Sunday, 1 October 2006

Stavanger, Norway

I haven't been to Norway since my family's summer vacations there, when I was a young boy many years ago. So it was with great excitement I went back to Norway to see this magnificent country with fresh eyes. I think I never appreciated it enough as a child - especially the breathtaking nature. First stop was the charming coastal city of Stavanger.

Sailing into Stavanger you see these traditional style Norwegian houses. They are colourful and very beautiful wooden houses.

Here you see part of the atmospheric pedestrian neighbourhood, characterised by white wooden houses and flower decorations.

Another street, this one a bit more colourful adding drama but perhaps not having quite the same classy ambience.

Stavanger is the oil capital of Norway. The country has a significant production of North Sea oil which has brought great wealth to this city, who would otherwise likely have gone into decline when fishing lost it's importance as the primary occupation of Norwegians. However, the city itself doesn't seem very affected by the production of oil, which only seems to manifest itself physically in this Oil Museum designed to look like a North Sea drilling platform.Stavanger has a central lake filled with bird life, which only adds to the city's charm. Here a seagull makes an acrobatic backwards flip in the air to catch some bread I threw to it...

...while another member of the species tries a more direct begging approach.

Sailing out of Stavanger I was excited to spot this ship in dock in Stavanger harbour. This is the ship "Vædderen" (The ram) which carries the largest Danish expedition in more than 50 years: The Galathea 3. The ship filled with scientists will circumnavigate the earth and on the way do a large number of experiments, observations and other research covering everything from marine biology to anthropology. It is considered a very big event in Denmark and I considered it a very lucky sign to spot it on it's travels, even though it had not yet made it far from the shores of Denmark. Galathea 1 took place 1845-1847 and Galathea 2 took place 1952-1954.

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