Sunday 17 April 2011

Oil and the city

When a Norwegian ship is sailing home to Norway, you would not expect it to be nice and warm, but rather fresh and slightly chilly. And indeed, the morning - although spoilt with a nice scenic ride into Stavanger - drives most of us from the outer decks into the observation lounge, which certainly deserves this name today. Captain Rune makes our arrival quite a spectacular entrance for the bystanders on the pier by turning our ship on the spot in the tiny harbour basin, making FRAM seem to be a big building smack in the middle of smaller houses. Many were holding their breath, but we turn around without a noise, without a scratch, but finally with many "oooh"s and "aaah"s from everybody. 
And just as a reward for this masterly parking maneuver, the skies clear up and a warm breeze sweeps the chill away. Now it's the time to go out and discover! To many a surprise the "Oil Capital", as it is nick-named, turns out to be a cosy, charming town with beautiful wooden houses, lakes and trees and a very pretty church in the middle. The guided tour also leads to the tin can museum. This may sound a little odd, but the invention of a contraption that could make food last for weeks and months was a major step to catering and trade from the Norwegian coast. In the evening a huge full moon rises besides the old watchtower and a marvellous first day in Norway comes to an end.