Embracing The Rain

We arrived in Bergen, Norway on 1st July, marking the start of the second half of our travels in 2023. How it came to be Bergen versus another Nordic city, was really by chance. The discussion started with George expressing that he’s never been to Scandinavia and therefore it would cool to live here during summer when the days are long and skies are blue. My 11 years working in Nokia took me to Finland often and I’ve also travelled to neighboring Tallin (Estonia), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Stockholm (Sweden). Norway was the only country I haven’t been to and therefore the decision was made. We wanted to reserve Oslo for the return trip in December to experience a white Christmas, therefore thought it would be better to spend the first month in another city. Bergen popped up, we saw some nice AirBnB options and one was booked.

From the airport, you are greeted by a “Bergen?” sign. I later found out that the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson intended the question mark to invoke a sense of curiosity and of anticipation of what can be experienced in the region. For me, I saw it as a tongue-in-cheek query if we had chosen the right city to spend the next 4 weeks.

Spoiler alert – we are midway in our stay and really enjoying ourselves. I write this as we sit in our lovely apartment, observing the rain in the warmth and comfort indoors.

The first fact we realised is that Bergen holds the title of being the European city with the most rainfall, at 239 days of rain annually. The locals embrace the rain and the advice is to buy sturdy raincoats. To my fascination, we’ve spotted many with brightly coloured raincoats, not the usual boring dreary colours. This really brings a smile and dashes of colour when it’s dark and gloomy.

I believe everything happens for a reason and in many ways, we are chosen as much as we do the choosing. My learning here is to welcome and accept the rain. Plan more activities during the days that have no or less rain. Stay under a shade when needed to wait out a passing shower, stare at the beauty of the sky rather than bemoan the “bad weather”. How else would we have come across this double rainbow otherwise? I suppose we also have this luxury since unlike most tourists who have limited time here, we have 4 weeks and relatively little sights to visit.

Thanks to the rain, we are surrounded by lush greenery, gushing waterfalls and beautiful clear blue skies you appreciate more when contrasted with yesterday’s cloudy wetness. Our first weekend here was 2 days of sunshine and we took full advantage of them. On Saturday, we hiked Fløibanen mountain, eating really messy soft serve ice cream, spending time by the crystal clear lake and walked across the bridge to home in the bright daylight at 8pm. On Sunday, we took a 2 hour boat ride through the fjords to Rosendal and dodged sheep poo as we hiked to Hattebergfossen waterfall, drank fresh water and on the return trip, took winks of sleep in the boat trip back at Bergen.

It's teaching me new behaviors and also to appreciate nature’s intentions. It’s said that when you feel the rain on your skin, it allow healing energy to flow through your body and figuratively “wash” away the negativity. Smile and journey through the rain rather than grimace and be in a hurry. To have some stillness in my days to just observe the activity that continues at the harbour, the life that still bustles around us and truly feel the moments without wanting anything to be altered. Luckily there’s much time to ponder -

This is my Bergen?

In Being Grounded and Settled