Can you be unfaithful to a city? If so, my husband is cheating on Venice with Bergen.
I can hardly blame him. I was prepared to fall in love with Bergen too. A quick search of Google images yielded crooked wooden buildings, their reflections in the wharf burning orange and pink during sunset and epic views for miles over islands and sea from the top of Mount Floyen. What a perfect scene.
But a quick browse of the weather report conjured a different picture. A ten day forecast of rain and fog. An immutable cloud of meteorological bad luck that was destined to sit over the southeast coast of Norway like a petulant child. I’ll admit to spending a moment or two (OK, an entire afternoon) feeling as disappointed as that child, as if my trip was spoiled. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Bergen, I’ve come to discover, has an average of almost 250 rainy days a year.
But then Radek comes back from a quick, wet walk to the grocery store utterly enchanted. Bergen seems to have gotten under his skin as charming places often do. And I realize that we’ll return to this city, which somehow changes my entire perspective.
I work in a hotel. I see this all the time. When you pin all of your expectations of a place on one or two days, the weather takes on an oppressive significance. Tourists stay stuck in the lobby feeling sorry for themselves as the rain pours down, ruining their vacation. But regular guests put on a poncho and continue to fall deeper in love with the place, in all of its moods. Because they know that they’ll be back to see another side, in another light, on another day.
Knowing we’d return, I was free to love Bergen in the pouring rain. And I did.