Thursday, 11 September 2014
11.09.2014 - 11.09.2014
A brisk breeze and some damp fog greeted our arrival in this beautiful Norwegian port. With breakfast out of the way we made our way to the Princess Theatre for our 08:45 rendezvous with our group for the half-day tour.
The coach took us through many of the picturesque and historic sections of Kristiansand. None of the structures are particularly old as the city was burnt down on two or three occasions as it was historically built entirely of wood. When the insurance for the last big fire was paid out it came with a caveat that in future buildings must be built from bricks, masonry or concrete.
Our first stop was the 'Outdoor' Vest-Agder Museum where a collection of historic buildings has been relocated from the Setesdal Valley. All part of an effort to preserve the physical reminder of the days when this part of Norway was the poorest part of the then poorest country in Europe.
The slab timber buildings were representative of a farm of the 15th century comprising of a dwelling structure, a barn and various types of storage houses. All featured sod or turf roofs and the dwelling house being the only one with a fire-place which was vented through a hole in the roof.
The 'Outdoor' Museum also has a collection of more modern buildings relocated from Kristiansand. When a city street was being widened the existing structures were transport to the museum. It was an informative and eye-opening visit.
After a short country drive we arrived at the fishing village of Høllen on the Sogne area to the West of Kristiansand. The village is a striking collection of immaculately maintained houses and gardens. It is also a popular summer holiday destination for Norwegians. After wandering around for a while we were taken back to the city centre along a beautiful coastal route.
We left the bus at the City Square to make our way back to the ship on foot. The layout of the city lends itself to the construct of a City Square, lined on one side by parks and the cathedral and across the square by the City Hall. The centre of the city is laid out in a grid pattern with each street being one kilometre long, seven street in one direction and twelve at right angles.
During our drive in the surrounding country our guide explained that the construction of highways is extremely expensive as they have to be cut through granite rock. There were also a number of tunnels where it was considered more cost effective to drill through the hills than creating a cutting. To pay for this road building there is a toll collected on each major road. All tolls are electronically recorded and billed monthly.
Throughout the day we enjoyed bright sunshine and just enough of a breeze to prevent us overheating as we walked about. The locals can't believe the fabulous weather, for the past two weeks they've had winds and rain !!
Back to the ship for the obligatory lunch and then back to the cabin to download images and write this blurb. As today is the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on New York City, the ship respectfully observed a minute silence at 15:45 local time.
All Aboard today is 16:30 which is only minutes from when I'm writing this. We should be heading out of the harbour about 17:00.
Dinner was great as always with our waiter Nanad taking charge of the menu, not that I followed his recommendations but it is great to hear him exalt the virtues of the various dishes. After dinner we took our Kindles to the Theatre and we were part of what became a sell-out crowd for the performance by Chris Watkins. His show was largely the same as the one we watched a few days ago but no less exciting and enthralling as he created the most amazing music from his violin.
Clocks go back another hour tonight as we gradually adjust to the Icelandic time zone. Tomorrow is the first of two sea days on our way to Reykjavik, Iceland.
There's an image of one of the 15th century storage houses at http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-09-11
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony