Originally a Viking settlement, Stavanger is known for its accessibility to stunning fjords around the coast of Norway.https://www.visitnorway.com Despite gray and hazy weather with occasional heavy rain the day we visited Stavanger, the beauty of these magnificent waterways provided plenty of “wow” moments.
|Rugged rock formations and clear, blue water are hallmarks of
Norway's stunning fjords.
|Our small boat was able to get
very close to the cliffs.
For an introduction to the wonders of Norway’s fjords we scheduled a boat ride to Lysefjord, 15 miles east of the city, and cruised around several islands off Norway’s southwestern coast. During the 20-mile journey we admired abundant waterfalls, sheer cliffs, and pretty fishing villages. We saw salmon farms, passed under a bridge too low for large ships, and admired dozens of holiday houses (popular with Norwegians) that were sheltered by the fjords or mountains.
|In the fjords, waterfalls are too
numerous to count.
|Pulpit Rock is the flat outcropping at
the top of this sheer cliff.
Since the prevailing Gulf Stream (which usually blesses Stavanger with some of the country’s best weather) couldn’t overcome the cold and rain, I spent as much time as was comfortable on the open deck of the boat--hat pulled down over my ears and scarf tucked around my neck--admiring the ruggedly beautiful scenes and taking pictures of the impossibly blue water. As a treat, we stopped at the Visitor Center and warmed our chilled bodies with fluffy round waffles and hot tea before continuing the boat ride.
|Waffles and jam--yummy!
Stavanger is the fourth largest city in Norway with 130,000 people, although 20 percent are foreigners brought in by the oil industry. Previously a poor country dependent on fishing and canning, especially of sardines, Norway’s fortunes changed dramatically when oil was discovered there in 1969. As during Viking times, Stavanger is still a major hub for fishing and commerce.
|White wooden houses in Old Town are an important to Stavanger's heritage.
Stavanger is a picturesque city; it’s pedestrian-friendly with narrow streets filled with boutiques, restaurants, and galleries. Utstein Kloster, built around 1260, is Norway’s best preserved medieval monastery. Another outstanding feature is the northernmost tropical garden in the world, filled with 15,000 colorful flowers, palm trees, bamboo, and banana trees. History buffs can follow the economic growth of Norway through visits to the Norwegian Canning Museum, in operation until the 1950s, and the Petroleum Museum, built to resemble a small oil platform.
|Larry enjoyed the amazing views
in Lysefjord, Norway.
We agree that it’s a wonderful way to appreciate the beautiful panoramas of this long, skinny Scandinavian country.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier