Stavanger

17 10 2011

This weekend I finally checked off the #1 thing on my “to-do-while-in-Norway-list” – hike Preikestolen!

My friend and I left Thursday night on an overnight train to Stavanger and arrived at about 8am the next morning. We quickly dropped our stuff off at our bed and breakfast and hit the town! We mainly explored around downtown and around the harbor. They had a lot of neat little shops that we skipped between. Around noon, we checked into our room, and headed down to the bus stop. We took the bus to right outside of Stavanger to see “Sverd i fjell” or “Swords in Mountain.”  Sverd i fjell is a monument that is for the Battle of Hafrsjord that took place there in the year 872. There are three huge swords and they represent peace, unity, and freedom. They are located right next to the water, and the weather that day was great for going to check them out!

After the Sverd i fjell, we went back into the city and walked around the old part of town. Then, that evening, my friend, who works at the control tower in Stavanger, picked me up and took me to tour the facility. It was great to get up in the tower and see another airport. I especially like Stavanger’s airport because of its location. It is located right next to the water, and therefore has some amazing views from the top of the control tower!

That night, back at the bed and breakfast, we watched a little bit of Norwegian TV in our room before getting free waffles that night from the Bed & Breakfast. We went to bed a bit early because the next day we were going hiking!

My friend that works at the control tower used to work at the cabin at the base of Preikestolen, so he has hiked it numerous times; when I asked how many times he said he lost count a long time ago, but that it is definitely in the triple digits! He knows the trail like the back of his hand! He offered to drive us to Preikestolen since it is outside of Stavanger and the buses have stopped running for the season. My friend and I had prepared for the hike with food, hiking clothes, and all while my Norwegian friend showed up with some regular clothes, untied tennis shoes, and a rain jacket. I have never hiked a day in my life, but my American friend is an avid hiker; even though she is a pro when it comes to hiking, she didn’t really hold a flame to my “nature-inclined” Norwegian friend. He said that he used to be able to jog (yes, jog!) up to the top in about 30 minutes (it usually takes most people 2 hours one way) and there I was thinking I was going to die the majority of the hike. It took us about 3 hours round trip, which is a bit faster-paced than normal. While there is a “trail” to follow, a couple parts of it contain a bunch of rocks that go basically straight up. I was definitely feeling the “burn.” We finally made it to the top and I could not have been more excited! I was thrilled and proud about the fact that I just survived the hike up, but even more excited that I was finally at Preikestolen. I’m not sure where I first heard of Preikestolen, but ever since I decided to go to Norway, it has always been on the top of my list of things to do while here!

Luckily, the weather was just good enough so that we could still get a great view of the fjord. It was a little chilly up at the top, but we had a quick snack and took some pictures. Some, I might add, my parents were not exactly fond of. When I was up there, I was so thrilled to be there that I wanted to get all sorts of pictures since I don’t know when or if I’ll ever be back up there, and I was able to block out the fact that we were so high up (604 meters to be exact) so I sat a little close to the edge just for the photo ops. 🙂

After the hike, we headed back to Stavanger. To get back to the city you have to take one of two ferries; on the way back we took the one that takes a bit more time. During the ride, we went to the kiosk on board and my Norwegian friend introduced us to one of his favorite Norwegian specialties. It was some sort of potato ball about the size of a softball, but he said it is more common for them to be smaller and eaten as a side dish. It was made of potatoes and had some ham in the middle of it and was served with little pieces of ham sprinkled around it. It sounds odd, and he said he didn’t like it the first time he tried it, but I thought it was delicious! But it was so large and dense that I couldn’t finish the whole thing.

That night, we had planned on walking around down town a little bit more before leaving the next morning, but after getting back to our bed & breakfast and showering, we realized how tired we were, so we just stayed in and enjoyed complimentary Norwegian waffles again that night. 🙂

It was a quick trip to Stavanger, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Of course, my favorite part, by far, was Preikestolen! And although my legs have been pretty sore since, I have some great memories and crazy pictures to show for it:

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