Fantoft, Gamlehaugen, and Tromp Shaming

Sunday, June 23, 2019


Guest post by Janel

We start the day off right with more godt brød.

Today we swap our adorable Airbnb digs for a standard hotel room, which is included as a kickoff to the self-guided bike tour. However, we won’t actually get ahold of our hogs ’til tomorrow, which means we have the entire day to keep poking around Bergen.

I try to get a few less typical shots of the touristy bit of Bergen. Then Dad volunteers himself as model for a post-ironic pseudo-meta re-enactment/presentation of the tourist gaze.

Thon Hotel is simple and comfy. We ditch our bags. Some discuss their foreign holdings.

Today we want to venture south to Fantoft, where we’ll pay a visit to Isam’s old student housing. We’ll need to take a bus or a train, not sure which.

Isam pokes his head into the steamy tourist info building to ask. That’s literally steamy, not figuratively – I had to duck out to avoid sweating through my layers.

While we wait for bestowal of Official Tourist Information, John and Dad take a detour to a pharmacy to get Dad some godt drugs. He’s still not feeling tops, and we need to get him back to at least sorta-swell before we hop on the bikes.

Once everyone returns from their errands, it’s time to address the most important item of business: our quota.

I’ve been eyeballing Trekroneren since MP tasked me with Bergen restaurant research months ago. All they do is dogs.

I get the traditional reindeer dog with lingonberry sauce, mustard, and fried onions. John goes for a cheese dog, and M+D opt for the lamb with mango chutney.

Isam is a growing boy, and asks for the LARGE wild game dog. It is positively enormous, and prompts a heated debate over whether it should count as 1 dog (1 casing = 1 dog) or more than one (it is 1.6x the size of a standard dog).

It’s my blog day, so I’m pulling rank and calling it ONE (big) DOG. Also because we’re all adults here, and we don’t use fractions (or share bathrooms) anymore.

Most reviews, including ours, name these as the best dogs in Norway (at least, thus far). The flavor, the variety of dogs + toppings, the juiciness, the mess — and most of all, that perfect snap.

Kathleen is the one exception to the positive reviews on Google, apparently unimpressed by the sizzling array. Curious, we peruse her profile and find that she uses the word “mediocre” in a near 1:1 ratio to her reviews. Folks, this is a reviewer who KNOWS mediocrity.

On our way to the train that will take us to Fantoft, we stumble across several small streets with art dotting the walls.

Most spectacular are three giant queer trolls, each seeming to embody a different facet of the natural Norwegian landscape.

The train to Fantoft takes about 10 minutes. We sneak in a selfie.

I ambush Dad with the ostrich filter on Snapchat.

Isam overflows with nostalgia upon reaching the Fantoft station. It’s an industrial-looking area designed as cheap student housing, which isn’t much to look at — but every inch is rich with memories for him. He lived here for a whole year when he was 22, taking part in delights exclusive to the penniless student life, dreaming of the day he’d come back to finally sit down at a table at the Bergen fish market.

It’s sweet to see him walk through the residence pathways, doubly deserted on this summer Sunday. I do wonder what poking around the Earlham campus these days would feel like for me.

The weather steadily improves as we walk about 15 minutes up a hill and through brief woods to Fantoft Stave Church.

Apart from boasting eye-catching wooden stylings, this church is particularly interesting because it’s a reconstruction. The original was destroyed in 1992… by black metal arsonists.

Isam explains: part of why the cultural influence of black metal is so fascinating is because it comes from a peaceful nation with enormous wealth, both in terms of beautiful natural resources and cold hard cash. Basically, the kids had nothing to rebel against… so they rebelled against ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. And while *~.Trve Norwegian Black Metal.~* isn’t much of a Thing these days, its aesthetic influence lives on in a wide variety of musical genres.

My metal prowess ends here; ask Isam for more.

A quick hike down through the other half of the woods then into the town of Paradis brings us to Gamlehaugen: the Norwegian royal family’s residence in Bergen.

It is replete with blooming flowers.

Isam reminiscences about visiting the adjacent park armed with matpakke (Norwegian style packed lunch, often consisting of several open-faced sandwiches separated by sheets of plastic specifically designed for this purpose). He also caught a fish here once.

Lacking matpakke, we munch the remainder of the godt brød. The sun says hi, and we are genuinely warm.

Some consider sneaking down a grassy shortcut to the gate, but they are tromp shamed out of it.

Bergen is resplendent in the unusual sunshine.

A “light dinner” is included at Thon Hotel. We mill around ’til 8 to avoid Hüskers en masse, then descend to find a more-than-halfway-decent buffet ripe for grazing.

A few quick fire rounds of Coup cap off the night. My bloodthirsty father picks it up rather more quickly than expected.


Hot Dog Count: 20

3 thoughts on “Fantoft, Gamlehaugen, and Tromp Shaming

  1. Everything about this blog is “to like”. i especially like John’s stance in that special sunshine onthe grassy shortcut.

  2. Rich…ostrich? Wish I could open it to see how it works. Sounds perfect, sorry Rich. What would you use for your mother?

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