A couple of weeks ago I was at a conference in Haugesund, Norway. The easiest way to get to it from Aberdeen is via Stavanger, so I decided to spend the weekend beforehand in Stavanger.
Stavanger reminded me of Aberdeen actually: Harbour city and industry revolving around fishing, which then moved on to oil. Cobbled streets, lots of hill walking to be done (so I hear), and instead of the river Dee they have the Lysefjord…it was interesting exploring somewhere completely new that seemed rather like home as well.
The main part of town spreads out from the harbour – this side is where the tour boats and private little boats are; the big industrial harbour is all the way round the other side.
I got in on the Saturday afternoon and just wandered around the harbour and the town centre. Here is a street with colourful buildings.
And here is the Local Yarn Store! Bit graffitied on the outside, but lovely on the inside. I went looking for Norwegian yarn, and got myself some Dreamline Sky by Du Store Alpakka, and Mandarin Petit by Sandnes Garn for a friend. I also found the Dale of Norway flagship store, but didn’t get a chance to visit it.
My wanders also took me through Old Stavanger, which is ye olde and cobbly, and has pretty gardens. Much like Old Aberdeen, but with lovely white clapboard houses instead of lovely granite houses.
I was actually pretty thrilled at spotting lots of the same plants that we get in Aberdeen…it doesn’t sound like much, seeing as the climate must be pretty similar, but it charmed me anyway. These flowers, beside a pathway in Old Stavanger, also grow in my front garden (no idea what they’re called – anyone?).
Also in Old Stavanger I came across a pottery studio run by three women. There were some really interesting pieces in there, but I showed restraint and came away with a lovely wee ceramic brooch, inspired by the clapboard houses on this street. Apparently the artist had also done little models of the houses for the residents.
Later in the evening the lights around the harbour were pretty.
The Stavanger domkirke is apparently the oldest cathedral in Norway. I was silly enough not to get a photo of the main building, but I did get one of it’s impressive back door lighted up.
The next morning there was a cruise ship in town, so lots of tourists on day release! I wandered around Old Stavanger some more, and visited the Norwegian Canning Museum. I really enjoyed it, and I shall leave it for another post.
Back down to the harbour again, and this time I spotted some footsteps – of Nobel Peace Laureates.
Then in the afternoon I got on a boat and toured the Lysefjord. ‘Lys’ means light, and refers to the light coloured cliffs along the fjord. First we had to pass through Hogsfjord, which is where many people have summer houses. To me they looked like secret little houses in the woods, straight out of a Gothic fairytale.
Doesn’t this rock look like some ancient warrior?
Along the way there’s a bit where farmers graze their goats in the summer, and the tour boat stops to feed them. I don’t think the grass gets eaten much here, as the goats were expecting the boats and skipped up joyfully as it approached. And not long after, the next boat came along…
And here is the famous Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock in English. It sticks out from the cliff, and is almost completely flat. If I go back to Stavanger I’d like to try the hike up to it, but for now it was pretty interesting from below as well.
The next day I was leaving Stavanger but had the morning free, so I visited the Norwegian Oil Museum. It was a really interesting visit, with great information and amazing scale models! I also thought they presented both ‘sides’ of the oil story well – the need to sustain energy and economic needs, and the need for alternative energy sources and environmental protection.
Then I got my boat across to Haugesund, which also has a nice wee harbour.
Stavanger and Haugesund have several interesting sculptures, but I particularly liked the ones in Haugesund, such as this ‘Fiskhandler’ (fishmonger I think).
And Marilyn Monroe. Turns out her
father grandfather (corrected – see comments) emigrated to the States from Haugesund.
And just two days later the conference was over, I was on a bus and a ferry and a flight, and it was goodbye Scandinavia. I hope to return!
For more photos visit my Stavanger and Haugesund set on Flickr.