One of the really lovely things about a cruise is waking up in the morning, opening the curtain, and finding a completely different view. Our first stop was Stavanger, the third largest city in Norway. The first few photos give a feel of our ‘first view’ and then views of the ship from the ground… she’s big!!
We started the day with a walking tour of Stavanger, unfortunately in the pouring rain – but the sky cleared at lunchtime and from then on we had beautiful sunny weather, not just for the day, but for the rest of the trip. Average temperatures around 24/25 degrees – not bad at all for Norway!
The Fire Tower and Church
The Valberg Tower (Valbergtårnet) as it stands today, was built in 1853 as a watch tower. The tower is 26.5 meters tall. It lays in the middle of the city on a height looking over the town centrum. It was most likely built upon the ruins of an older watch tower. The eight-sided tower was designed by the Norwegian architect Christian Grosch who also designed the Norwegian Royal Palace.
Several fires have haunted the city up through the ages. The largest was most likely in 1860 after the tower was built - 210 houses burned down leaving more than 2000 people homeless. Today the tower is used as a private art gallery presenting contempory art by local and national artists.
The building of the church started in 1123 - 1128. The first bishop was a Benedictine monk named Bishop Reginald (or Reinald) from Winchester, England. Stavanger Cathedral is also called St. Svithun Cathedral after a 9th century bishop from Winchester who was canonized.
The Old Town
Stavanger's core is to a large degree 18th- and 19th-century wooden houses that are protected and considered part of the city's cultural heritage. The area is quite beautiful, especially when the sun comes out! The area has been pedestrianised, and all owners have to sign an agreement to paint the outsides of the houses white, and to plant and tend for flowers!
The New City
As the third largest town, Stavanger has a modern city with all the usual brands such as McDonalds, H&M, Vision Express, Zara etc. It also has a modern library and cinema complex where we made use of the wifi! One part of the city centre has been developed, however, with some beautiful colourful shops.
Well, there you have Stavanger, our first port of call. More to come!
Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx