Saturday, August 25, 2012
Bergen, on the west coast opening onto the North Sea, was the capital of Norway at one point. Here there is a row of old wooden houses on the water front - the famous Bryggen (Norwegian for wharf), or Tyskebryggen (German for wharf). Bergen was an important port for the Hanseatic League and these were warehouses. They are hundreds of years old, sitting on a foundation of big wooden logs. The foundation logs have been rotting, the houses have been sinking, and getting tilted and crooked. It is said they remain standing because they are leaning on each other. Great efforts have been undertaken to shore up these houses. In Hong Kong and China, they would have been torn down a long time ago.
In Bergen you can get a taste of whale meat. It is minke, a kind of baleen whale which is said to be still relatively plentiful. The total population has been estimated by different organizations differently, ranging from 300,000 to 600,000. Some might consider it simply a different kind of meat. Others might find it to be another assault on nature. It does taste like lean beef.