A LOVE LETTER TO... Bergen, Norway

My dear Bergen,

Hva er i veien? What's wrong? Are those raindrops tears?

It's hard for me to hear that you might not be thriving right now. Fond memories linger over your narrow cobbled streets, through a once vibrant fish market, past the shops proudly displaying your national dress, the Bunad, and the delightful charm of historic Bryggen.

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Your enduring strength is to be admired. I know you will pull through. You've already encountered so much turmoil, my dear. Fires have plagued your history and changed your face, but time and time again, you rebuilt yourself. You always rise from the ashes, my love. The ultimate phoenix.

But I long for your company and to once more be bathed in your beauty. I think how pleasant it would be to ascend up the Fløibanen funicular to Mt Fløyen or the cable car to the top of Mt Ulriken and take in the fresh air to revive my spirits. Those spectacular vistas across the region will never be erased from my mind. They have never left me, since the first time I laid eyes on you at my tender age of 14. I remember planting my feet in the snow while looking across your panorama, declaring my love for the place I believed to be my spiritual home. I was head over heels - or as the Norwegians say, "Å leve på luft og kjærlighet".

You are the heart of the fjords. Images of those majestic mountains with charming coloured houses clinging to the edges of the hills evoke such a strong sense of yearning within me.

I know how much you love your cabins. I can sense the desperation of people to travel to the mountains for skiing. Escaping to your hytte is part of your identity, but not being able to spend the night in those little wooden paradises must make each passing week drag on for so much longer.

But soon, my love, you will bloom again, just like you always do. Soon, we will be reunited.

- Juliette Sivertsen