Perhaps the single best train ride I’ve experienced, the journey from Bergen to Flam to Oslo is what you would expect to experience if you combined the boat ride from Anchorage to Vancouver with a scenic drive through Yellowstone, Wyoming. The white desolation of forever-snow fields & frozen mountain lakes leaves you mystified, as the steep fjord canyons & the small red houses speckling the green rock cliffs keeps alive one’s desire to live in as many places as one can in one lifetime.
We drank cappuccinos, took photos, hugged for warmth, made friends with two lovely women (Londoners via Hong Kong & Singapore) with degrees in environmental policy, & watched a bizarre song & dance duo put on an Irish-sounding performance next to a waterfall literally in the middle of nowhere, popping from behind the ruins of what was either a castle or a bakery. Now we’re at Karmen’s with little Gryf, catching up, eating breakfast, & telling stories. The trip’s been amazing so far & it only looks to improve.
I’ve decided to try & write a long poem in 16 days, while traveling. It will help me set down my experiences of the trip, both imagistically as well as culturally, while providing my brain with some activity. I can’t imagine achieving more than 6 pages.
Bergen, Norway is a deliciously small harbor city filled with artsy curiosity shops & public art & food art all meant to be consumed within a day or two & then remembered for its charm. We spoke with several shopkeepers who find living there to be a different story altogether, but luckily, we are leaving at 6 AM for Oslo.
So we have two friends to visit, Karmenlara Ely, a dancer, linguist, erotics professor who is currently teaching acting at Østfold University College in Norway, & Dan Gresham Glover, a recently retired sand sculpter creating graphic novels out in Portugal. I attended middle & high school with them both, & because it’s Wendy & my 6th Anniversary, we’re making a big trip of it.
Itinerary: Fly out of NY, quick stop in Reykavik, land in Bergen. Stay the night, then take what is supposed to be one of the great scenic train rides / fjord ferry trips of the world, into Oslo. Take the train from Oslo to Fredrikstad, where Karmen lives. Hang with her a few days, visiting the small towns, shopping in Sweden, etc, & then a quick hop to Paris for 4 days. Yep, & after that, an overnight to Barcelona for a 2 night stay, then an overnight to Madrid for a 2 day stay, then Seville for 2 nights, & then Faro, Portugal with Dan for 3 days, & 1 day in Lisbon before hopping to Heathrow & flying back to New York, where I will be met with hundreds of submissions & duties disregarded.
It should be a hell of a trip. I’ll try updating the blog with thoughts as it happens.
Life. Many times you have to choose one over the other.