Favorite Quote

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel,
read only one page." St. Augustine of Hippo

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pizza Dip

When I started this blog, I said that I also wanted to blog about recipes that I tried on Pinterest.  I spent most of the day making cinnamon rolls yesterday for several of our Norwegian friends but I needed something to take to a Spring wives social last night.  I decided that would be the perfect time to try something new.  So I went to my Pinterest boards and decided to find something to make.  This is my FIRST recipe that I have pinned that actually made.  :) 

I have to say, the people that have tried my onion dip, didn't think this "quite" measured up, but the people who had never had it, really LOVED it.  And what made it really convenient, is that there were quite a few people there who are going Gluten Free, so they were very happy to just eat it with a spoon.  Enjoy!!

Pizza Dip Recipe from Closet Cooking

Driving from Stavanger to Bergen

 Day 8, Saturday April 25th – Bergen

We had a LOT of trouble finding something that was open and available in Bergen.  Our first choice was: Skuteviken Guesthouse   which had apartments with kitchens for 900 NOK’s per night.  Unfortunately we were not able to get a room there, but the owners really tried to help.  They gave us several other places to check but they were already booked as well. 

We ended up booking at Hotel Park for 1040 NOK’s per night.

Harald Hårfagresgt. 35
N-5007 Bergen
Telefon+47 55 54 44 00
Fax +47 55 54 44 44

179 km/04h07

Shortly after leaving Stavanger we hit our first tunnel.  This tunnel is the 5.8 km long Byfjord tunnel.  What is amazing about this tunnel is not how long it is but how deep it goes under the water.  Once we entered the tunnel, the road drops down at a very steep angle and it seemed like we were going down, down, down.  Our ears started popping and soon were at 223 meters (almost 732 feet) below sea level - I believe this is the second-deepest road tunnel in the world (but no worries .... we'll go through THE deepest road tunnel today as well!).  It was actually a relief to begin the steep drive back up the tunnel, and to emerge back to the bright sunlight on the island of Sokn.

On this trip I thought we might stop at the Utstein Kloster but we decided against it.  This was a huge mistake.  We have gone since then, and I will be taking our future visitors here as well.  It is on the western tip of Mosterøy island and it is one of Norway's finest medieval monuments.  This was one of the royal estates of King Harold Fairhair.  King Harold Fairhair was the first king to claim sovereignty over all of Norway. Utstein was also the residence for King Magnus Lawmender around the year 1200, and it was later donated to the monks at the St. Olav monastery in Stavanger. They established an Augustinian monastery and carried on with the construction. From the middle of the 18th century, Utstein evolved into a Danish style country manor.  Today Utstein Kloster has opened its doors to everyone and classical classical as well as jazz concerts are often held in the chapel. The concerts are performed by top musicians from all over the world.

Here is my link to all of our pictures there Utstein Kloster and the link to the Utstein Kloster website.
To get to Bergen we need to take 2 ferries.  Website is Ferry website .

First ferry is Mortavika – Arsvagen.  Ferry seems to run every ½ hour.  I don't remember exactly how much this ferry cost, but I think it was around 80NOK.

After taking this ferry we went through (what we understand to be) the deepest road tunnel in the world.  This tunnel is 8 km long and it drops to 260 meters (over 853 feet).  Needless to say, our ears were popping just as much on this tunnel and we were very happy to when we started climbing out of it.  

We decided to take a detour to the Langfassen waterfall in Fjæra.  This is called one of the more beautiful cascade waterfalls in the world.  With a width of 250 feet, the river spills over the side of a mountain slope for a length of 2000 feet before it joins the waters of the Åkra Fjord.  This is such an awe inspiring sight!  I really recommend that if you have a chance, you stop to see it.

And here is the link to all of our Facebook pictures for this waterfall  Langfassen Waterfall

If you take this detour, then time changes to:

6h32/339 km
And you'll add these 2 tolls:
Hodnafjell: 12.00 NOK x 2 = 24NOK
Rullestad: 40.00 NOK x 2 = 80 NOK

Then we have tolls:
Lilland: 12.00 NOK
Føyno: 85.00 NOK

And then another ferry that goes from  Sandvikvag – Halhjem (this one seems to run every ½ hour M-F and every 45 min on the weekends). This ferry ride is almost an hour long.

Then one more toll: Gamle Nygardsbro: 15.00 NOK

We had thought that we might visit Lysekloster but we spent so much time at the Langfassen waterfall that we ran out of time.  It is supposed to be difficult to find and it’s a narrow, winding country road, just wide enough for one car (wonder if that means SUV?).

Lyse Kloster was founded in 1146 by bishop Sigurd in Bergen. He owned the farm Lyse at Os, and there he built the first Cistercian monastery in Norway. The monastery became big and powerful, and at the time of the Reformation it was one of the most important property in the country. After the Reformation, Lyse Kloster became the property of the Danish King.  During the following century a number of owners allowed a gradual destruction of the buildings to take place. Stone from the buildings at Lyse Kloster was used while building The Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen and Kronborg Castle in Denmark. The ruins are today partly restored, and are the most frequently visited monument at Os.

Information that I found on internet:  “It is a small place, but the ruins that are left are quite interesting to walk around.  Not much left, but we can get a good feeling of the place.  One section of arches that was part of the wall surrounding the cloister still showed some of the details of the original carvings and workmanship.  There were a number of empty graves set in the floor of the church, with the lids missing.  They were small, suited to the shorter people of the day.  They even still had the stone pillow to support the head.  Unfortunately we came a bit late in the day, so the site as largely in shadows.”

Next stop Bergen!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An evening walk

I'm not sure if you remember, since I haven't been posting food pictures lately, but Ron and I are still on our diet, and we still need to exercise at least 30 minutes 6 times a day week (Ron caught that mistake.  He said if he has to exercise 6 times a day he quits! LOL)  In this post First post about Norway  I talked about Norway's  right of access to, and passage through, uncultivated land in the countryside.  It is based on respect for the countryside, and all visitors are expected to show consideration for farmers and landowners, other users and the environment. What does this mean?  It means that we can walk straight through a cow pasture to get to our favorite spot.  And in many places, there are ladders handy to climb OVER the fences so you don't hurt yourself.

Tonight we headed a brand new way for us.  We've always seen sheep but have never made it all the way to them.  This walk is from our house and took us about an hour round trip with many stops for pictures.  Enjoy!

We've come to our first ladder to climb over an electrified fence.  This one is better than some we have seen.

 Isn't he handsome?  :)

There they are!

Pretty views!

We take pictures of different things.

I wonder how fast they would run if they knew how yummy we thought lamb was?

Here is the ladder on the other side of the pasture

But we decided to go back the way we came.  We think this might take us to the 3 Swords ... but that will be a walk for another day.

No, no ... don't get up.

And now we are out of the pasture and on our way back to the house.

Nice evening for a walk.   And .... I've lost 2 1/2 lbs and Ron has lost 3 1/2 lbs since Sunday.  Can't beat that!

Stavanger Day 3-7

Ron and I did Preikestolen on Monday since he didn't start work until Tuesday.  We left the hotel around 10:00 a.m. and didn’t get back until almost 6:30 p.m. so it is an all day event.  We packed a lunch and ate it when we got to the top of Preikestolen.  Our TomTom said there were 2 different ways to go.  Both took about 1h15m.  One had a nice drive with a 10 minute ferry ride and the other way had a 45 minute ferry ride with about 30 minutes of driving.  We took the long drive way there and the ferry cost 105 NOK.  We just drove up onto the ferry and as we took off, they came and collected the money while you were sitting in your car.  The long ferry ride was actually cheaper!  It was only 80 NOK.  We drove onto the ferry and then went upstairs to the café to get a bite to eat.  They came around to everyone there and you paid them then.  There is just NO way to fully describe the experience.  It was wonderful.  It was suppose to take 2 hours each way but we’re certainly not in shape and it took about 2h20m each way for us.  I am afraid of heights but I did ok for the most part going up, but going down would have been extremely hard for me.  Ron saw on the sign at the top that there were 2 ways down, one along the cliff and one over the hills.  We decided to take the hill route back down but we ended up having to go UP more first and then we started down.  Here is the link for those pictures:  Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock).  Here is the link to my blog post about it:  Preikestolen blog post And here is the link to all of our Preikestolen pictures  Facebook Preikestolen pictures

We did not do it this time, but when we had visitors we took them to the Ullanhaug Farm Reconstruction, a reconstruction of a 1,500 year old Iron Age farm with realistic sights and smells.  They made bread the old way, let us go into the houses, showed the food that was available then … Below is a picture we took in one of the houses.

Here is information that I got from the Frommer's Guide that I copied.  After their information I have included some of my thoughts and some of my pictures of the items.

Arkeologisk Museum

The Vikings will live on forever here, where 15,000 years of southwestern Norway's culture and natural history is on parade. Models of prehistoric life attract a lot of attention, as do the changing natural history exhibitions. Educational but fun films are shown periodically; call ahead to check the schedule. This museum is also the shelter for the public archive of antiquities for Rogaland. It's very family-friendly, featuring treasure-hunt games and other activities for kids.

-----  I didn’t like this museum as much as the oil museum but it was ok.  The first thing you need to do after getting your ticket is walk through to the very back of the museum.  This museum only has one rather large room on the first floor.  At the very back along the left hand side of the room on a shelf are books titled “Finds of Rogaland from Ice Age to Middle Ages”.  This book will have a lot of details about the exhibits in the second half of the room that you will see.  The book can be used while in the museum, just return it when you are done.  It seems to me that they should be at the beginning instead of the end, but nothing you can do about that.  Also next to the books is a rotating shelf that has Treasure Hunt sheets for the kids to fill out as the travel through the museum.  Again, I think this would be better at the beginning.  They have different ones for different ages in Norwegian and in English.  They are split up for the following age groups:  4-7, 5-8, 8-10 and 10+.  If the English pages you want are out, just go to the front desk and they can give it to you. 

The first half is an exhibit that changes every year and it is not in English.  I found out several things by going up to the desk and just asking questions.  For example, there is a skeleton in dirt at the very back of the museum.  There is nothing, in Norwegian or English to describe what it is.  It is (if I remember correctly) from 500 BC.  It is a man’s body but the teeth appear to be female which suggests to them that the man was buried on top of the body of his wife about 10 years later.  She said that the soil had been “sour” so it ate the woman’s bones up but her belongings were also found in the grave, a comb, a needle for sewing and other items.  

Also, by the front desk is a café.  There is a skeleton of an animal here but the description was only in Norwegian.  They told me that it was actually the skeleton of a Polar Bear that tests show died about 10,600 years ago.  They think it weighed about 600 kg (~1323 lbs)  It was in such a preserved state that they found the contents of its stomach contained partially digested seal and in its throat was a cod fish … she said it appears that it choked to death.  If you go out the doors here (no signs at all so I would not have known if it hadn’t been pointed out to me) to the garden, inside a tent is a copy of a Viking’s boat.  She said it is just a reproduction as the only real ones at in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.  Here is a picture of it.

There is also an obelisk that was found lying down on the other side of the bushes that they were going to put into the exhibit in the future.  When you are done looking at the downstairs it is possible (again, no signs in English so it’s hard to tell) to go up the stairs and watch the conservationists at work.  There are, I think, 6 different enclosed offices with glass walls and you can watch them at work.  You can also go up the small flight of stairs and look at the library but the books are all in Norwegian. 

Domkirke (Cathedral)
This is one of the great churches from the Middle Ages left in Norway and it stands reasonably intact.  Constructed over a decade beginning in 1125, the cathedral was dedicated to Saint Swithun.  It is said that Bishop Reinald sailed here from Winchester, England, with relics of the saint, to dedicate the cathedral.  He carried with him what was said to be the arm of Swithun.  A fire in 1272 swept over the Romanesque structure, destroying most of it.  A major restoration from 1938 to 1942 was carried out that, for the most part, returned the church to a Middle Ages look.  If possible, time your visit here to coincide with the organ recital at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday.  In such an atmosphere, you’ll feel as if you’ve gone back 8 centuries.  Free Admission.

----- It turns out that it is not an “organ recital”, it is a Mass service.  Since we are not Catholic, I didn’t feel comfortable intruding on their service just to hear the organ.  The hotel did tell me that everyone is welcome to attend but it is in, of course, Norwegian.

Gamle Stavanger, also known as Straen, is the largest surviving wooden house settlement in northern Europe. It is a beautiful area of little wooden houses and cobbled streets along the west side of the harbour - just where the cruise ships moor during the summer. Nearly all the houses are white (only a few are allowed to be another colour) and they vary in age from less than 100 to about 300 years. The houses are lived in and most are privately owned.  There are little play areas, bench seats here and there. In the small park at the southwest corner, near the Straen centre are some sculptures.  This is in central Stavanger. Walk from the fish market around the harbor clockwise taking any of the streets on the left up into Gamle Stavanger.

----- I loved walking these old streets.  It was very peaceful and the little glimpses of the water were just beautiful!


Rogaland Kunstmuseum
This is Stavanger’s museum of fine arts, both showing temporary exhibitions as well as an impressive treasure trove of art.  The collection consists of over 2,000 paintings, drawings and sculptures.  Most of these are by Norwegian artists from the beginning of the 19th century to present. 

Stavanger Museum

This is a five-part museum that you can visit with just one ticket.  If you want to see the entire museum, expect to spend the better part of a day scampering from one point to another across the city.  At the main museum, called the Stavanger Museum, you’ll be given a map with the location of all the museums.  Only open on Sundays from 11-4 except from 1 June to 31 August.

----- This was actually a seven-part museum.  Here is the information below.

  • Stavanger Museum – Contains “Princess for a Day” exhibit – an exhibition of wedding dresses and wedding traditions; Cultural History Exhibition – tableaux of church life, craft workshops, daily life and much more.  Activities for children in the summer; Zoological Exhibition – Common birds in Rogaland, bird migration charts and birds from around the world.
  • The Norwegian Canning Museum – A living museum in a former cannery, displaying what was Stavanger’s main industry for nearly 100 years = canned fish foods.  On the first Sunday of the month, and on Tuesday s and Thursdays in the summer, visitors have the opportunity to eat freshly smoked sprats (sardines).
o   Both open every day all year from 11:00 – 16:00 but closed on Mondays.  And from 15 June – 15 August open every day (including Sundays) from 11:00-16:00
  • Norwegian Children’s Museum – Cultural history museum of childhood for everyone.  You can climb up to The Scary Attic and into The Secret Tree House.  You can paint or draw in the Workshop or embark on a Journey in the Toy Box.  In the Labyrinth, you can discover new aspects of childhood and old toys will take you back in time to your own childhood.
o   Open from Tue-Sat all year from 11:00-15:30 Sundays from 12:00-16:30

  • Ledaal – The Kielland family’s retreat built in the years 1799-1803, now an occasional royal residence and representation rooms.  Furniture from 18-19th centuries.  Commemorative room for the author Alexander L. Kielland.
  • Breidablikk – Villa built in 1881-82 for merchant and shop owner Lars Berentsen.  Outstanding example of the historicism style of architecture.  Exquisitely preserved interior and exterior.
  • Stavanger Maritime Museum – Stavanger’s best preserved merchant’s premises with a sail – loft, shop owner’s office and general store.  The exhibitions in warehouses along the waterfront show shipping, shipbuilding and trade in Stavanger and Rogaland over 200 years.  The exhibition “Sjauing på kaien” – an exhibition with activities for children, about the Stavanger-Ryfylke fjord traffic.  Here children can play at being mate or able seaman, quay worker, market trader and postmaster.  Audio tours in English.
o   Open on Sundays from 11:00-16:00.  From 15 June – 15 August open every day from 11:00-16:00
  • The Norwegian Printing Museum – here you will get a fine introduction to the old printing crafts, and they will show you how the herring industry gave birth to Stavanger's highly advanced graphical expertise.
o   Open on the first Sunday of every month from 11:00-16:00.  15 June – 15 August: Open every day from 11:00-16:00

Valbergtarnet & Vektermuseet
Since Stavanger is a wooden city, the residents lived in constant fear of fire.  So from 1850 to 1853 they constructed this historic tower with a panoramic sweep over Stavanger and its harbor.  A guard was stationed here 24 hours a day to be on the lookout for a fire.  Today it is visited mainly for its view, one of the most memorable cityscape vistas in southwestern Norway.  A small museum is here as well.  It focuses on the guard’s duties and the watchman as a symbol of safety.  Admission 30NOK adults, 15NOK children.  Hours: Mon-Fri 10-4; Sat. 10-2  

----- Wonderful views!

Norsk Oljemuseum (Norwegian Petroleum Museum)
Opened in 1999, this is one of the most unusual museums in Scandinavia, and already a much-photographed landmark.  This museum documents how oil was discovered off the coast of Norway.  This is a spectacularly dramatic museum, rising as it does directly from the waters of the harbor.  It resembles a space-age jumble of tin cans, with hints of an offshore oil platform, and an avant-garde modern combination of stainless steel, granite and glass.  The best parts of the museum are those that convey the huge shock and drama associated with Norway’s entrance into the oil industry.

----- This is something that I really enjoyed!  We've taken all of our visitors here, including our 2 year-old grandson and everyone has loved it!  Everything is in English and all of the films are in Norwegian and English.  There are activities for all the kids including a 3D film of how oil is made, a survival capsule they can crawl into, a simulated helicopter ride to take them out to an oil field, emergency chutes they can go down into …. And so much more.  There is even a room where they shut the lights off and sirens are going off and you are pretending to get out of a place that is on fire (small children are not allowed in here).  The whole museum is very educational and fun.

Survival capsule:

Escape hatch that kids can go down:

Hours: 1 September – 31 May: Monday - Saturday 10 – 16 Sunday 10 – 18

Prices: Adults NOK 80   Children NOK 40               Families (2 adults + 3 children) NOK 200

Here are our pictures of Stavanger:  
More Stavanger Pictures 
Fjord Cruise

Day 2 - Kristiansand to Stavanger

Day 2, Sunday April 19th
Drive from Kristiansand to our hotel in Stavanger – Thon Maritim Hotel.  This hotel was 1600 NOKs ~$235 per night (exchange rate in 2009)

Address:  Kongsgaten 32 4005 Stavanger                                                                                          
Tlf: +47 51 85 05 00

233 km/3h39

E39 Bomstasjon:  25.00 NOK
Figgio:  13.00 NOK
Bomstasjoner:  13.00 NOK

There were several different ways to get to Stavanger from Kristiansand.  One is the more "scenic" route which is turning off of the E39 towards Egersund and taking the coastal route up to Stavanger.

An alternative though would be to head to Frafjord before arriving in Stavanger.  This is the opposite direction from Egersund.   Here is the Månafossen Falls which is Norway’s ninth tallest free fall waterfall.  From the parking area you proceed on foot along the southeast bank of the river.  The path up to Månafossen is steep and rugged in places.  The steepest spots have steps and chains that you can hold on to as you climb.

We did a combination of both.  We drove along the coast to Hå and saw the lighthouse there.  The center at the lighthouse did not open until noon and we didn't want to wait (we were there around 11) so we headed back inland to Månafossen Falls which was BEAUTIFUL.  You have to climb to get there though! The views were nice along the coast of Norway but I REALLY loved the views we saw inland too.  Just spectacular.  You have to climb though to get there.

Here is a look at the waterfall.

There are chains that you can use (if you are old like us!) and need help to get up to the waterfall.

Here is the link that includes all of our pictures along the drive and at the waterfall: 
Also, on the way to Månafossen Falls we passed an outlet store for Gjestal.  They had Norwegian sweaters for as cheap as 200 NOKs.  Those had “Stavanger” on it and said 2008 but they were still great sweaters.  They had all sorts of things there and even better, they served a cheap lunch and had bathrooms!  :)

Research for our first Norway trip - Day 1 - Netherlands to Kristiansand

I first fell in love with Norway when my husband came to Stavanger for work.  We drove up from Brunssum in the Netherlands, stayed in Stavanger for a week and then took off driving.  I LOVE to research before our trips to find the best things to do and see.  I can spend a LOT of time doing this, and then I usually share my notes with friends that want to do the same trip.  I thought I would use this blog to share that information so other people can fall in love with Norway as well.  Just remember, the prices are from 2009.  My "research" is 24 pages long, so I will do it in segments.  It will be impossible to show you all of the pictures that I had, so I will show a few and then provide you with links to our albums on Facebook.

First thing you REALLY need to do if you are going to Norway is get the Fjord Pass. 

One Fjord Pass® hotel pass is valid for all the family

  • Fjord Pass® offers substantial discounts on accommodation at 170 hotels, guest houses, cottages and apartments all over Norway.
  • You get the discount right there at place!
  • A single Fjord Pass® costs NOK 120. Valid for 2 adults and any children under the age of 15 until December 31 the year it is purchased.
  • Book your accommodation online – free of charge!
  • The Fjord Pass® rate for overnight stays at hotels includes breakfast at the participating hotels and is valid per person per night in standard double rooms.
  • The Fjord Pass® rate for overnight stays in cottages/apartments is valid for two persons. Breakfast, cleaning and bed linen are not included.
And you can buy it online at: Fjord pass.  Once you buy it online, they will email it to you and you print it out and present it at each hotel.  And it is good until 31 December so you can use it for more than one trip a calendar year.

A couple of things worth knowing: 

  •  The Norwegian currency is the Kroner (NOK)
  •  For currency exchange rates go to: Currency converter        
  • A lot of hotels do not open until 1 May – more choices if you wait until then
  •  But … the rates go UP on 1 May
·         Our two days of ferry rides (Denmark to Norway and Norway to Germany) combined came to €643 (OUCH!)

·         Website for tolls in Norway: Norwegian tolls

      Tolls in Norway:  All of the tolls in Norway now are automatic.  Here you simply pass through, with or without AutoPASS. Toll plazas are marked with this sign:

Foreign drivers can stop and pay at a nearby petrol station. Follow the sign as shown below.

If you don’t stop and pay within three working days you will receive an invoice by post – with no extra charge. I think the best thing to do though, is sign up online ahead of time to pay your tolls as you go through.  They will just deduct from your credit card when they record your license plate going through the toll.  Fast, easy and VERY convenient.  Here is a link to registering your car ahead of time:  Visitor payment for tolls.

One thing we found out while on the trip – when you pay for a toll if you go through another toll within 60 minutes you DON’T have to pay again.  They will keep track of it for you, so there is nothing you need to do.

What terms may I find useful when driving in Norway?
Unleaded gasoline - blyfri bensin             Diesel - diesel
Toll - bomstasjon toll                                     Parking - parkering
Exit – utkjorsel                                                  Entrance - innkjorsel
Detour – omkjonng                                        Hospital - sykehus
Police – politi                                                     Police station – politistasjon

Other useful phrases:
Yes - Ja                        No - Nei           Good Day  - God Dag
Good-bye - Ha Det      Thank you - Tak
You’re Welcome - Versegod

Other websites that I used:

Norwegian Tourist Board:  Visit Norway and Norway
Official Trondheim site: Trondheim   
Info on Fjords: Norway's fjords    
Bergen Guide: Bergen 
Cruise Norway: Cruise Norway
Flam:  Flam   
Oslo: Oslo    
Destination Guides: Travel Norway  
The Fjords: The Fjords  
1,000 Places to See Before You Die: My favorite book! 

Things to shop for in Norway:  The most frequent souvenir is a troll, of every shape and degree of ugliness.  Rosemaling (rose-painting) on delicately painted wooden plates and household items are also popular in different patterns particular to different areas.  Most children love dolls in the traditional bunader or national costumes which also vary tremendously from region to region.  The decorated bunader includes beautiful metal jewelry so it is no surprise that gold and silverwork is excellent in Norway.  Norway also has a lot of minerals, precious and semi-precious gemstones, often used in designs, including a beautiful slightly mottled pink stone that is a bit like the traditional Greenlandic tutapit.  Goods crafted out of pewter are good value and include small replica Viking boats and elegantly crafted bottle openers.  Locally produced hunting knives with hand-crafted wooden handles are also popular.  And of course, the Norwegian knitted jackets, sweaters and socks are famous.   

Day 1 – Saturday, April 18th

Leave home in the morning to drive to Hirtshal, Denmark to catch the Color Line ferry:  Color Line Ferry

Hirtshals - Kristiansand SuperSpeed 2

Departure: Hirtshals 18.04.2009 21:15 Arrival: Kristiansand 19.04.2009 00:30
2 Adults
2 Persons without seat reservation - 1 Car (Height up to 2.00m)
Drive time:  988 Kilometers/9 hours          No tolls

We left home at 8:25 a.m. and arrived at the ferry at 7:10 p.m.  We stopped 2 times for gas and 1 time for lunch.  It was a really easy drive but Hamburg was a nightmare.  We added almost an hour onto our drive time there.    Total drive from our house to the ferry was 999.8 km.

Once we arrived in Hirtshal it was VERY easy to find the ferry.  Just stay on the main road into town.  At one round about it will point to the right for one of the ferries (don’t remember the line), stay straight on for the Color Line Ferry or take a left to get to town.  We pulled up, they told us which line to get into (after showing them our ticket) and then we just waited.  It took about 2 minutes from arrival time until we parked in our spot in line. There is a building on the right with bathrooms (one room with about 15 stalls with men and women in the same room).  On the left (hard to see if there is a bunch of semi’s there) there is a building with a cafeteria.  They only take Danish Kroner but there is an ATM there so you can get some.  They had around 10 meals but the only one I remember is the Bacon Hamburger for 63 DKK. (~$10.92) They were all around the same price. 

They had ice cream and soda machines for 19 DKK (~$3.29).  On the 4th floor is a viewing area so you can watch the ferries come in.

Advice for the ferry:  When we got on the ferry, we went up on deck to watch the sail away.  Once we were out of the harbor we went to find a seat.  You can “reserve” a seat or not and we chose not to when we booked.  HUGE mistake.  I’m not sure if it was because of how late the ferry was (left at 9:15 p.m.) but there were SO many people (quite a few of them drunk) laying all over the floors, on the stairwells, under the stairs and they just reeked of alcohol.  We could not find a seat anywhere.  So we decided to try and book a seat.  It was 70 NOK for each seat – we paid €17.95 for the two seats.  They gave us our seat numbers and we went there but there were already people in the seat.  So we went back down to the desk and they gave us new seat numbers but again, there were already people sitting in those seats.  So we went back to the desk the third time and he gave us (for the same price) 2 seats in the business section.  For this, you needed a key card to swipe to get in.  And again, someone was sitting in our seat … but there were quite a few empty seats so we told her she could stay unless someone came wanting the seats we were in.  These seats were MUCH better than the “reserved” seats.  The lights were dimmed, the seats reclined, no kids out of control (there were kids here though).  They had a free movie playing (like on airlines, the screen was in the back of the seat in front of you) … I think it was Family Man (in English), free headsets, free internet, fresh fruit, cookies and soda/coffee/tea all for free.  The cost for the business section was 150 NOKs (~$22) per seat … and SO worth it.  There were 2 business sections with the food in a room in the middle.  The front half was quieter than the second half because there was a karaoke bar right outside the back door.  Still MUCH better than anywhere else on the ship though.

The price for the ferry will vary a LOT depending on how far in advance you book it and which day of the week you travel.  Anywhere from €19 - €250 so book early!!

Spend night at Centrum Budget Hotel in Kristiansand
Centrum Budget Hotel:  Centrum Budget Hotel 

Arrival       Departure     Adults per room     Children     Number of rooms   
4/18/2009     4/19/2009     2                   0            1                 

Selected Room            : Small room with one double bed, bunker bed and pullout Selected Rate            : Online weekend price
Daily Rates              : 4/18/2009: kr 479.00,
Total Rate               : kr 479.00
Currency                 : NOK
Tax Information          : Tax Included
Check In Time            : 16:00
Check Out Time           : 12:00
Hotel Address            : Vestre Strandgate 49
                           Kristiansand,  4610
                           +47 - 38 70 15 65
                           +47 - 38 02 48 69

We arrived in Kristiansand at 12:30 in the morning but the hotel desk did not stay open that late.  We made arrangements with them to leave the key and instructions at the Shell station (open 24h) next to the hotel.  It was very easy to get to the hotel.  You could see the Shell station as soon as you came out of the terminal area.  I went in, showed them my Passport and they gave me the key to the hotel which was right next door.  The hotel was clean, but VERY basic.  The sheets were just lying on the beds; we had to make the beds ourselves.  Shower was just a drain in the floor with the wand on the wall. (I would suggest wearing shower shoes).  They had signs saying to keep the bathroom door shut so the fire alarm would not go off from the steam.  No soap/shampoo or hair dryer.  Ron actually said the room reminded him a lot of the rooms in Afghanistan … almost seemed like a huge modular trailer with each room sectioned off.  It was VERY quiet though when we arrived, but you could hear people getting up around 6.  They also wanted you to strip your beds and place the sheets and your towels in baskets in the hallway as you left.

We filled up with gas here and it was almost 12 NOK per liter.  We actually found it quite a few places once we left Kristiansand for about 10.50 NOK per liter.  (Now in 2012 12 NOK a liter would be a BARGAIN.  It’s almost 15 NOK per liter here in Stavanger …. I would think though, whatever it is at the Shell station, it will cheaper once you get away from the ferry)

Monday, May 28, 2012


One of the things that Stavanger is known for is Preikestolen also known by the English translations of Preacher's Pulpit or Pulpit Rock, and by the old local name Hyvlatonnå (the carpenter plane's blade) It is a massive cliff 1982 feet above Lysefjorden, opposite the Kjerag plateau, in Forsand, Ryfylke, Norway. The top of the cliff is approximately 25 by 25 meters (82 by 82 feet) square, almost flat, and is a famous tourist attraction in Norway. Over 100,000 people will take the 3.8 km (2.4 mi.) hike here each summer, making it one of the most visited natural tourist attractions in Norway.  I have done this hike 4 times, and Ron has done it at least 6.  The last time he did it, he was carrying our almost 2 year old grandson on his back.

Here we are just starting out.

Now we start climbing over rocks.

Now for the easy part .... we walk across this wooden sidewalk across the marsh.

1.5 km down!

We are heading up to the crevice at the top of the two mountains.

More rocks to climb.  The trail is easy to follow.  Just follow the T on the rocks.

I told Ron we needed a picture of him, but I really just needed to rest.

I just LOVE the views!

He decided since we have a picture of him, we needed one of me.

More climbing.

The sign says that you can swim here.

And now the views really start getting good.

We are headed up to the top right corner.

My dad told me that I was not allowed to come up here because it was too dangerous.  I figured since I was over 40 I didn't really have to listen to him.  I had Ron take this picture and afterwards my mom showed it to him.  She said it made him smile.  :) Probably because he knew by then I was already down!

I am actually afraid of heights but I decided when we moved to Europe that I was going to experience as much as I could.  But when it came time to go back down it REALLY got to me.  We saw a sign saying that we could go down via the cliff side or the hill side.  I was SO relieved so we headed for the hill side.  Not realizing that we would have to keep climbing first to get there! There is Preikestolen below us and it is almost empty (this never happens during the summer months!)

And one last view.