Travelogue! Days 9-12
Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand
From Voss, we took the remainder of the famous train line to Bergen. We had a scant three hours in Bergen before catching a ferry; I ran off to glimpse the medieval quarter and tick another item off my UNESCO World Heritage checklist while Mom went to have her picture taken underneath all the things named after Ole Bull.
The steam boat ride from Bergen to Stavanger was to be our only chance at fjords, so naturally it made me ill. I have given up expecting to enjoy even the gentlest crossings on the biggest boats; the ocean and I just don’t agree. When we arrived in Stavanger I was cross and had a headache. After much fumbling around with the bus (the driver forgot that his loudspeaker was broken, so we missed our stop and had to circle back) we made it to the hostel for a Massive Nap.
Stavanger is home to the oldest Friends Meeting in Norway, and once upon a time was the only place there where Quakers were tolerated by the authorities*. The Meeting had recessed for the summer, but we met with the clerk, who showed us around to the new Meetingapartment, the old Quaker school, the other old Quaker school, all the while chatting about the history of Norwegian Friends and the unique clerical tasks and tax monies accorded to Norway’s free churches. The schools have been converted into pizza parlours and wretched 1950s-style urban development projects now; the clerical tasks fill many boxes.
For those not interested in Quaker history, the best thing in Stavanger is the Norsk Hermetikkmuseum, which has two features I think should be immediately adopted by all museusms everywhere:
- It’s small. An organized tour of the whole thing (minus the extensive collection of old sardine can labels) takes less than an hour, thus avoiding the dread spectre of Museum Fatigue.
- It has yummy exhibits you can eat.
The yummy exhibits were fresh-caught sardines. On the tour, we sorted them into little slots, shoved a spike through their eyeballs, hung them on trays, and ate them fresh from the oven yum yum!
Although a couple of other tourists we spoke with implied that the second-best thing would be the oil museum (they weren’t even geologists!), alas, there was no more time; my parents’ vacation was nearly over, and it was time to head down to Kristiansand, where Lil’ Miss McMoots and I would catch the ferry to Denmark.
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