Some days it’s just fun to do random stuff.
Like visiting random museums, for example.
If I ever had to put together a list of the most random museums we have ever visited, this one would definitely be a part of it: The Leprosy Museum. Yep. It really does exist.
Yesterday we were walking down one of the streets of Bergen and suddenly saw the sign.
“Huh? Leprosy Museum? Really?” Well, it sounded strange enough to attract our short baby-like attention span, so we had to do it. The Leprosy Museum is located in the former St George hospital, which was built on the grounds of a convent around 1400s.
The building is very small, it’s hard to believe that thousands of people spent years being patients there. The patient rooms are so tiny, I don’t know how it’s possible for two grown people to fit there. The compartments on the Trans-Siberian railroads train are bigger than those rooms!
There are original instruments for bloodletting and an actual saw that was used for sawing off damaged limbs.
The museum is full of not only historical records, but also personal stories of the patients who spent their lives there. Getting a leprosy was equal to getting a death sentence in the olden days and most patients were ostracized and stigmatized by the society. They were made to wear special clothes and ring the bell to warn others that they are approaching and most ended up in leprosariums, where they spent the rest of their lives in isolation, slowly dying. There is a giant board with thousand of names of the patients, written in tiny font.
One of the notable facts about the museum and the disease is that the leprosy was the first disease ever for which a first registry of all the patients was created. Here in Bergen. It’s shocking, but there are estimated 3,000 die of this disease annually in the modern times. Several hundred new cases are diagnosed annually, according to WHO. Yikes!!!
Then, of course, we needed to do something so lame and touristy that I still don’t even want to admit we did it. Even to myself. We went and played Escape Bryggen game. Escape games are not a new concept and most certainly not unique to Bergen. The game was developed after a popular computer game and quickly took off all over the world. The goal is to solve different clues in a certain amount of time to find a key and unlock the door. There is an Escape game in every major town now, even one in Algers, Algeria! Ha! Maybe we can play every escape game in every town, so we can finally have some rhyme and reason to our mindless bouncing around the world. Make it “Escape the World Tour.” I think that would be world’s unworthiest reason to travel…
What was so special about this particular game, that it was set in Bryggen, in one of the old houses you see on every photo of Bergen. It did have a lot of charm. The walls were really old and leaning quite a bit. I kept wondering if that thing is going to topple over, and all the houses will fall down, like dominoes. The entrance to the game’s location was so hidden, we had to play our own version of “Find the Escape (room)” and after we found it, we had to ring a bell and hope that it takes them less than 10 minutes to come and open the door. Very welcoming…
The game was really fun – challenging, but solvable. It was very family-friendly and everyone got to participate. Even Bobby. Bunny solved a few clues and even Tiny found a key all on his own. We got out right at 60 minutes and didn’t even turn into any hideous creatures as they promised we would!
I’m not going to share any details, as it wouldn’t be fair to the game-makers or players.
Bergen keeps surprising us with fantastic weather. It was a little cold and foggy yesterday, but today is another gloriously sunny and even slightly warm day, which I didn’t believe ever happen here. We fully expected rain, fog, cold, more rain, sleet, maybe even snow, but we, most certainly, didn’t expect the Santa Barbara weather. We did a quick stop at the funicular and got up the mountain to see the gorgeous view of the city, basking in the sunlight.