24 hours in Stavanger: the city that knows how to exploit its geography | The traveler


On the southwest coast of Norway is Stavanger. A fishing city, of colors and gateway to the Lysefjord, over which falls that vertical abyss of polished rock called Pulpits, the Pulpit. Not far from its urban center of wooden houses lie the very long white sand beaches of Jaeren, and in the North Sea rise the platforms that extract the oil that avoided the Norwegian bankruptcy in the middle of the 20th century. Norwegians owe so much to oil that there is even a museum dedicated to black gold in the port of Stavanger. There are also the Canning and Printing museums, and the House of the Vikings. In their lust for adventure, the feared warriors of the North preceded the expeditions of Roald Amundsen, Børge Ousland, and Erling Kagge, among many others. The latter is the author of the book Philosophy for Polar Explorers (Taurus publishing house). Norwegians have always wanted to discover what lies beyond where their cries come from. To the aforementioned landmarks we must add a rich offer of cafes, restaurants and hotels. It is a city that draws oil from its geographical location.

9.30. Speaking springs

Cruises and ferries depart from its port that enter the fiordo de Lyse, from where, looking up, you can see the famous Pulpits: a free and clean fall from 600 meters high (you can also reach the top in a route of eight kilometers, of medium difficulty). Walking along the docks, it is discovered that herring fishing is the main source of wealth for Stavanger and that oil is for all of Norway. The passage of time has turned the city’s port into a place more for tourists than for fishermen. The remaining port buildings date from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. At that time they were herring salting places and warehouses for goods and tools; at the rear of them were located the homes of their owners. Today they house offices, apartments and restaurants. A good way to find out what and how things were done in the past is by visiting the Preserves Museum (Andasmauet, 15) (1), in the old town.

11.30. In a park eco

Discovering in 1969 that there was oil at the bottom of the Norwegian Sea and being able to exploit those deposits changed the history of the Nordic country. The Norwegian Petroleum Museum (2) It shows how offshore operations have become Norway’s most important industry, how oil and gas are formed or how resources are found under the seabed and how drilling and production takes place. The exhibits present the technological advances in this sector and how oil revenues have affected Norwegian society. They also address the great climate challenge posed by greenhouse gas emissions. The museum occupies a metal structure on stilts anchored in the water that resembles the platforms of the North Sea. A museum that inspired the Sargentes de la Lora Petroleum Museum, in the province of Burgos. Less than five minutes walk from there is the Geopark (3), a space for leisure and entertainment for children built with a multitude of metal and plastic waste from the oil industry.

13.00. A white old helmet

The historic center of Stavanger, very close to the port, is a concentration of wooden houses with white gabled roofs from the late 18th century. Lattice houses, lush gardens and facades decorated with plants. Of this charming urban area, the torre Valberg (4), that was used to alert the population in case of fire, and the medieval cathedral Anglo-Norman style, which after a fire in 1272 was rebuilt in the Gothic style. Any walk can end in the cafeteria No. 18 Kulturkafé (5), in one of the oldest houses in Stavanger. In the area there are also functionalist buildings, empire style and Art Nouveau.

16.00. Between street art

If Stavanger stands out for something, in addition to oil and herring fishing, it is for its street art, for the color radiated by its streets and facades. Upper Holmegate It is a lively and colorful street in which art galleries, handicraft shops and other small businesses occur that make this place one of the most colorful and photographed in the city. Each house is of a color, it is like entering a sample of pantones. In one of those colorful houses is the bar Hanekam (6). The best way to see the quantity and variety of street art in all its splendor is to coincide the visit to the city with the celebration of the Festival Nuart, in the month of September, an appointment that is repeated annually since 2001. If a tradition every time you travel to Norway is to visit any place related to the Vikings, in Stavanger that site is the Viking House (7), an innovative space in which, thanks to virtual reality, visitors can travel back to the Viking age just by putting on a pair of glasses.

18.00. Walking on the beach

In a port city the beach is usually not far. Here, the best are in the area of Jaeen (8). Very long white sands, with dunes and protected flora and fauna, through which you can walk, fly a kite or, if the weather is good, take a bath or practice some water sport, such as kayaking, surfing or kitesurfing.

20.00. Star dinner

There are many places to enjoy Norwegian cuisine. Perhaps, because of how typical fish is in these latitudes, an attractive option is to dine in the restaurant Fisketorget (9), overlooking the sea from which the fish and shellfish come from with which they make their menus. If by chance one stays at the elegant hotel boutique Eilert Smith (10), In addition to enjoying a stay in one of the most sophisticated and distinguished accommodations in the city, without leaving this beautiful and functional building you can sit at the restaurant table RE-NAA, awarded with a Michelin star.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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