November 26, 2018

Norway Day 4

Our last day in Norway was great. We weren't able to make contact with our cousin due to the previously mentioned Jurassic technology problem. Oh well. Instead, mrguy took us to Kode, where we got our first exposure to Hilma af Klint. Her paintings were awesome. Then we took in the Nikolai Astrup show. What I particularly enjoyed about his paintings is that the setting was a farm called Myklebust. My family also lived at a farm of that name, but I don't know if it is the same one (there were several by that name).

Nikolai Astrup's wife, Engel Sunde, filled their house with textiles, some of which she collected and some of which she made. This interior scene is really compelling. In addition to her groovy textiles this painting shows that someone in the household, presumably her, was growing an Easter lily, fuschia, and what looks like an aloe. In Norway, in the early 1900s. I wouldn't have thought, and maybe that's silly of me.

A few more paintings, now. First, mrguy identified this one from sight as a painting by Anton Graf. He was correct. He and I are now kinda experts at spotting late 18th century Eastern German court paintings.

And this painting I loved -- paintings of dead loved ones are both weird and touching, especially when the subject is a child.

After we were done at the museum, mrguy escorted me to the University of Bergen library, where I could look for bygdebøker. Once ensconced at the library, mrguy went off to buy more records. He didn't really have a mission at the library and doesn't read Norwegian, but knew of a record store he hadn't visited already.

Back at the library: with assistance from a librarian I was able to find the section in the library that contained the bygdebøker I needed. I had a great hour and a half figuring out the organization of these books and, really, confirming and extending the family history research I had done twenty years ago, and to take it back another few generations. Yay!

I felt guilty with my pleasure, and after an hour and a half I texted mrguy and we went to a great bar, where we had a few beers. Awesome chairs, there.

And then we went back to the apartment and I spent as much time as possible after packing and before falling asleep using my Norwegian ISP address to access resources on the National Archives digitized collections online. Oh now I wish I had a Norwegian IP address every day! They have digitized newspapers, which would be amazing to read and use for research.

So ends our trip to Sweden and Norway. They are both delightful and different from each other, and I hope that we some day return.

November 23, 2018

Norway Day 3

We met our cousins at their hotel, near the center of downtown. It was fixin' to storm mightily. I like this photo because it shows the view beyond the cousins. At one point I was doing an internal double-take because I was talking to my cousins with the Bergen Fish Market in the background. It got better.

They took us on a bus ride and then a walk in the neighborhood, Sandviken, where my family lived in the late 1800s. It's a part of town where their fellow tradesmen in barrel making and butchery lived and worked.

These buildings are where the ships brought animals from the countryside to be butchered.

From these warehouses the meat would be carted around that point in the background of the photo above and over to Central Bergen.

My family lived up the road from the warehouses, in a series of apartments close to their work. On the second floor, at the balcony, over what is now a kebab shop is where some of my family lived, while others lived in the building across the street. I remember visiting the yellow place in the 1970s, when a friend of the family still lived there.

In the present, we walked down the cobblestone street past these places. It was so pretty and relatively untouched.
I took the shot above to show what it looked like looking back up from the warehouses toward the kebab shop. At this point we had to take refuge from the rain under a construction worker's scaffolding and tarp. It was raining in all directions.

We took the bus back to town to see the site of the old meat market. It's fairly famous as a landmark, and my family for many years had a butcher stall there. After my great grandfather died, my great grandmother continued to run the business until the 1960s. Pretty remarkable.

The building was refurbished (and is still under construction). We went in and had some coffee at the Starbucks to warm up. Here's the view from inside the Kjøttbasaren:

We were soaked through from our walk in the rain earlier, so we parted ways with our cousins and went home to take a shower and get into some dry clothes.

For dinner we stopped at Pingvinen. Had some vegetarian lapskaus and fish and yummy cheeses. They were also playing a lot of good music (ex: Cream's Disraeli Gears, all of it, in album order).

Then we found ourselves back at Appolon, and realized that they were doing rock pub quiz. Bunch of grey haired white guys hunched over cafe tables with pieces of paper? Definitely Pub quiz.
After pub quiz ended (it was all in Norwegian), the dj played a song that mrguy played on. I explained to the dj that mrguy was on that record, and it turns out that it was one of his favorite bands.

So ends another epic day in Norway.

Norway Day 2

As mrguy said, this was epic.

We had rough plans to meet our cousin in the morning or afternoon. What I didn't know was that she'd drowned her phone that week and was using a loaner phone -- Jurassic technology. I'd sent her an email suggesting we get together around 1pm on Sunday. She didn't get it. And so we were drinking coffee in our jammies when the doorbell of our apartment rang and it was my cousin. She couldn't reach us and it was a beautiful day so she walked 6.5 Kilometers from her house to our apartment.

She's a delightful person -- smart, direct, knows everything about everything and is recently retired. She volunteers at a place that offers activities for people with Alzheimer's, so she understands what we've been going through with Mom's illness. We talked for several hours and then met up a few blocks away to go on the funicular to Mt Fløyen. The view up there is stupendous, the goats are adorable and being with my cousin after all of these years was amazing!

We came back down and went back to our apartment for a bit before meeting up with cousins again in the evening. We spent a lot of time at 7-11, eating margherita panini. Oddly satisfying, as was being able to scarf and get some rest, instead of using all of our time in restaurants. I had such plans for dining, but it wasn't going to turn out to be the best use of our time. Plus we got to see stuff that made us laugh, like this:
We hooked up with our cousins later on. It was so great. In addition to my younger cousin, who I had met before, we met an older cousin who is 85 or so and more spry than I am and completely hilarious. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. An even younger cousin, a college student, picked us up and drove us out to near the airport, speaking Norwegian most of the time. Just to be clear, my mind is being blown the whole time. I am *in* a car in Norway with *relatives I haven't seen in decades* and they're all speaking another language and we're all related.

When we got to a beautiful house on a fjord, we were at our destination. A cousin's house. Big, gorgeous, has a boat house, and the fresh water for the house was specially piped in from across the fjord. Children ride show horses and the wife is from Biarritz. And yet, these are the most down to earth people. So lovely. All interested in family, family history, and sharing stories. We sat at a long farm table and discussed family and family trees. And then it was time to go back to town.


We had made a pinkie swear earlier in the day to go to the beer bar / record store, Apollon, when we got back to town. Had to take a picture of the setting.

What a day.
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