To where? Oh, Norway.
BERGEN, Norway- Norway is country number 86. I didn’t expect coming here. I had no idea where I was going until I looked down at my boarding passes: Bergen.
Where is Bergen?
Oh yeah, Norway.
I guess I’m going to Norway.
But I’ll only be here for a good chunk of a day. My final destination is Prague.
When transferring in a country on an extended layover where you don’t require a visa you may as well enter it and look around. What else are you going to do?
The immigration officer agreed.
“Oh, you are not leaving until four-thirty. You can go into the city! We have a light rail. It is very convenient.”
Sometimes I spend a few years in the countries that I go to and sometimes I spend a few hours. Country count isn’t a measure of the depth of the travel experience, it’s a measure of distance covered as superimposed over geo-political boundaries: i.e. how many nations you’ve set foot in, the crossing of the expanse between points A and B into infinitum. In this regard, how long you actually stay anywhere is irrelevant.
The streets of Bergen — and the rest of Scandinavia for that matter — are mum, as silent as streets can be. No music, no car horns, no drunks raging, no bottles breaking, no whores propositioning, no bums proselytizing. Walking through the streets of Scandinavia is like having your head in a cardboard box and your ears stuffed with plugs. It’s like watching a movie on mute. The people seem like simulated projections.
For those who don’t like to be noticed this place probably feels relaxing. For those who depend on human connection for their emotional sustenance the place is suffocating.