Friday, 21 October 2022

After yesterday afternoon’s gin-tasting shenanigans and last night’s roaring twenties gala night, the 7am start this morning is a tad earlier than we would have liked. Given we have a 9am departure for a boat cruise in Lysefjord though, an early-ish start it is.

Stavanger from the ship

Lysefjord Cruise

Long and narrow, the 42km long Lysefjord is in places as deep as the mountains are high – going from only 13 metres deep where it meets the sea near Stavanger the Lysefjord drops to a depth of over 400 metres below Pulpit Rock. More on Pulpit Rock soon.

There’s a village at each end of the fjord (Forsand and Lysebotn) and a small farming area about halfway along (that you have to get to over the mountains), but otherwise that’s about it – everything else is accessible only by boat.

As for Lysebotn at the far eastern end of the fjord, that’s largely populated by workers at the nearby hydroelectric plants which are, wait for it, built inside the mountains. Getting to Lysebotn involves a road that rises almost 900m through a series of 27 hairpin bends including a long hairpin tunnel inside the mountain. Norwegian engineers really are something.

There’s just one crossing across the fjord (see the bridge below) and because it’s so mountainous there’s no road beside the fjord so the road goes through the mountain to the bridge.

In between is some spectacular scenery.

Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is a dramatic mountain plateau 604 meters above the Lysefjord. Billed as the highlight of this trip, I’d never heard of it before now. Apparently Tom Cruise made it famous in one of the Mission Impossible movies but these days it’s Instafamous as well (see below).

The hike here (about 2 hours each way when combined with a fjord cruise) is super popular, but even looking at these pictures makes my heart pound faster. I’m quite happy with seeing it from the water, thank you very much.

As impressive as the rock is, there’s so much more worth coming out here to look at.

On the way back we stopped at a cafe (I suppose it must have been in Forsand) where we had Norwegian waffles with jam and cream. They’re very different from the American ones we’re all used to – sort of thin and floppy but a tad crunchy on the edge. I’m not a waffle fan so didn’t expect to like these, but did.

Back on board our guide told us that they’re very popular for fundraising events – the Norwegian equivalent of the sausage sizzle, perhaps. She also told us heaps more about Norwegian life, culture, education, health care and politics – and how they have to have two sets of tyres for their cars: a summer set and a winter set. The winter tyres have little spikes on them for grip that make a weird noise on the road. Apparently it’s quite the thing when it comes to getting the tyres changed over – fundraising waffles while you wait.

She also told us how Stavanger was made prosperous originally on the back of the fish canning industry and the graphic design industry that grew from that – those retro labels and posters. But then oil and gas were discovered in the sixties.

Rather than selling the drilling rights, Norway has managed the licencing and drilling rights with some of the profits diverted into a state-run future fund that is one of the largest investors in the world.

Norway is, she told us, socialist with a small s – entrepreneurial with a social responsibility.


Back on dry land we took a walk around town. Compared to the other ports we’ve been in it’s edgy and quite vibrant.

Street Art Stavanger Style

Stavanger Old Town

Over near the docks is Stavanger Old Town. The 173 (or so) white wooden houses here were built in the 18th century and comprise the largest surviving wooden house settlement in northern Europe.

Well, that’s it, goodbye to Norway. One more day at sea and we’ll be back in Southampton.

wind farms off the coast of England…

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

21 thoughts

  1. Just so rugged and pristine, Jo. Those waffles look delicious and I love the colourful buildings. I’m not sure this place is on our itinerary although we are visiting Norway. It seems a surprise package and I’m looking forward to visiting. Thanks for another interesting post and as always the photos are stunning xx

  2. Jo, I have seen Pulpit Rock photos on Instagram. People seem to love to walk close to the edge. Smart choice to see it from below. The street art and colorful shops are interesting, but I love how crisp the white houses look in the photo from the ship. Great port.

  3. What a fabulous part of the world! I could do the hike, but I am certain I could not come near the edge of pulpit rock. And oh wow, those engineers there are amazing! What a lot of amazing stuff they’ve done! I chuckled about your interest in winter and summer tires! It’s not just Norway that has those! Like you, I’m not a huge waffle fan, but those look good – I am sure it’s the cream! Ah I don’t want your cruise posts to end. I’ve so enjoyed them!

  4. I got a bit anxious just looking at the Pulpit Rock pictures, I’d settle for a boat view too! I would love to go to Norway – it’s such an interesting country. The street art is especially fabulous and how cute are the wooden houses. What a wonderful way to round off your trip!

  5. Oh so neat… but I too would not have wanted to hike out to that overlook; just seeing the photos of other people walking around up there makes me cringe.

  6. What an amazing place! So rugged where the land meets the sea, including a moody sky. And the bright buildings and murals are so inviting.

  7. What an amazing place Jo, your photos are gorgeous! You couldn’t get me up near Pulpit Rock, I’d be shepherding everyone back from the edge 🙂

  8. Thanks again for this window to a part of the world I will never see. Gosh the landscapes and colours along with the shapes ARE amazing!! So good to read your post and see it in the link up for Wednesday’s Words and Pics. Thank you! Hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

  9. Wow! Some great scenery. I’ve heard of pulpit rock but agree, seeing it from the water would be preferable for me. A fabulous cruise!

  10. Another great post with so much interesting travel info on Norway. My sons did a road trip through parts and said driving in the tunnels was amazing with huge roundabouts and junctions in them. Hopefully I will get to experience Norway too soon.

  11. Yes especially as they are struggling to repair the road to our house here in the Australian Hinterland!

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