August 9, 2016

Drinking with the locals in Bergen Norway

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Jun 30, 2016: Bergen, Norway

Let the Scandinavian adventure begin.

After 3 flights, a bus ride, getting settled in our Airbnb apartment and a power nap, Tee and I were ready to officially begin our Scandinavian adventure on the west coast of Norway in Bergen - a UNESCO World Heritage city and gateway to the majestic fjords (more on that later). At 6:30 we grabbed our umbrellas and cameras to venture down the hill to get our bearings and bellies taken care of.

With cameras capturing initial impressions, we were walking past Bergen's famous fish market (closed at this hour) and several bars when we hear some locals outside The Metz sports bar shout "Take my photo!" I've found if someone wants their photo taken, take it! You're going to get a fun photo. I was a few paces ahead of Tee, so she got the shot.  Then we hear "Where are you from?" "USA?, oh we have some questions for you - come join us - I'm buying you a beer!"  I turned to Tee and said "I don't know where this is going to take us, but let's roll with it."

Crazy Norwegians


Bergen's Hansa Beers - at The Metz
Next thing we know with cold Hansa Bryggeri pilsners in hand we're talking about everything from politics to weather to Norwegian dining ("We eat all kinds of vegetables!" "Do you like kale?" "What's kale?") with Per-Fredrik (the optometrist), Eddie (oil-platform worker), Arnfinn (manager at Fish.Me at the Bergen fish market), Trond-Even (businessman) and a couple others. I asked Per-Fredrik how they all know each other - "They're my mates." Duh.

Sign in Norway: Mexican food so authentic, Donald Trump would build a wall around it.
Trump: Norway gets it.
They had a lot of questions about Donald Trump. Is this joker going to beat Hillary? Why do so many Americans like him? (great question). It always amazes me that everyone I meet in Europe is in tune, at least at a high-level, to USA politics. I can't name the president of Norway. Do they have a president? Or a prime minster? Or is a king running the show?  Hey Google: Who is the leader of Norway?

A couple hours and a couple rounds later, one thing was clear - these guys are proud Norwegians, love Bergen - and dirty jokes. These sentiments echoed true with the other locals we spoke with over the next 6 days across Norway. One of the mates, Trond-Even wanted to show us more of the area and offered us a personal tour and boat ride the next day. "Sure! Might be rainy, but we have rain coats." You don't have rain coats Trond-Even tried to explain, I have some you can use. I'll meet you right here at 3pm. Ok, forget the usual touristy crap, we'll be there.

After connecting on social media and a group photo, we bid farewell to Per-Fredirk and his mates to grab a late bite at a Thai place around the corner (most kitchens were closed by this hour; Thai seems to be popular in Scandinavia and this meal hit the spot). Heading back up the hill we noticed Per-Fredrik, Trond-Evan and rest of the Bergen mates were still going strong. Tempted, but tired from traveling we called it a night - and great way to start the beginning of an epic vacation.

Our new Norwegian mates
Our new mates: The Crazy Norwegians

While traveling have you ever joined some locals for a round and wound up with a good story? Share it in the comment section below.

Next post ... The Bergen Boat Ride [coming soon].
Bergen, Norway Harbor
Bergen Harbor

July 30, 2012

Brussels: Photo Highlights

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They say a picture paints a thousands word. I have a thousand photos from our June 2012 visit to Belgium (and another thousand from The Netherlands). I covered our Impressions & Surprises from Brussels in a recent post, but you really want to see photos. Visual highlights from Brussels follow. (Photo credit: some captured by my cameras, some by wife's).

Brussels, BE - Jun 22-24, 2012 - Photo Highlights
Central Station
On an after dinner stroll we stumbled upon this picturesque street at sunset (9:45pm) - Rue de Rollebeek

First night in town we found an excellent dinner at Houtsiplou.
The Bourse (stock exchange & gathering place) - view from our Airbnb apartment, 2 blocks from Grand Place.
St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral Beer tour stop #1- Au Bon Vieux Temps
Eye catching stained glass in St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

Grand Place
Brussels Grand Place Gargoyle
Grand Place Gargoyle

Belgians have a good sense of humor.
Cotton Candy Man - a colorful character End of our beer tour.

A rainy day at Place Royal aka Koningsplein
(view from the men's WC in BELvue Museum)


July 1, 2012

Travel Log: Fun with Dutch

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We've run into several funny semi-translated Dutch signs & labels while we've been crisscrossing The Netherlands. At least they're funny to us Americans.

I started snagging photos of 'em...




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