Perhaps the counterpart to
UK oil capital, Stavanger is certainly an
important cornerstone in modern Norway, being the centre of its oil industry and much of
its agricultural land. It sits in one of the warmest and wettest part of Norway, so doesn't
have the classic Scandinavian weather, but you don't have to travel far inland to find
spectacular fjords and miles of great skiing.
I have visited Stavanger many times, largely due to the nature of my company's business,
but for a short while my parents were also resident there, which gave me better opportunities
to see the place properly. It always surprises me that somewhere less distant to Aberdeen than
can be so different, just across the North Sea. I have experienced Stavanger in all
seasons and can confirm that they all really merge into one; the wet season.
Down at the harbour in summer time Stavanger has a bustling cafe culture, that
European phenomenon so missing from the UK, and here proven that it's not just due to the
weather. This picture was actually taken in April.
Looking across the harbour to some of the hotels of central Stavanger. Although
plenty of traditional wooden buildings survive, the developments of the 60s and 70s were
Fronts of the old warehouses at the harbourside, with their overhanging hoist gables.
Most of them are now cafes and bars.
Old central Stavanger is brightly painted and still looks cheerful even in the typically
Old wooden buildings in central Stavanger, bars and restaurants for the most part. On
Sundays, everything is shut and the streets are deserted but for the pint-seeking
Brits seen here.
Another shot of Old Stavanger, this time on a day where people were actually able to
go about their business. The trading hours in Norway are draconian, much like they were in
Scotland forty years ago.
Three giant swords pierce the rock on the shores of Hafrsfjord, to commemorate the
unification of Norway under King Harald Fairhair in 872. Needless to say, Fairhair's is
the largest of the swords.
By the shores of the
stands the austere monument to the Alexander Kielland, a
floating accommodation vessel which capsised in 1980 with the loss of 123 lives. It remains the
second worst offshore oilfield accident in the North Sea.
A view of the Norwegian countryside from the Bilmuseum (Automobile Museum) outside of Stavanger.
Much of the Norwegian countryside looks quite similar to that of Scotland.
Utstein Kloster or abbey is north of Stavanger on Mosteroy island, reached through the Rennfast
deep tunnel under the fjord. It was founded in the 13th century and is one of Norway's best preserved
My parents outside their house in Tananger, a part of Sola kommune, near Stavanger. Like in
houses in Norway are predominantly wood, and although ours looked a bit like a large garden shed
from the outside, it
was always very warm inside. Triple glazing and excellent insulation is
something that housing
in Scotland could really do with.
Local fishermen sell their catch right on the quayside in Stavanger. Interestingly, they're
not allowed to sell you prawns raw, so they're cooked pink on the boat when sailing back to port.
Being the centre of Norway's oil industry, Stavanger has a very interesting museum all
about it, which is itself designed to look like a series of oil platforms.
Statue of a lad feeding the ducks, next to the frozen Breiavatnet lake.
Central Stavanger as viewed from the middle of Breiavatnet. The winter of 2010 was
unusually cold all across Europe, and this amount of snow and ice in Stavanger had not been seen for
In another area of Rogaland county is the town of Sandnes, a reasonable bus
trip from the city centre. We bought some tungsten carbide studs for our
shoes, so that we could walk along the icy pavements safely.
The much larger lake of Mosvatnet was completely frozen over too. It was a giant
natural ice rink popular with local skaters for a while, but the heavy snow put a stop to
that. In the background is the Rica Hotel.