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16 November 2013

Highlights of Stavanger, Norway

Welcome to 'Old Stavanger' in Norway. All photography is the property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Welcome to "Old Stavanger" in Norway. All photography is the property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

While I've introduced you to many of my intrepid adventures through Norway's fjords, I want to take you on a tour, a closer look at some of the villages and cities we visited and their main attractions. And so our Norwegian immersion begins, well at the beginning of my epic journey, our first stop in the country's oil capital of Stavanger. A coastal port city that owes its life to the sea—from shipbuilding to herring and sardine production to its recently discovered oil fields in the North Sea, Stavanger thrives because of its ability to adapt, to change; to embrace new opportunities as they arise.

The wharf at Port Stavanger is where we had lunch on our last day in Stavanger.
The wharf at Port of Stavanger is where we had lunch on our last day in Stavanger. 

Welcome to the Port of Stavanger.
Welcome to the Port of Stavanger.

Look at this beauty in the Port of Stavanger! I would love to take that out for a cruise down the fjords!
Look at this beauty in the Port of Stavanger! I would love to take that out for a cruise down the fjords!

This sculpture entitled 'Shrimp' commemorates sailors lost at sea.
This sculpture entitled "Shrimp" commemorates sailors lost at sea.

Gamle Stavanger


One of the charming 19th-century homes in Old Stavanger.
One of the charming 19th-century homes in Old Stavanger.

Having met up with our fantastic guide, Gunhild Vevik from RegionStavanger.com, [seek her out if you're planning a visit],  we set out to explore Stavanger. Gunhild led our team of explorers through "Gamle Stavanger" or Old Stavanger—a quaint quarter in the city centre with meandering cobble-stone streets lined with charming clapboard houses that date back to the early 1800s and protected by the historical society to preserve the rich heritage of Stavanger. Perched on the hillside just above the port, Old Stavanger is one of Norway's most sought after neighborhoods and once you're here, you'll understand why.

:Øvre Hommegate – Stavanger's most colorful street wouldn't you say?
Øvre Hommegate – Stavanger's most colorful street wouldn't you say?

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum


Norwegian Petroleum Museum poses many thought provoking questions about the role of the oil industry in our world today.
Norwegian Petroleum Museum poses many thought provoking questions about the role of the oil industry in our world today. 

After our stroll through Old Stavanger, we visited the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, a fascinating building inside out that illustrates through a series of interactive exhibits the origins of oil and gas, how they are searched and mined and the impact that oil has had on the Norwegian economy since its discovery in the North Sea in 1969. However we must begin our journey by traveling back in time, actually 4.5 billion years to learn of how these resources were created and then move through time as technologies are developed and improved as well as environmental concerns that we all face.

While I enjoyed my journey back in time, looking at scale models of rigs, diving bells and vessels, there is one exhibit that stands above the rest, an exhibit that our trusty guide suggested we experience, a timed offshore-platform disaster simulator. Could we complete the task at hand in the time allotted? Accompanied by my fearless colleague Joe Pedro because I would not embark on this scary adventure alone, we ventured inside this maze of rooms that we had to navigate through while plunged into complete darkness. Suddenly lights are flashing, sirens are sounding, tension is mounting and the clock is ticking. Talk about pressure. Yes while you think it's easy enough to feel your way around for doorways, suddenly there is none, only a hole in the wall that we were forced to climb through and then scramble as fast as we could to daylight. May I add that we were screaming half of the time. For a moment, my disbelief was suspended as my thoughts strayed to what it would be like to be thrust into a real-life state of emergency—a possibility that these brave men face every day far out in the North Sea. We continued our frenetic pace until finally, a door, an exit door to the real world. Finally, we broke free of our harrowing surrounds, gasped for breath and then laughed as our guide Gunhild chortled how we entertained everyone with our screams. You can imagine my embarrassment!

Our narrow escape from the offshore-platform disaster simulator. Note I am clutching my heart! ; ) Photo: Gunhild Vevik.
Our narrow escape from the offshore-platform disaster simulator. Note I am clutching my heart! ; ) Photo: Gunhild Vevik.

At the end of the tour, we were presented with a series of thought-provoking questions and statements about the environmental concerns that the oil industry poses to our world today. One poignant card I remember read "Sometimes you have to sacrifice the environment for the sake of progress. Agree or Disagree." I was literally blown away. This was but one of a number of questions posed to visitors at the end of tour provoking further contemplation. Truly a fascinating as well as educational journey!

Lysefjord and Pulpit's Rock


Our Rødne Fjord cruiser awaiting our arrival for a journey down the Lysefjord.
Our Rødne Fjord cruiser awaiting our arrival for a journey down the Lysefjord.

On our second day in Stavanger, we boarded the Rødne Fjord Cruise through the Lysefjord or "Light fjord" to Preikestolen or Pulpit's Rock, a 2,000-foot-high precipice surrounded by spectacular Norwegian scenery. Along the way, we sailed into a pirate's cove and witnessed the scars of a troll's unrequited love. Read more about this adventure in Song of the Fjords.

Some of the sights along the Lysefjord.
Some of the sights along the Lysefjord.

Charming homes perched on the shores of the Lysefjord.
Charming homes perched on the shores of the Lysefjord.

Such colorful homes just outside Stavanger.
Such colorful homes just outside Stavanger.

Norwegian Canning Museum


Front facade of the Norsk Hermetikkmuseum or the Norwegian Canning Museum.
Front facade of the Norsk Hermetikkmuseum or the Norwegian Canning Museum.

Back in Gamle Stavanger or the old Stavanger, we toured the Norwegian Canning Museum housed in a canning factory that was in operation from 1916-1958. It wasn't until 1982 that the museum opened thus preserving the rich heritage of Stavanger's as well as Norway's lucrative canning industry. The museum recounts the history of sardine canning from the manual-labor intensive production through the evolution of automation. Sadly, no sardines are canned in Norway today and all production now takes place in Poland.

The rear facade of the Norwegian Canning Museum.
The rear facade of the Norwegian Canning Museum. 

Norway's breathtaking fjord country!
Norway's breathtaking fjord country!

Up on the roof in Stavanger, Norway.
Up on the roof in Stavanger, Norway.

If you're planning a holiday in Norway, be sure to add Stavanger to your itinerary. Seek out these attractions plus the extraordinary dining that awaits hungry fjord explorers. I had the most delicious fish soup I have ever tasted in my life on our first night at the Fisketorget in Vågen by the harbor. It was as delicious and unforgettable as the rest of my journey in Norway. Did some mention fish soup?

Visit Norway explorers at dinner on our first night in Stavanger. L to R: Me, Laura Kiniry, Joseph Pedro, Darlene Dubé, Susan Kime, our fearless leader Harald Hansen and Stavanger's best: Gunhild Vevik.
Visit Norway explorers at dinner on our first night in Stavanger. L to R: Me, Laura Kiniry, Joseph Pedro, Darlene Dubé, Susan Kime, our fearless leader Harald Hansen and Stavanger's best: Gunhild Vevik.

More Norway Chronicles:

Special thanks to Innovation Norway and Fjord Norway without whom this trip would not be possible! As always, my opinions and thoughts are mine and mine alone.

14 comments:

  1. You've seen more of Stavanger than I have, Jeff. Love the photos of Gamle Stavanger.

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    1. Hi there Sophie! My tour through Norway was jam packed with sights and great food! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

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  2. Your photos of Stavanger are lovely, Jeff! We have been considering a fjord cruise in Norway for a while now and your posts make me want to go even more.

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    1. Hi there Lisa!! While I wasn't on a fjord cruise per se, we did embark on shorter cruises through the fjords. Either way, you must see the Norway fjords! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!!

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  3. This entry was worthy for the disaster simulator alone :)

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    1. A most harrowing experience my friend but loads and loads of fun too!! Thx so much for stopping by!

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  4. Hard to imagine this picture postcard looking place existing side by side oil production.
    So how did you answer the question, Jeff?

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    1. Hi there Marcia. Agree that all of this stunning beauty is just miles away from the vast oil fields of the North Atlantic. That question is a difficult one to answer but I don't believe we ever have to sacrifice the environment and that a mutually beneficial plan must be developed. So happy you really read it to the end! Thank you!

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  5. I have never heard of Stavanger but what a spectacular and scenic place. I love their unique museums too and especially how you described that offshore-platform disaster simulator. Museums like these are awesome to visit. Beautiful pictures, Jeff. Thanks for this wonderful tour that's making me long to visit Norway even more.

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    1. I am so happy to have introduced you to a new place in this fabulous world of ours! And, I am glad you enjoyed the article even more. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!!

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  6. Gorgeous pics Jeff! I love the contrast of modern against a plethora of history. I have got to get to Norway!

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    1. Hi there Marian and thanks so much for the comment. I can't agree with you more in that throughout Norway, there is a constant contrast of the modern and historical. Makes for a fascinating journey of discovery.

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  7. Jeff, I love Stavanger. I was there last June visiting friends and thought the old city and port were just perfect. Love your photos!

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    1. This was the first stop of our epic fjord adventure thru Norway!! I loved Stavanger and its quaint quarter above the port. Charming and quite enchanting! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind compliments too!

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!