked at the end of cobblestoned streets, was lit by street performers and a spritz of gleaming drizzle. Did I stop and observe them all? Yes, although, the bubble blower act turned out to be more special for a reason.
The bubble blowers reached beneath my smile and touched the serenity of a child, lost in an abrasive world. With every bubble they blew in my direction, a sense of exhilaration ran through every single nerve of my mind, and soul. Boundless joy, entwined with an act of kindness and recognition.
The Glorious Touch of Unexpected Royal Affair
The next in line, was a serendipitous meeting with the Military officers, near the Fish and the Flower market. Swayed by their charm, I couldn’t help but, pursue them for a picture. The Norwegian Military Band obliged, and even offered for me to hold the Royal Sceptre. A Sceptre is a symbolic trinket, by a ruling Monarch, to showcase their invincibility and imperial insignia.
Bless my lucky star, this stark touch of Royalty did come across, as a pleasant surprise. Next, I was visiting, the 17th-century, well-preserved, UNESCO site, Bryggen Wharf, lined with tiny wooden houses. I was standing at the Schøtstuene Museum square and could see the reflection of the houses, on the glistening roads of the Hanseatic League trading post. If you have walked a long distance, check out UNA bar for its incredible craft beers, free Wi-Fi, burgers, phone charging and restroom facilities.
If life is a magical surprise, then this day was meant to be Extraordinary
I stepped out of the cafe, only to be a part of the incredible Parade that benumbed my audio and visual senses. The earth moved under my feet when I saw the first officer (usually the senior most) carrying the Royal Sceptre, causing a silent cry to escape my throat. The crowds on the streets had stopped to acknowledge the pride, yet very few knew, that I had the pleasure to hold the Royal Sceptre myself.
From Ferraris to crowds, artists to shop-owners, Norwegians follow a self-guided model of discipline. They waited with pride in their hearts, until the last officer made his way past the street. A subtle lesson of discipline, that will stay with me for life!
Because it’s Shop’O clock in Bergen
If you are at Torget, the sweet fragrance of fish and chips, deepwater prawns, farmed mussels and paella will invite you in. I had just entered the market when I heard a man calling out “Hey beautiful eyes,” a couple of times. He was none other than the shop-owner of the first stall! This shop featured cheese, reindeer sausages, caviar, whale meat and variety of other meats.
Instead of ignoring the stranger, I walked up to his store, greeted him with a smile and even bought a couple of things from his store. In return, Rafiq discounted my order by $15 as a sweet gesture.
I spent the next few hours shopping for souvenirs and enjoying a lobster meal with a cup of coffee, at one-of-the local harbour-side restaurants.
A well-spent day, that ended well in the warm bubbles, of the Scandic Bergen City’s bathtub. Before slipping into a sound sleep, I watched Bergen’s night-lights shimmer over the hills, through my window, like a subtle sheet of gold.
This subculture city with secret tiny doors brings fairy tales and magnanimity of humankind alive. By all means, lay the first stone of kindness, and watch the road build on its own.