Sunday, 3 May 2015

Our first day in Norway!

Yesterday morning, Fram arrived at the first stop of this trip: the city of Stavanger. It is considered today to be the centre of Norway´s oil industry.
To introduce everyone to the facts about this industry and the role it plays in this area, our guests could attend a lecture called “Norway as a Petroleum Nation” in the morning. This lecture was followed by a Kayak briefing for those who would like to join our Kayak Adventures in the Norwegian Fjords.

Fram arrived in Stavanger at noon.
We were greeted by locals standing along the shore, some even  waving the Norwegian flag! In combination with the great weather, this made us feel very welcome in this beautiful city. As soon as the gangway was down, people went exploring the city, it's picture-perfect Gamle Stanvanger (Old Stavanger), and the peaceful Breiavatnet lake in the city centre. Even though it was Sunday, some shops were open which allowed us to do some first souvenir shopping.

Our excursions started soon after arrival and guests had the chance to choose between two tours. The Stavanger Panorama Tour took us by bus from the pier to the outskirts of the city. Stops included Hafrsfjord, where a historical sea battle was fought and the Ullandhaug Tower from where we had a bird's eye view over the city, its surrounding area and the Ryfylke Fjord. The weather was a lot better than during our last trip here so we were blessed with clear views! On the way back, the bus dropped us of in the old part of Stavanger, so we could see the more than 150 well preserved wooden houses built at the end of the 17th century.
From there we went to the impressive Stavanger Cathedral which was built out of stone in the 12th century by Bishop Reginald from Winchester, England.
The second tour, the Walk in the Old Quarters also took us from the pier to the old Stavanger but by foot. This allowed us to learn more details about the city itself and historical buildings on the way. Our local guide Bernt even showed us some very interesting things that barely anyone notices when walking through this city. We for example got to see a staircase exclusively built for ducks to be able to come out of the water during spring when they have chicks, who would otherwise not be able to climb on shore. Bernt also told us that when the police isn't too busy, they come to this place to escort the ducks safely across the streets! One of the stops on this walk was Stanvanger's Canning Museum where we were able to see how (for example) fish was canned and exported to over 40 countries in 1920. We even had a little tasting session at the end of our tour, which was very nice.

 The good weather and the friendly locals made this Sunday a big success. Everyone got back on board with a big smile and ready for our Dinner Buffet in IMAQ Restaurant.
Our evening consisted of sailing back and forth in the scenic 42 km long Lysefjorden. The weather was clear enough to see the two top attraction of this fjord that are also amongst the most visited tourist attractions in Norway. One is called Preikestolen.
It consists of a steep cliff which rises 604 metres (1982 feet) above the fjord with an almost flat top of approximately 25 by 25 metres (82 by 82 feet).
The other one is a boulder located in the Kjerag mountain and called Kjeragbolten. The rock itself is a 5 m³ glacial deposit wedged in the mountain's crevasse. It is a very famous photo spot for tourists.

We were all standing outside on the decks to admire the scenery with perfectly clear views and almost ideal lighting for pictures. It was a great ending to our first day in Norway and we are very much looking forward to the next ones!