Once again we sailed overnight to our next destination, Stavanger in Norway.
We visited Norway in 2015 on our hope to see the Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, but we didm’t see this wonder of nature. It was mid-winter and so it was dark until 8am and by 4pm. This meant that when we went through the fjord from Flåm to Bergen we were unable to be awed by its beauty. When we received the itinerary for this cruise and saw that we would be visiting Stavanger with the Lyjsford Fjord we decided to book the excursion offered by the ship immediately. It was definitely something we wanted to see and do.
Fjord from Flam to Bergen at night
As I said in my blog on cruising, choose ship related excursions carefully as they can be expensive. This was worth every penny we spent. The ship berthed in Stavanger at about 08:00 in the morning and, once again, we had a day to explore the city. The first thing to do when we left the ship was to make our way to the pier ‘next door’ for the ferry which was to take us up the Lyjsford Fjord. We were very impressed at the efficiency of the checking in system and that they left right on time.
Unfortunately it was raining steadily while we went up the fjord so we had to sit inside which made the taking of photos a bit difficult. At one stage the rain eased and a number of people, including Trevor, went to the open section at the front of the boat from where they were able to get some better photos. The fjord was more than we hoped or expected. It was absolutely stunning. I will let the photos speak for the beauty as it would be very difficult to describe in words.
A cliff side
Bottom of very high waterfall
Angular cliff formations
At one point a fairly large piece of rock, known as Pulpit Rock, juts out from one of the cliffs. The energetic and fit are able to climb up to the rock taking 1.5 hours to go up and the same amount of time for the descent. They leave and return by coach from a small village at the base of a cliff where there is a small harbour and are taken to the point for the start of the climb. It is said to be rough and steep. After 3 hours going up and down the fjord back to the harbour we were taken back to the pier.
Where the ferry stops for hikers travelling to and from Pulpit Rock
Ships in the fjord
Prior to leaving the ship earlier in the morning we had seen a set of stairs going up from the pier into the town. We took these past some lovely little homes and at the top of the stairs and the slope which ended them we came into a street lined with homes with flowerboxes and bright potted plants all the way along. Here in Stavanger most of the houses were white, in contrast to the yellow ones of Skagen. In front of us was a children’s park which was quite busy so we turned right and admired the well-maintained, white wooden homes built late 1700s or early 1800s.
White house with beautiful pot plants
We climbed these stairs and slope to the houses of Stavanger
At the end of the street we came across a home with a plaque on it but the inscription was in Norwegian so we couldn’t understand it. A young couple came up the road and we asked them what it said. They replied that they were also visitors from Germany but not to worry as he could get a translation on his phone. He took it out, hovered over the plaque and read the inscription from the German to which it had translated on his phone. The house was the 1st built in the area in 1700 by a trade merchant. His family and all their descendants lived and died there until 1855. Amazing what can be done on a cell phone today!
Oldest house in Stavanger on left with a modern building at the back
We turned and walked back to the other end of the road where there was the only, very large, house in the street that was not painted white. In fact, it was not painted at all but was just grey concrete and red tiles. It did take away from the beauty of the other homes.
Here the road ended with another very small park in which there were a number of bronze sculptures, including one of the sculptor who sculpted the others in the park. While there we heard about the oldest cathedral in Norway situated on the opposite hill.
This was my favourite sculpture – the biggest Top Hat ever seen
The sculptor ofall the sculptures in the park
As we made our way to the cathedral we noticed dozens of marquees being put up and, on enquiry, we learnt that they were preparing for a 3-day festival of Norwegian food. I wish I had recorded them as they were all singing as they worked. We found the cathedral, which is definitely not imposing, but it was locked because of the food festival. Such a pity as we had been told that it was quite simply decorated but beautiful at the same time.
Rear of oldest Cathedral in Norway. This entrance faces on to the harbour area
We had time to take a short walk along the pier where we saw a full-size replica of a Viking Ship and a row of street cafés which were all pretty busy. High on a hill we could see a high round tower which turned out to be an old storage tower.
Replica of a Viking Ship
I, with a number of other passengers, took the opportunity to pop into the Visitor Centre before re-boarding to make use of the available free wifi. We sailed out of Stavanger at 18:00.
The view as we sailed out of Stavanger