A Travellerspoint blog

Then Came the Sun...

sunny 22 °C

When we arrived in Stavanger we battened down the hatches and were preparing to spend the day watching Hurricane Helene's rain slashing against the hotel's windows, but we woke to a gloriously sunny morning. Helene was running late and the only clouds on the horizon were two giant cruise ships that had sailed into port before dawn...
So, after a typical Norwegian breakfast, we dashed down to the harbour and jumped aboard a boat heading for the fjords before the city became swamped with cruise passengers. And what an amazing day we had sailing the Hogsfjorden and Lysefjorden...
Norway is renowned for its fjords: long, narrow seawater inlets with near vertical rock walls that chop up the coastline and make road and rail travel virtually impossible. So, school buses are replaced with school boats and the happy kids gave us a wave as they sailed to class...
With a perfectly clear sky and unseasonably warm temperatures in the 20s it was smooth sailing all the way as we passed idyllic islands...
...and marvelled at the magnificent formations in the cliffs high above us. This is known as 'Pulpit Rock' in English...
...while the heart-shaped pale patch in the centre of this cliff is, we were assured, the stone heart of a troll whose love for a human woman had been unrequited...
This is a troll...
We had seen many of these characters hanging about outside tourist shops in Stavanger but, unlike the Norwegians in general, none of them were particularly friendly or communicative. It turns out that since the 9th century trolls have lived in crevices and caves in isolated mountains and have never been very fond of humans. Apparently there are families of trolls living in the caves in the fjord cliffs and they drink from the many freshwater waterfalls like this one, named Hengiare, in the Lysefjorden...
However, this is Norway, land of sagas, legends and myths, so we took our guide's stories with a pinch of salt. Also taken with a pinch of salt are canned Norwegian sardines, and Stavanger was at one time the country's canning capital. Some 80% of Stavanger's population worked in the fishing industry until oil was discovered in the North sea in the 1960s. Now the canneries have all closed. However, the last one standing has been turned into a museum. The museum is in the heart of the old town and is surrounded by narrow streets of quaint wooden houses, all painted white...
The museum curator, an Englishman, was extremely informative and the first thing we learned was that we had been deceived all our lives. Canned Norwegian sardines are not sardines at all: they are humble sprats. When the industry began in the late 1800s the Norwegians guessed that people preferred the tasty little Mediterranean fish so they simply packed the plentiful local sprats in olive oil and called them sardines – and, seemingly, no one ever knew the difference. Here's an antique canning machine from 1908 that our guide was still able to operate...
Hurricane Helene eventually breezed past us in the night and left clear skies and warm airs for our morning cruise north to Bergen. However, severe storm Ali is currently lashing Scotland and is expected to hit us this evening. By then we will be safely tucked up ashore in our Bergen hotel and planning more excursions deep into Norway's stunning fjords.

Posted by Hawkson 06:57 Archived in Norway

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Stunning photos. Such rich colour in the sun. Lucky travellers yet again!

by Jenny

Since you commented on Trolls - watch out for them retaliating on your comment section.

by Janet Vickers

I would not have been one of the happy kids if I had had to take a boat to school--burp!

by R and B

This is a trip of picturesque sights. So lovely. It must be wonderful being on the water. Can't imagine what it is like for the children going to school on a cold and rainy day in a boat.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Wow looks like one again went a tour some where ? Hope to come back soon Sri Lanka ones again go tour. Love and so much happy to see you both and c

by Danushka

Gorgeous. Unique shot of Pulpit Rock. Happy sailing.

by Tom

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.