Day One Hundred Thirty - May 15
Hei og velkommen (Hello and welcome) we are now in the country of Norway and visiting the city of Kristiansand on its southern coast.
We spent the previous day sailing from St. Malo, France in the North Sea. On our way, we can see oil rigs and wind turbines in the sea. The North Sea is rather shallow with average depths of just 95 meters, so I assume that installing these huge structures is not a problem.
Today is Sunday and we are first time visitors to Norway. The sail into Kristiansand reminds me a little of the Southern Gulf Islands which you can see when taking the ferry between Vancouver Island and Vancouver. Another passenger said it also reminded them of Northern British Columbia.
There are eleven regions in Norway which is like provinces, states or counties in other countries. The country's population is approximately 5.5 million while the city of Kristiansand is around 112,000. An interesting fact is Norway is the leader is total Olympic Winter Medals won since inception of the games.
It is a seaside resort city with the fifth largest in terms of population in Norway.
We dock at the Ferry Terminal and are greeted by a Moose replica on the pier. I thought the highest population of Moose were found in Canada. I will need to check this out.
Leaving the ship shortly after we docked at 12:00 we noticed a few tax-free shops on the pier but very little business activity except for restaurants and ice cream shops. Sunday is a day of rest and family time. You can see this once you leave the pier. However, before we left the pier several wooden houses were floating in the water that were in fact small steam houses. A couple came out of one house and dived into the water then back they went into the steam houses. They must be popular in the wintertime.
There were only four tours provided by the ship and our decision again was to go explore on foot. I heard a wonderful saying by a passenger on board which went something like this - "it has not been a good visit unless you've gotten yourself lost while exploring".
We are off to Ravnedalen Park located northwest of the city some three kilometers from the cruise terminal; armed with a good local map. We only needed the help of one person to find our way. We must be getting better with our mapping skills.
Families visit the park regularly and you can see why with its steep cliffs, green space, lakes, and excellent walking trail system. It reminded me of our walking trails in Victoria.
Having spent an hour in the park it was now time to walk back to the city. There were signs marked Sentrum left and Ravnedalen to the right. Ok left it is and follow Sentrum hoping it will get us back to the city. We pass Marty from the ship and ask for directions - are we going the right way and what does Sentrum mean? Well Sentrum means City Centre, so perhaps we should have looked up some Norwegian phrases before we left the ship?
We are now back in the city where nothing is open except for restaurants. The central square in the heart of the city includes the City Hall, Tourist Office and Kristiansand Cathedral which is having some work done on it.
Before we leave the central square, we want to find old town located not far from here. It is renowned for its charming timber-clad houses. The northeastern part of the district of Posebyen is home to one of Northern Europe's largest collections of old, low-rise timber houses. Every house is white but distinguished by coloured doors.
We now return to the ship for a short period of respite before wandering out again. The ship leaves at 20:00 and we wanted to see as much as possible. Over the pedestrian bridge we turn right towards Odderoya with its hiking hiking trails that overlooks the harbour and out towards the sea.
Walking over 25,000 steps today, there is one more place to visit and that is along the harbour front. Here we find lots of green space with several restaurants.
It has been a good day and now back on the ship we await our next adventure in Olso, 113 nautical miles tomorrow.