Bit late on the reporting front is my trip to the Stavanger Region of Norway to visit the Fjords and the magnificent Preikestolen (or Preacher’s Rock). After an initially chilly start, it turned out to be a pretty awesome trip with plenty of great-to-mention-at-my-parent’s dinner-party stories.
The journey started with a late flight from Gatwick which meant that we arrived at Stavanger airport a little after midnight. Much to my disappointment, EU passports don’t receive passport stamps in Norway (even after a lot of begging!). Grabbed a taxi and received the first of many three-digit receipts (guaranteed anything in Norway will cost 10 x more than in the UK!). When the price of water is high in McDonalds, you know it’s going to be hard to be thrifty!
Unfortunately, during the time I was in Stavanger the Offshore Northern Seas oil conference was going on which meant there were absolutely no hotel vacancies in the city. Future travellers be warned: the end of August is when these conferences happen so book early to avoid camping! Having said that, I found the camping facilities in Stavanger quite satisfactory, if a little noisy. Having French tourists squealing over a hedgehog at three in the morning isn’t exactly what I’d call my cup of tea.
The great thing about camping is that you’re guaranteed to not oversleep. We took an early start and spent a couple hours wandering the city. Further back from the port is old town Stavanger with its charming cobbled streets and cute little coffee shops. You’ll forgive the rain.
Before taking the Rodne Fjord tour, I popped in to the Norwegian Petroleum museum, which you’ll find very close to the port of Stavanger. Initially I thought it looked a bit of a joke; however, you’ll find lots of information on the importance and history of oil discovery in the north sea and the relationship between the UK and Norway. Now knowing that Norway is the world’s fifth largest exporter of oil and third largest of gas, I’m not so surprised they have a museum dedicated to it. There’s also a rather in-depth tribute to the Scottish-Norwegian oil extraction expedition, FRIGG, complete with artefacts from the rig and a timeline documenting its discovery in 1971 until its closure in 2004. The really fun part is the replica offshore platform complete with the fire escape for oil workers (think bouncy nets leading to the ground!).
Boat trip down Lysefjord
The boat tour went down Lysefjord, a narrow fjord situated in Forsand in Ryfylke. Lysefjord translates as ‘light fjord’ due to the light coloured granite rocks along its sides. Fjords were created by the action of glaciers during the ice ages (making them post-glacial landform features). They are a more extreme version of U-Shaped valleys. The valley bottom runs for many metres deep and was filled with water from the sea after the glaciers retreated creating this very dramatic and stunning effect:
After about an hour of being on the boat, I passed the Hengjanefossen Waterfall. Due to the recent precipitation in the region, the water was particularly heavy and so the boat couldn’t get too close. I was lucky enough to catch a rainbow though!
The Trip to Preikestolen
After spending two of my four nights in Norway in Stavanger, I took the ferry/bus service to the Preikestolhytta (Preikestolen Youth Hostel) which overlooks the beautiful Lake Refsvatnet and mountains. The youth hostel is very conveniently situated near the starting points for many mountain hikes and, of course, the famous Preikestolen. It provides a yummy breakfast complete with honey from the Lysefjord region.
I started my hike to Preikestolen pretty early as it takes approximately two hours one way (for me, maybe a little longer) to get there. I managed to get to Preikestolen around 1-ish, and I had pancakes on Preikestolen. It was a fairly strenuous hike but not impossible and there were plenty of people of all ages who were making it! It’s definitely well worth it and the view of the fjords from Preikestolen is unparalleled. It’s also a rather great place to have lunch! I would advise you to wear appropriate footwear and to bring lots of water and food.
Legend has it that if 7 brothers from the region of Stavanger were to marry 7 sisters the crack down Priekestolen would weaken and Pulpit rock with plunge into the sea below!
Last but not least…hike to Moslifjellet!
The highest of the mountains near the Preikestolhytta, Moslifjellet is well worth the muddy hike up to the 718 m.o.h! I signed the guest book whilst I was there too 🙂
Photos: Charlotte Tidman