A colorful and summery city on the West coast of Norway, the beginning of Norway fjords (from the South direction). The main destination for those interested in the Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) hike and Sverd i fjell (Swords in Rock). Long story short: a unique town. I spent more than two days here, but one of the days was almost entirely on the Preikestolen hike, so I didn’t count it.
Our journey (mine and my friend’s) started on the warm and cozy evening of May the 14th. We took the night train (the best option when it’s starting to get too warm (lately it’s just crazy temperature in Norway like right now in Hamar it’s around 27-29 C… how?)). Since we were traveling from Hamar we had to switch trains in Oslo, and then to Stavanger directly. The whole thing took us around 11 hours, which for some people could be too much. If you don’t like that long journeys, there is an airport in Stavanger so you could take a plane from Oslo (Gardermoen) as well.
Anyway, when we arrived at the city itself, it was around 7:30 am. Thank God the Rema1000 by the train station was opened because otherwise, I would starve! I never take enough food for the journey, I guess it’s a lesson to be learned for here.
The train station was really small in comparison to the Oslo’s one, but it was sufficient. Right in front of it lays a huge pond in the city park called Breiavatnet with ducks and swans. It was really cute, similar to the one in Bergen’s center (check my Bergen post if you want to know). The city center itself wasn’t so far, just around 10 minutes walk, passing by Stavanger domkirke (domkirke is a cathedral) and entering cute and tiny streets between colorful houses enriched with Norwegian architectural taste.
Here and there we could see murals, and one of the city parks was full of them. But there it looked more like a post-apocalyptic scenery than just a place with a lot of murals (never been to Chernobyl but I imagine it could look like that).
The whole “park” and city center lies by the shore of the North Sea, so it’s quite hard to get lost in the city. Just go by the water and you will find direction.
The city itself isn’t that big (I would say it’s similar to Trondheim), so it was quite soon when we had nowhere to go and were stuck on the same streets, trying to find something new worth noticing (and trying to find McDonald for good, old latte; it was still morning after all). But one street drew my attention especially: full of colorful houses, murals here and there, shop decorations and generally a vibe of a summer city. Unfortunately, I don’t remember its name.
And of course, I found a cat (how could I not). It was apparently a Norwegian Forest cat, really friendly, however, he only came to me, he ignored other people. Maybe I like cats so much, that even cats know that (facepalm).
After few hours in the city center, we decided to head to the direction of the Sverd i Fjell, which technically (we realized later) was in the same direction as our accommodation. How silly that we didn’t think about it before. We could have left our things and go with only swimming costumes and food (why swimming costumes? well, the answer is simple: beautiful weather and closeness of water). The park that we had to go through is called Vålandsparken with a beautiful lake in the center, Mosvatnet. The whole walk took us around one hour, which wasn’t that bad considering the distance (around 5 km).
However, even though the temperature was really high, the water was still really, like a bloody cold. I only went two times, without proper swimming, but thanks to that I got some tan (and I still have it, I don’t know how it didn’t come off, I was properly burned).
The next day (technically third day, on the second one we went on the Preikestolen; but post about that will be later in the next week). It was our last full day in Stavanger and the 17th of May at the same time. There’s no better day to be in Norway, in one of the biggest cities, due to the parades and celebrations of this National Day. If you have never been to Norway, this is the best period to come here. Not only the 17th of May but also the weather seems to be nice almost everywhere in May (when I was in Bergen I was also blessed with sunny days).
The city was full of happy and cheerful Norwegians (and tourist as me) in their traditional bunader (dresses) with Norwegian flags in their hands. Of course, I didn’t have anything like that, but I wore a red dress, just to show some respect. Everyone on this day should dress nicely.
In between parades, we went to the Breiavatnet by the center, to just chill and wait for another parade. It was a rather chilly day, but still sunny and cloudless. The last parade that we saw was dedicated for the russ which are Norwegian highschoolers in their last class: you could recognize them by their red (or sometimes blue/black) outfits (like on the last picture above).
The whole thing ended around 4pm, where all the people started to go home to celebrate with families and friends. We went to the local bar called Bar Bache. I really recommend it for all people who are on tight traveling budget, because the beer was really cheap and it’s localized in the city center.
That was my Stavanger experience. If you also were in Stavanger and want to share your post, feel free!
Hope you all are having a good weekend!