Day 9 of 56 – July 29
We made a short stop at Stavanger, another one of Europe’s southern ports and interesting old towns in Norway. This is the third-largest city and one of the oldest settlements in the country.
We opted to do separate excursions on this stop. Steve satisfied his flying urge by taking a helicopter tour, while I stayed on the ground for a walking adventure. It turned out to be a good way to see the best of Stavanger from the air and on the ground, and we got to share pictures afterward!
On the ground
Located a short walk from the cruise ship terminal, my local guide led us to the cobbled streets of the Gamle Stavanger neighborhood, the heart of Old Town Stavanger. Showcased here were 173 restored wooden buildings owned now mostly by private residents. The area was originally home to workers of a sardine canning company. As we walked along she took us back in time and let us imagine what life was like in the 18th century. If not for a conservancy group in the 1950’s, these wonderful buildings would have been demolished in favor of progress.
The last stop of my tour was at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. Initially I was going to skip it, but I was glad I continued. It was fascinating to learn that the 1964 discovery of offshore oil here forever changed the bustling city’s fortunes and landscape. Revenues from the petroleum sector have given Norwegians one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.
The guide stated there is truth to what the UN asserted – Norway could be the world’s best country to live in. Folks here are well educated, well paid and well provided with public services. Schools, health care, sick pay and pensions for all have been made possible by conscious and responsible administration of oil revenues.
Stavanger remains the center of the oil industry in Norway today, and is one of Europe’s energy capitals. Steve was so excited about my description of the Petroleum Museum that he went there himself to check it out!
By lunchtime our excursions were complete and we met up to grab a yummy meal at the ship’s Pool Grill, quenching our thirst with some cold brews:
That evening the sky and the North Sea was ablaze with an orange hue as we cruised along.
Next up: The capital of Norway – Oslo!