Monday 11 August – Stavenger, Norway 0800-1700
Arriving into Stavanger, the weather showed some blue skies with passing showers and was quite cool. Later the sun warmed us up providing we were out of the breeze.
Norway’s fourth largest city, Stavanger lies at the mouth of the Gandsfjord. The old port, attests to the sea’s enduring role in Norwegian history. Here, Vikings once sailed on voyages of conquest and exploration. In later centuries, the port served as a major hub for Norway’s mercantile and fishing fleets. By the mid-20th century, however, Stavanger had fallen on hard times as the fishing grounds dwindled. In 1969, the discovery of North Sea oil opened a new chapter in Stavanger’s history.
So this time the Norwegian Petroleum Museum was on our sightseeing list. On our last visit in 2013, we cruised the Lysefjord under Pulpit Rock. With the benefit of Hutch our Port Lecturer, we saw some of his photos at the top of Pulpit Rock. Scary! (We also remembered that on that cruise on the Crown Princess, the Port Lecturer failed to show).
Disembarking we walked off the ship around the cove and ended up at Stavanger Cathedral (under repair and closed but we managed to see of the interior as it was open to prepare for the filing of a chamber music recital). We were heading towards the Valberg Tower we thought, but ended up near the Petroleum Museum. The museum visit was well worthwhile with a mixture of models, film, and child appealing things to do.
Our walk continued up to the Valberg Tower (said to be a good view of the port area but …. It was a good view of that dam ship, Eurodam). We walked down to the port level and along Old Stavanger and re-boarded the ship. Perfect timing, before a lot of squally rain early afternoon.
At Sea – Sunday 30 June
A leisurely day at sea started with a late breakfast in Horizon Court followed by an Enrichment lecture on the Vikings*, and a visit to the Flash Mob Line Dance Class. It was interesting that this craze has now joined the Princess line-up after being popular with young people for the last two-three years. Afternoon tea saw us sitting with two Scottish couples. Today was 1 July at home so some Rotary web maintenance was attended to.
The evening was our first formal night with a production show* “Destination Anywhere” – very good, similar to one seen last year but re-vamped. Then some Right Royal Trivia and a visit to Crooners with pianist/singer Tommy McPhee.
On board are many UK people (may be 40%), Americans, Japanese, and Chinese passengers.
* There is something about the Princess Theatre that even Joy succumbed to; it’s great to listen with one’s eyes closed.
Stavanger, Norway – Monday 1 July
Late sunsets and very early morning brightness have started. Today we sailed into Stavanger with some light rain and were alongside by 8am during our breakfast.
Our morning excursion commenced at 0830 after we boarded a smaller launch heading to and cruising along Lysefjord. It took about an hour to get there. The rain and cool weather came with us but we were prepared. Les spent most of the time on the upper viewing deck.
Lysefjord is said to be one of the most beautiful fjords in all Norway, and was carved by the action of glaciers in the ice ages, then flooded by the sea when the later glaciers retreated. Our cruise came with craggy mountain-scrapes, steep cliffs, dazzling waterfalls, and then “Pulpit Rock” – a formation that towered more than 600m above sea level. Nothing like a pulpit (or the Pulpit Rock we know at Blackheath), but the views from atop would be great – if you hiked for two hours from where the road ends!
Returning to port, we spent a little time walking through the Old Town and around the dock area before re-boarding the Crown Princess. The staple diet here is sardines, indeed Stavanger was a salmon canning capital in the early 1900’s. Nort Sea oil has been kind to the city in more recent times with rig building as well as research, pumping, refining and shipping of the oil itself.
The rain cleared and the sun emerged early in the afternoon.
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