The final stop of our week-long cruise on the Crown Princess to Norway was at Stavanger. We were up in plenty of time to see the ship’s approach to the port, taking in views of the houses and other buildings as well as a number of bridges connecting islands around the city.
As with everywhere else during our Norwegian vacation we’d booked an excursion that would first take us outside Stavanger city centre to a couple of points of interest, both very different from one another.
Iron Age Farm
Our first stop was at an iron age farm on a hillside. Here we were given a talk outside the buildings by a local guide dressed in clothing appropriate to the farm’s period before being taken inside a farm building for a further talk about life in iron age times in Norway. The building entrance was incredibly small – keeping the heat in would have been a high priority because of the climate – and as a tour group we had to assist one another stooping under the low beams and shuffling inside. While there wasn’t a huge amount to variety in things to see the actual talks were very interesting.
Ullandhaug Telecoms Tower
From an iron age settlement to something a little more modern next with a short visit to the Ullandhaug Tower. Built for telecommunications purposes in 1964 and featuring some lovely brutal design elements of the time this particular stop didn’t suit everyone on the tour with a number of people electing to stay on the coach. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the architecture (like me) or not, though, the views from the tower over Stavanger were well worth experiencing and on a cloudless day would probably have been quite stunning. In addition there were some better-than-average pieces of graffiti and a few stone markers with ancient Viking designs on them.
We then hit Stavanger itself. From our coach we took a short walk outside the cathedral for a bit of a history lesson of the city as well as an explanation as to what we would see inside. I took some photos of the area (naturally) although the modern part of the city that we saw wasn’t particularly interesting.
Stavanger Cathedral was more impressive inside than out and featured some interesting designs featuring skulls that we took a liking to as well as some rather phallic-looking pieces of sculpture.
Our final visit was to the old part of the city, the more photogenic area of Gamle Stavanger with its buildings almost universally covered in white wooden slats. It was a very attractive place and after a short guided walk through part of it we were free to wander on our own and make our own way back to the cruise ship docked very close by.