Day 9 (June 21, 2019 – Stavanger, Norway): “Menacing Skies”
It was about 7:05am when I awoke. Actually, it was Tahia who woke me up.
When I looked out the window, I was surprised to see some sun. I thought the forecast had called for rainy skies all day long today.
Still, I wasn’t complaining. And I figured that we ought to do our Lysefjord cruise sooner rather than later so we wouldn’t succumb to the menacing skies that I was certain was coming into this area.
So to that end, at 7:35am, I pre-booked a Rodne Cruise tour that only went to Preikestolen and Hengjanefossen but not any deeper on the Lysefjord. They only did tours for 10am, 12pm, and 2pm. We picked the earliest one.
Next, we spent some time eating breakfast.
Julie was lamenting that this place seemed to lack some basic necessities like a cutting board, an eating table (we pretty much had to sit on the floor to eat off the coffee table; I was using the bar seating for working), and no hair dryer (a pet peeve of Julies).
We also had to figure out the parking situation, but in the end, instead of moving the car around, we decided to just keep feeding the EZPark app two hours at a time since our parking spot was technically subject to a two-hour time limit between the hours of 08:00 and 18:00 on weekdays.
I sure hoped that the Lysefjord cuise had mobile reception so we could keep doing this.
During the wait, Tahia was obsessed with counting jellyfish that were plentiful in the waters of this harbor. Some of them had beautiful rings on them while others were like a yellow glob with wires hanging out of them.
Given the number of jellyfish in the water, we wondered if the waters here were polluted or if there was something else going on that we didn’t understand or know about. Whatever the case, swimming in here wouldn’t be a wise thing.
Eventually, the cruise allowed us to board about 10 minutes until departure, and we then initially picked one of the outside seats.
However, I could see in the distance that there were some dark clouds and it was inevitable that we were going to face rain at some point during this three-hour tour.
As the boat slowly left the calm waters around Stavanger and the surrounding islands, Tahia was once again busy spotting and counting jellyfish.
I think she got up to around 400 or something like that. It just went to show how abundant these things were.
The boat then sped up as it continued to make its way further to the east and right into the dark clouds.
The thing that kept people from staying upstairs or off to the side was the wind that the boat created. It was like a 30mph wind that kept blowing cold air into faces and blowing off caps or hoods.
Eventually, the cruise made it to the mouth of Lysefjorden when it started to rain somewhat.
The rain was stinging because it was not only falling, but it also got the boat’s speed which meant the water was hitting us at that speed.
We were vacillating between going outside the shelters of the boat and back in the protected areas due to the on-and-off again rain.
Yet, the weather still held up long enough for us to appreciate the Lysefjorden bridge, and then further in the fjord where we could catch a partial view of Preikestolen before turning around right by the Hengjanefossen.
The boat didn’t go any further to the other waterfall I noticed from Preikestolen last night. So I still had no idea what the name of that waterfall was.
The boat then pulled away from the waterfall, which seemed to be just in time to avoid a nasty rain that was headed our way. At least it was just enough time for us to enjoy looking up at the impressive Preikestolen from the bottom.
This time, the clouds didn’t cover it up. And lots of people crowded on the uppermost deck to check out the popular cliff and rock formation.
However, just as the boat started to pull away from Preikestolen, that was when the rain squall really hit the boat hard and everyone beat a hasty retreat downstairs to avoid getting drenched.
The boat then spent the next few minutes getting up to a goat clinging to the bottom of one of the cliffs, and then the boat entered something called the Fantahola.
This was basically a narrow opening to a dead-end. Somehow it got a name associated it with a hole.
When we got up to the upper deck to check out the Fantahola, I looked back in the direction of the squall we had just experienced, and indeed it was nothing but very dark clouds with no visibility through the rain.
Anyways, that was pretty much the last of the main sights of this cruise, and we spent the rest of the time inside the interior of the boat where it made its eventual return to Stavanger.
Along the way, there were more rainy sections, and I wondered if the city was going to experience the same kind of weather that had just hit the Lysefjord but largely missed the city up to this point over the past couple of days.
Ultimately by about 1pm, we returned to the port of Stavanger, and then we went looking for a lunch spot. The sun was definitely out in the city, and I guess that answered my question regarding whether the weather in the Lysefjord had hit this area yet.
After looking around for something besides Fisketorget, we settled back on Fisketorget because of yesterday’s good experience.
We got there at around 1:15pm, and there were no more seats inside. So we sat outside where there was sun as well as a bit of a cold wind.
This time, both Tahia and Julie got a catch of the day while I got the traditional fish stew again, but this time apparently they couldn’t make it the tomato-based one we had last time. Instead, the version I got was creamier.
We eventually finished our lunch at 2:10pm. This time, the bill was a bit bigger than last time and somehow it didn’t quite taste as good either.
With lunch over, we then walked towards the shopping area of Stavanger as Julie pursued a colorful row of store fronts.
We ultimately got to the sought after spot where it appeared that the early afternoon crowds had just started to show up.
As the sun was still out, the color of the buildings was pleasant to experience though hard to photograph with the shadows.
Still, this was easily the most charming spot of the city that we had seen so far. And we spent quite a good deal of time experiencing this stretch.
Many of the store fronts here had the hashtag #fargeveien (the colorful street) so clearly the businesses here were in on the act to bring the tourists, especially the cruise passengers here on limited time.
We then spent a few more minutes getting lost in the alleyways and shopping arcades before retreating back to the colorful store fronts and then eventually back around the harbor to the Gamle Byen (Old City).
Compared to the colorful buildings of the shopping area we had just come from, the Stavanger Old Town had a more low key feel to it.
Instead, there were old white wooden homes lining narrow cobblestoned alleyways.
We even got to go inside a Worker’s Cottage, which was decked out in furnishings and clothings that made us appreciate what the living conditions were at the time of the 19th and early 20th century.
At 3:30pm, we then spent some time chilling out at the Kafe Go Nok (Cafe Good Enough), which Julie on a whim decided to stop by for a gluten free dessert (they only had one type) while Tahia and I tried a couple of the local pastries.
By the time we were done with this visit at 4:20pm, the rain had overtaken the city and we had to walk in the rain to get to the supermarkets on the way back to the apartment.
After wrapping up with our errands, we then returned to the apartment to call it a day at 5:25pm.
Along the way, I stopped by the park next to the Stavanger Domkirke, which featured a gazeebo, a man-made lake, and a fountain.
The rest of the evening was spent together over Julie’s dinner though after eating the salmon she bought from the supermarket, she learned after the fact that the Norwegian farmed salmon may not be what we should’ve had given Julie’s gut sensitivies.
This made me wonder about the salmon parasite that killed off a lot of the salmon during our last visit 14 years ago in Norway. I didn’t hear much about this parasite anymore, but then again, maybe a chemical solution was used to get rid of it.
Regardless, after watching some YouTube documentary on the salmon farming trade, we learned that from here on out, there seemed to be quite a few dirty secrets going on in the fish farming trade.
So we concluded that if it’s not Wild Alaskan Salmon, then we better not take the chance.
I guess it’s gonna be cod or herring the rest of the way on this trip…