Stavanger Journals

On the Crystal Harmony to Stavanger Norway

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An August 1997 trip to Stavanger by samepenny

The Wyvern Photo, More Photos
Quote: I adore the northern oceans, sailing to Stavanger on the Crystal Harmony was a dream come true. Our surprise was finding that the Tall Ships of the Cutty Sark Race were there. Although it's not an easy place to get to, it's well worth the trip. It's one of those places I'd love to see again.

On the Crystal Harmony to Stavanger Norway

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Overview

The Tall Ship Photo,
Quote:
The Tall Ships were a highlight beyond dreams in beauty. The fjords, words can't describe. A wonderful trip! The experience of a lifetime. For centuries Stavanger has made its living from the sea. Since the opening of the North Sea Oil Fields, Stavanger has played a major part in the success of those extremely valuable oil fields. Oil has brought a previously unknown prosperity to the southwestern coast of Norway. Always tidy, now Stavanger, a city of about 150,000 residents, has the restaurants, shops and activity of a much larger city. The best part, for me, is Old Stavanger. Quick Tips: The town of Stavanger is fascinating, historic and easy to get around in. You can walk f...Read More

Tall Ships in the Vagen, Stavager

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Attraction

The Christian Radich Photo,
Quote:
This most incredible, most perfect day! Bright sun, clear skies, the best weather in Stavanger in weeks. In this home port of countless Vikings, to see so many sailing ships is the experience of a lifetime. Many of the docks were wood, others had brick surfaces. Ship after ship, large, medium and small. All getting ready to go to sea to join the race. Activity, but most of the ships were hospitable to us coming on board. Up and down gangways. Curious sights. Sailors looking for and joining ships (yes, even at the last minute). Stavanger is so beautiful, the streets of the town rising from the Vegan (harbor). Hospital people of the town. Men wearing sleeveless t-shirts, looking entirely like ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 2, 2000

The Tall Ship with green sails Photo,
Quote:
The Tall Ships began to leave the harbor at 1 pm. We went back on board the Crystal Harmony in company with IGOUGO's guide Pereon, for a lunch on the Lido Deck with views of Tall Ships all about us. The sailing ships left Stavanger mostly under power for navigation purposes. Also, somewhat to our surprise, all sorts of boats from dory size to much larger, headed out to watch the start of the race. The Crystal Harmony was surrounded by the flotilla of the people of Norway going to sea. We saw a mother with a dory full of tiny children heading out as well as hosts of people on just about everything that would float. As the Crystal Harmony let go her lines and began to move away from...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 2, 2000

Old Town (Gamle Stavanger)

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Attraction | "Walking around the historic Old Town"

Old Town (Gamle Stavanger) Photo, Stavanger, Norway
Quote:
The fjord is long, deep and narrow. Then you have the sight of the oil rig manufacturing docks, the inner harbor, Vagen. Stepping up from the harbor is the Old Town of Stavanger. Plenty strong legs are needed to make the climb. It's no small piece of work after a couple weeks on a luxury ship. Very close to the harbor is an area of very nice, very old, wooden houses and shops. The streets are made of cobbles and very narrow. The buildings are white with dark trim. Here and there a window. The ceilings are 7 feet or less. These rooms were built to contain heat during the long, dark Norweigian winters. Guide Pereon's very tall husband didn't feel comfortable. A few very small cars were p...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 2, 2000

Old Town (Gamle Stavanger)
Up from the waterfront
Stavanger, Norway

Stavanger Domkirke Cathedral

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Attraction | "Stavanger Domkirke (cathedral)"

Stavanger Domkirke Cathedral Photo, Stavanger, Norway
Quote:
This cold, hard, ancient building was begun in 1125. It burned in 1272, but was rebuilt with a Gothic chancel. It's frankly a depressing sight from the outside at it is covered with various death symbols. You have to wonder if any of its cold, hard stones have ever warmed up at all. It must have been a remarkable construction in a town made up of wooden houses, warehouses, ships and shops. As fires were fairly common in those early times, the church (kirke) would have been a solid physical and well as spiritual refuge during emergencies. A strong contrast to the wooden 'stave' churches seen in Bergen. Until relatively modern times, there were no pews or seats. Holy services were conducted to a sta...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 6, 2000

Stavanger Domkirke Cathedral

Stavanger, Norway

Norweigan Fjords Photo,
Quote:
Please let me begin this journal by thanking Dr. Mary Ann Rizzo, who was with me on this journey, for the use of her notes. Her memory is far better than mine. I owe her a great deal for giving me information that triggered my memory. I will admit that I was in a daze of happiness. Dr. Rizzo is a famous author on the subject of ships and cruising. We fetched Stavanger, sailing ever so quietly through the Lysefjorden, without question one of the most scenic fjords in the world. Captain Reidulf Maalen, Crystal Harmony, in his home waters, handled the very large Crystal Harmony with incredible grace. That we would be sailing into the Vagen, the harbor filled with Tall Ships of the Cutty Sar...Read More
We tied to this rig as it was built Photo,
Quote:
We departed Savanger at 4 pm and slowly followed the Tall Ships out to the starting line. The race, to start about 6 pm. Boats, boats, ships all about us. The Tall Ship Christian Radich exchanged formal greetings, gifts and flags with the Crystal Harmony. Our Norweigian Captain, Captain Reidulf Maalen was honored in his home waters. We waited, we waited! Ships all about and nothing much going on. We shouted greetings to other ships--very easy to do with sailing ships as they are so quiet. The start hour came about 6 pm. A canon on a Norweigian naval ship fired the warning and then the start. Nothing much happened. There are penalties to the ships for crossing the start line...Read More

What is a fjord? A geography lesson.

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Story/Tip

Norweigan farm Photo,
Quote:
I have often been asked, when raving about the travels I've made, 'what is a fjord?' The answer is simple. A fjord is a body of water that comes off of an ocean or bay. It is requently surrounded by hills of high mountains. A fjord is not mainly the outflow of a river into the sea, although rivers may flow into it. A fjord gets its source of water from the ocean or bay.

Fjord occur in many countries on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Alaska has fjords as does Canada, Iceland, Scotland (called firths), Norway, Sweden and Greenland. It surprises many people to learn that the Hudson River in New York State is actually a fjord and is the southern most fjord in the Northern Hemisphere.

Stavanger as a home base for travelers

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Stavanger has an international airport which has many flights due to the amount of people traveling for the oil industry. It is also a major stop on the Norweigan ferry system. It is on the railway and has very good bus connections on the national road system. The driving isn't too bad if you want to rent a car. (just don't try to park it in Old Town!) Many local tours are very good. It would be a very good place to 'home base' for a while when touring Norway.

English spoken in Norway?

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Story/Tip

Heading out to sea Photo,
Quote:
The short answer is substantially 'yes'. I find that much Norweigan is not all that difficult to understand if you take your time at it. (Allowing that I grew up in an area of the United States which was settled by many people from Norway. Many of the parents and grandparents of my childhood friends were immigrants from Norway so my ears are used to the sounds of the language.) In many words if you replace a 'k' with an 'h', you have the English word, especially words having to do with the sea. Fisk in Norweigan is fish in England. Likewise skip = ship. yah = yes nay = no morning = morgen (pronouced moh-ern) So it goes. If you give the language ...Read More
A view from a building as the ships depart Photo,
Quote:
Called the Stavanger Card, sold mostly at hotels, post and tourist offices, it gives the visitor sizeable discounts. You can buy a 1, 2 or 3 days pass. When I was there a one day pass costed NKr110. Telephone 51/85-92-00. This is the biggest discount I have ever seen from a tourist discount card.

Inside cabins available on this ship

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Unlike her newer sister the Crystal Symphony, the Crystal Harmony does have a number of inside cabins (staterooms) that sell for several hundred dollars less per cruise than outside rooms on the same deck. As I have had both inside and outside rooms on other ships, I can only offer that the difference is how you feel about having money in your pocket compared to having a window. A local friend recently telephoned me with a long list of questions about how to book on Crystal Cruise Lines. I directed my computer to Crystal's WEB site which has prices, deck plans and other information. My caller does not 'believe in' using the Internet. (It might be easier to telephone me. He had already spoken ...Read More