Our travelling pharmacist Dave Harcombe, a cruise virgin, has chosen P&O Cruises for his first expedition on the high seas accompanied by his wife Babs. Dave’s first-timer blog is not to be missed.
DAY THREE: In the cradle of the Vikings
Stavanger is the gateway to fjordland Norway. Known as the cradle of the Vikings this seaport always has been a place rich in history. In 2008 it was European Capital of Culture.
Oceana towered over the rooftops of the city-looking magnificent in the sunshine.
Once the country’s herring capital (celebrated in the canning museum) its wealth changed with the discovery of North Sea oil in the mid 1960’s.
If you like wood then you will like the old town. More than 170 perfectly preserved white timber houses dating from the end of the 18th century can be seen-the largest concentration of wooden buildings in Northern Europe. It was lovely to meander through narrow winding streets, peaking into gardens as we passed. The seaport is a city of two halves- the old town is so picturesque and the modern city centre oozes charm and wealth and is so vibrant.
The way to save money when shopping is to go when the shops are closed. And Stavanger duly delivered-it was Sunday! But to be honest it was disappointing not to be able to shop. Even the cafes didn’t open until 10.30 am. Window shopping abroad is always a treat but its good to enter and soak in the retail atmosphere. We did find a couple of souvenir shops open doing brisk business. Are the Norwegians making such a good living that they don’t need to cater for the cruise ships?
“Take us as you find us” seemed to be the motto here.
The inventor of the sardine can key came from Stavanger. A fact I mention just in case you get this question in a pub quiz. The Norwegian Canning Museum does exactly what it says on the tin. Situated in the old town, a few minutes stroll from the ship. A smallbuilding. It was quiet when we were there. But I did wonder that when it gets busy are the visitors packed in like sardines?
Throughout the day we kept bumping into a little man clutching to his chest a tatty atlas. A strange looking man who, if he appeared on Morse you would immediately point at the telly and say he’s the killer. We nicknamed him Viking George only because of his pointed ears and pointy head. Scary. But at least you knew where you were with George!
It began to rain so back to the ship for another bite to eat. We had had a massive breakfast on board , cake and coffee and an ice-cream at lunch and by 4pm we were eating again .Perhaps it’s the sea air which brings on the hunger pangs- which i will blame when my GP says I’ve put on weight.
At 4.30 pm with everyone safely back on board, Oceana cast off her lines and away from her berth. Three days on the water and I’m talking like a sailor!
Destination North Sea and onto fjordland.
Mocktail of the day:Thirst Aid- lime cordial, blackcurrant cordial and soda.
Highlight of the night: Colin “fingers ” Henry. This talented, versatile comedian and musician performed to a packed Footlights Theatre. Hilarious anecdotes, great music and no swear words! A true comedian doesn’t need to swear to tell a joke.
A fellow Doncastrian, Colin lives less than two miles from us at home and his children went to school with our two.
As Disney says “its a small small world”.