A Land Where Even the Vomit Is Courteous

So, Phase 1 complete. The talks seemed to go over pretty well (and ten minutes afterwards, in deepest Norway, Caitlin was talking in Spanish to a Peruvian grad student about his own writing, because that is just the kind of thing the BUG does). We had beers with an author of a recent paper in Nature about the discovery of chloroplast-maintenance code in nudibranch genes; he not only agreed with me about the end of Battlestar Galactica, but he even looked like Ronald D. Moore so his opinion carried extra weight. We had coffee with a self-effacing chap who’d discovered a number of hydrothermal vents in the North Atlantic (he fears the imminent deep-sea mining of polymetallic sulfides in international waters — says we’re “right on the edge” of that tech taking off). We spent a couple of hours chatting with the director of Bergen’s Marine Science Institute. Karin Pittman, the lady responsible for our appearance there, proved to be eighteen kinds of awesome (her cats were at least sixteen kinds). The only thing I really didn’t like was a piece of fish soufflé that had me vomiting grated carrot at 5am after a late night on the town — but even that nausea verged on downright polite, Excuse me I’m terribly sorry to bother you but you should really head over to the toilet now and I promise there won’t be any gut-wrenching heaves, really, you’ll just kind of quickly bark up your dinner, no fuss little muss, and then I’ll be on my way…

And the country itself? Mere words can’t do it justice. So make yourself comfortable for a brief yet comprehensive

Pictorial Tour of Scenic Bergen

People hardly ever go missing from the heart of Bergen's bustling tourist district, especially during the noon hour rush.

Nothing beats the scenic beauty of the Norwegian Dry Season.

Traffic signs were designed to be especially helpful to newcomers.

By the time we returned to this building 15 minutes later, it had been completely devoured.

Bergen's most significant cultural exports, Ceiling Cat and Basement Cat, are rarely seen together.

Some surrogates receive more tribute than others.

The path to the playground is festooned with beautiful and luxuriant foliage.


In a transparent attempt to attract the Skyrim demographic, Bergen has redesigned many of its neighborhoods in Early Markath.



On rare occasions, a mysterious bright patch appeared in the sky. None of the Bergenites I spoke to could tell me what it was.

A slightly more informative poster.

The Bergen Youth Hostel is a popular accommodation for younger tourists.


Generally, tribute is paid to one of many local surrogates.

According to local legend, the children of Bergen are watched over by the fabled Herring of Chernobyl. This likeness decorates the approaches to the Bergen Daycare Center.

The carnivorous equipment on this playground is quite effective at keeping the local population of minors at a sustainable level.

Or maybe Late Riften, except with more greenery in the Ratway.



This entry was posted on Thursday, October 4th, 2012 at 7:50 am and is filed under On the Road, public interface. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

22 Responses to “A Land Where Even the Vomit Is Courteous”

  1. Lynn

    Sorry to hear you got a bit sick over there. Never thought I hear of a vomiting episode being polite.

    What the hell are those things in the playground supposed to be? They almost look like some kind of medical instrument.

    From these pictures, it appears you have international feline fans.

    It’s always fascinating how some animals seem to know who is their kind of person.

  2. Hljóðlegur

    Looks nice and cool over there. Also, interestingly vertical. Thanks for taking the time to post. It’s always fun to see other parts of our planet close up.

  3. seruko
  4. Sebastian A

    Whoops, sorry, it would seem we snatched up all three sunny days allocated to Bergen for this decade when we were there last year. The locals were utterly terrified of the glaring fireball in the sky and several tourists were promptly sacrificed to appease the furious sky-gods.

  5. Lodore

    A dodgy bit of fish souffle acted up after a late night on the town, eh? Could be a first cousin of that iffy egg that, when followed by ten pints of lager, religiously has me kneeling before the porcelain god …

  6. Andrea_A

    Fish soufflé? Nothing compared to Surströmming in Sweden. Never got a chance to taste it, but my father told real horror stories about this dish.

    @Lynn: The toys are some kind of one-person carousel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4m7A2gYRZw

  7. Nix

    He probably ate the lutefisk. Fool, fool…

    … when I was there earlier this year I tempted the vomit gods myself and had prawns and various frighteningly large shellfish. Wonderful tasting, no negative aftereffects.

    We had another lovely sunny day, perfect for a touristy trip up the mountain… and then half an hour after we got up there the snow started falling in torrents. It makes even Scotland seem dry.

  8. Peter Watts

    you need a new head shot.
    For serious.

    I have a new head shot. A few of them, in fact. People just keep grabbing this one off the web on their own initiative.

    Maybe it’s because I look uglier in all the more recent ones.

  9. Immora

    And I’m wondering… What do you think about the end of Battlestar Galactica?;)
    Btw, nice pics!

  10. Pirmin


    Try this here:
    It’s a fun rant.

  11. Richard Morgan

    Varg Veum territory! These could be stills from any given episode.

    And there I was wondering whether all the wet and tattered cloud was just moody cinematography…….

  12. John

    Hmm…crap weather and crap food bringing about a kinder, gentler populace. Maybe we could ship all the cable t.v. personalities out there for a ralph or two?
    It is also strange that the only people in the streets are cat people.

  13. Peter Watts

    Actually, the food was pretty good. Except for the grated carrot.

  14. Whoever

    Peter Watts:
    Actually, the food was pretty good.Except for the grated carrot.

    Are you back, or still lingering in the land of ice and snow?

  15. Immora

    Try this here:
    It’s a fun rant.

    I also just read an article in “Nowa Fantastyka” by Peter about that, soo… But i really enjoyed this tv show! So sad it ended.

  16. Mr Non-Entity

    About the tourists hardly ever getting lost from the noonday lunch rush…

    Recently, driving around in Virginia in search of twisty windy roads on which to become accustomed to a new vehicle, I found myself in Orkney Springs.

    As best I can tell from your photo, some sort of teleportation effect mysteriously occurring between highly congruent architectures may be responsible for those disappearances. This so-called Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration may have something to do with it, as it seems to be curiously Nordic in its architecture, complete with pews covered in snow. Seriously, mouse-over on the images, and you’ll see. Further, the summertime view appears to show that same sort of vine-like structure interpenetrating the stonework. Some sort of alien nanotech teleporting mechanism? Additionally, the place appears to be built directly into a mountainside, and who knows what sort of deep and vasty darkness and domain of tunnels and caverns may lie behind the facade.

  17. Smoochie

    Fun fact: I google “the crawl blog”, and you’re result #5. I google “the crawl bog” and you’re #4 o_O

    Not sure what to make of that. Not particularly swampy around here, is it?

    PS Sorry about the cutesy fucking icon. Don’t know what came over me.

  18. Hljóðlegur

    Mr Non-Entity,

    O.M.G. Of all the diverse places on this planet that get mentioned here, you bring up Orkney Springs. That is very very weird, because I had my first real job there, waiting tables in the summer.

    And about deep and vasty darkness – that area is full of limestone caves of all sizes.

    I can’t believe the strange coincidence of someone here mentioning that tiny little spot on the map.

  19. RedIndianGirl

    But where’s all the Norwegian death metal gods????

  20. Alyx Dellamonica

    You know you’re hilarious, right?

    I don’t believe I’ve heard your feelings on the end of BSG.

  21. Mr Non-Entity

    @ Hljóðlegur re: Orkney Springs:

    That’s even more strange. I found the place entirely by accident, looking for a place I hadn’t been since I was maybe 15 years old. I was just sort of driving around looking at mountain ridges and trying to get the skyline to match really ancient (circa 40 years ago) memories, and also to drive on winding roads with a lot of hill-driving factor.

    And suddenly, after drifting through this little bottom-land zone and past some Antiques-and-Classics auto show, here’s this weird little enclave straight out of “the Sound of Music”.

    How you might have ever got a first job there, somewhat beggars my imagination. 8-D As for me, I should know better by now than to hop in a vehicle and follow my instincts, because I almost always wind up someplace really weird, usually something to do with hilltops and spirituality. I should probably just stay home, but that could be even worse.

    Never seen anything quite like the Carnivorous Playground Equipment, tho’.

    @Peter: Thanks for passing along that bit about the polymetallic sulfides. For those not quite up to speed on it, a rather ancient but very thorough background paper is to be found here.

  22. Hljóðlegur

    Mr Non-Entity,

    What spot were you looking for over there?

    I got the job because my father’s people are from back there. My Dad worked in the Hotel back in the day, and still knew the owners. I was working with the daughter of one of his cousins, too.